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State of Delaware

ORIGIN OF STATE NAME: Named for Thomas West, Baron De La Warr, colonial governor of Virginia; the name was first applied to the bay.

NICKNAME: The First State; the Diamond State.


ENTERED UNION: 7 December 1787 (1st).

SONG: "Our Delaware."

MOTTO: Liberty and Independence.

COAT OF ARMS: A farmer and a rifleman flank a shield that bears symbols of the state's agricultural resourcesa sheaf of wheat, an ear of corn, and a cow. Above is a ship in full sail; below, a banner with the state motto.

FLAG: Colonial blue with the coat of arms on a buff-colored diamond; below the diamond is the date of statehood.

OFFICIAL SEAL: The coat of arms surrounded by the words "Great Seal of the State of Delaware 1793, 1847, 1907." The three dates represent the years in which the seal was revised.

BIRD: Blue hen chicken.

FISH: Sea trout.

FLOWER: Peach blossom.

TREE: American holly.

LEGAL HOLIDAYS: New Year's Day, 1 January; Martin Luther King Jr. Day, 3rd Monday in January; Presidents' Day, 3rd Monday in February; Good Friday, March or April; Memorial Day, last Monday in May; Independence Day, 4 July; Labor Day, 1st Monday in September; Columbus Day, 2nd Monday in October; Veterans' Day, 11 November; Thanksgiving Day, 4th Thursday in November; Day After Thanksgiving; Christmas Day, 25 December.

TIME: 7 AM EST = noon GMT.


Located on the eastern seaboard of the United States, Delaware ranks 49th in size among the 50 states. The state's total area is 2,044 sq mi (5,295 sq km), of which land takes up 1,932 sq mi (5,005 sq km) and inland water, 112 sq mi (290 sq km). Delaware extends 35 mi (56 km) e-w at its widest; its maximum n-s extension is 96 mi (154 km).

Delaware is bordered on the n by Pennsylvania; on the e by New Jersey (with the line passing through the Delaware River into Delaware Bay) and the Atlantic Ocean; and on the s and w by Maryland.

The boundary length of Delaware, including a general coastline of 28 mi (45 km), totals 200 mi (322 km). The tidal shoreline is 381 mi (613 km). The state's geographic center is in Kent County, 11 mi (18 km) s of Dover.


Delaware lies entirely within the Atlantic Coastal Plain except for its northern tip, above the Christina River, which is part of the Piedmont Plateau. The state's highest elevation is 448 ft (137 m) on Ebright Road, near Centerville, New Castle County. The rolling hills and pastures of the north give way to marshy regions in the south (notably Cypress Swamp), with sandy beaches along the coast. Delaware's mean elevation, 60 ft (18 m), is the lowest in the United States. The lowest point of the state is at sea level at the Atlantic Ocean.

Of all Delaware's rivers, only the Nanticoke, Choptank, and Pocomoke flow westward into Chesapeake Bay. The remainderincluding the Christina, Appoquinimink, Leipsic, St. Jones, Murderkill, Mispillion, Broadkill, and Indianflow into Delaware Bay. There are dozens of inland freshwater lakes and ponds.


Delaware's climate is temperate and humid. The normal daily average temperature in Wilmington is 55°f (12°c), ranging from an average low of 24°f (4°c) in January to and average high of 86°f (30°c) in July. Both the record low and the record high temperatures for the state were established at Millsboro: 17°f (27°c) on 17 January 1893 and 110°f (43°c) on 21 July 1930. The average annual precipitation (19712000) was 42.8 in (108.7 cm) during 19712000; about 21 in (53 cm) of snow falls each year. Wilmington's average share of sunshine is 55%one of the lowest percentages among leading US cities.


Delaware's mixture of northern and southern flora reflects its geographical position. Common trees include black walnut, hickory, sweetgum, and tulip poplar. Shadbush and sassafras are found chiefly in southern Delaware.

