Before the 20th century the county was mainly rural, with agriculture being the most important source of employment. There was significant population migration away from the farming communities to the industrial employment opportunities in the Black Country and Birmingham. Industrial activity remaining in the county was pottery in Worcester, carpet making in Kidderminster, needle making in Redditch and nail making around Bromsgrove.
The main transport links, started in the 18th century, were the canals (Birmingham & Worcester, Staffordshire & Worcester, Severn). Railway building was started in the 19th century (Birmingham & Gloucester, West Midland, Great Western ).
The main centres of population were :-
Bewdley, Bromsgrove, Droitwich, Dudley (an exclave surrounded by Staffordshire), Evesham, Kidderminster, Malvern, Pershore, Redditch, Stourport-on-Severn, Worcester.
Yardley and Kings Norton, now suburbs of modern Birmingham, were formerly in Worcestershire.