Mammals native to the state include the white-tailed deer, red and gray foxes, eastern gray squirrel, muskrat, raccoon, woodcock, and common cottontail. The quail, robin, wood thrush, cardinal, and eastern meadowlark are representative birds, while various waterfowl, especially Canada geese, are common.

The Delaware Bay Estuary, a Ramsar Wetland of International Importance, offers a habitat for over 90% of the North American populations of five species of migratory birds. It has been estimated that over 1 million shorebirds make use of this area. Five species of marine turtle live in the bay and several species of rare and endangered plants occur in surrounding tidal marshes.

In April 2006, a total of 17 species occurring within the state were on the threatened and endangered species list of the US Fish and Wildlife Service. These included 13 animal (vertebrates and invertebrates) and 4 plant species. Among these are the bald eagle, puma, five species of sea turtle, three species of whale, the Delmarva Peninsula fox squirrel, and the small-whorled pogonia.


The Coastal Zone Act of 1971 outlaws new industry "incompatible with the protection of the natural environment" offshore areas, but in 1979 the act was amended to permit offshore oil drilling and the construction of coastal oil facilities. The traffic of oil tankers into the Delaware Bay represents an environmental hazard.

In 1982, Delaware enacted a bottle law requiring deposits on most soda and beer bottles; deposits for aluminum cans were made mandatory in 1984. In that year, Delaware became the first state to administer the national hazardous waste program at the state level. The state's municipal governments have constructed three municipal land fills to handle the solid waste produced by the state's 670,000 residents. In 2003, the US Environment Protection Agency (EPA) database listed 64 hazardous waste sites in Delaware, 14 of which were on the National Priorities List as of 2006, including the Dover Air Force Base. In 2005, the EPA spent over $16.5 million through the Superfund program for the cleanup of hazardous waste sites in the state. The same year, federal EPA grants awarded to the state included $6.4 million for a water pollution control revolving fund. In 2003, 13.6 million lb of toxic chemicals were released by the state.

About 17% of the state is covered by wetlands. The Delaware Bay Estuary was designated as a Ramsar Wetland of International Importance in 1992; it is also designated as a Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve. Agricultural, industrial, and urban pollution are the main environmental problems for the area, part of which falls under the jurisdiction of the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control. The site, which extends into New Jersey, contains over 70 separate wetlands with ownership in federal, state, county, and private management.

State environmental protection agencies include the Department of natural resources and Environmental Control, Coastal Zone Industrial Control Board, and Council on Soil and Water Conservation.


Delaware ranked 45th in population in the United States with an estimated total of 843,524 in 2005, an increase of 7.6% since 2000. Between 1990 and 2000, Delaware's population grew from 666,168 to 783,600, an increase of 17.6%. The population is projected to reach 927,400 by 2015 and 990,694 by 2025.

In 2004, the population density was 425.4 people per square mile. The median age in 2004 was 37.5; 13.1% was age 65 or over, while 23.3% was under 18 years of age.

The largest cities are Wilmington, with an estimated population of 72,664 in 2000, and Dover, the capital, with 138,752 in the metropolitan area in 2004.


Black Americans constitute Delaware's largest racial minority, numbering 150,666 in 2000 and comprising about 19.2% of the population. In 2004, 20.4% of the population was black. As of 2000, approximately 37,277 residents, or 4.8% of the total population (up from 16,000, or 2.4% in 1990), was of Hispanic origin. That figure rose to 5.8% in 2004.

Delaware's 44,898 foreign born made up 5.7% of the state's population in 2000 (more than double the total of 22,275, or 3.3%, in 1990). The United Kingdom, Germany, India, Italy, and Canada were the leading places of origin. In 2004, 1.3% of the population reported origin of two or more races.


English in Delaware is basically North Midland, with Philadelphia features in Wilmington and the northern portion. In the north, one wants off a bus, lowers curtains rather than blinds, pronounces wharf without /h/, and says /noo/ and /doo/ for new and due and / krik/ for creek. In 2000, 662,845 Delawareans90.5% of the resident population five years of age or olderspoke only English at home.

The following table gives selected statistics from the 2000 Census for language spoken at home by persons five years old and over. The category "African languages" includes Amharic, Ibo, Twi, Yoruba, Bantu, Swahili, and Somali. The category "Other Asian languages" includes Dravidian languages, Malayalam, Telugu, Tamil, and Turkish. The category "Other West Germanic languages" includes Dutch, Pennsylvania Dutch, and Afrikaans.

Population 5 years and over 732,378 100.0
  Speak only English 662,845 90.5
  Speak a language other than English 69,533 9.5
Speak a language other than English 69,533 9.5
  Spanish or Spanish Creole 34,690 4.7
  French (incl. Patois, Cajun) 4,041 0.6
  Chinese 3,579 0.5
  German 3,420 0.5
  Italian 2,860 0.4
  Polish 2,036 0.3
  Korean 1,598 0.2
  African languages 1,298 0.2
  Tagalog 1,284 0.2
  Other Asian languages 1,280 0.2
  Other West Germanic languages 1,245 0.2
  French Creole 1,199 0.2
  Other Indic languages 1,186 0.2


The earliest permanent European settlers in Delaware were Swedish and Finnish Lutherans and Dutch Calvinists. English Quakers, Scotch-Irish Presbyterians, and Welsh Baptists arrived in the 18th century, though Anglicization was the predominant trend. The Great Awakening, America's first religious revival, began on 30 October 1739 at Lewes with the arrival of George Whitefield, an Anglican preacher involved in the movement that would later become the Methodist Church. The Methodist Church was the largest denomination in Delaware by the early 19th century. Subsequent immigration brought Lutherans from Germany; Roman Catholics from Ireland, Germany, Italy, and Poland; and Jews from Germany, Poland, and Russia. Most of the Catholic and Jewish immigrants settled in cities, Wilmington in particular.

From 1990 to 2000, the Catholic Church gained 35,399 new members, enough to outnumber the previously dominant mainline Protestants. There were 151,740 Catholics in about 46 congregations in 2000. The United Methodist Church had 59,471 adherents in 162 congregations, Episcopalians numbered 12,993 in 35 congregations, and the Presbyterian Church USA claimed 14,880 adherents in about 37 congregations. There were about 13,500 adherents to Judaism. About 59.4% of the population did not specify affiliation with a religious organization.


The New Castle and Frenchtown Railroad, a portage route, was built in 1832. The state's first passenger line, the Philadelphia, Wilmington, and Baltimore Railroad, opened six years later. As of 2003, there were 247 rail mi (397 km) of track. In that same year, the top commodity originating in the state carried by Delaware's seven railroads was chemicals. Coal was the top commodity shipped by rail that terminated in the state. As of 2006, Amtrak served Wilmington via the Northeast Corridor main line that connected Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington DC. The Delaware Authority for Regional Transit (DART) provides state-subsidized bus service.

In 2004, the state had 6,044 mi (9,731 km) of public highways, roads, and streets. In that same year, there were some 716,000 registered vehicles and 533,943 licensed drivers in the state. Delaware's first modern highway, and the first dual highway in the United States, running about 100 mi (160 km) from Wilmington to the southern border, was financed by industrialist T. Coleman du Pont between 1911 and 1924. The twin spans of the Delaware Memorial Bridge connect Delaware highways to those in New Jersey; The Delaware Turnpike section of the John F. Kennedy Memorial Highway links the bridge system with Maryland. The Lewes-Cape May Ferry provides auto and passenger service between southern Delaware and New Jersey.

In 2004, New Castle, Delaware's chief port, handled 8.169 million tons of goods, followed by Wilmington, with 4.998 million tons that same year. The Delaware River is the conduit for much of the oil brought by tanker to the US east coast. In 2004, Delaware had 99 mi (159 km) of navigable inland waterways. In 2003, waterborne shipments totaled 42.081 million tons.

In 2005, Delaware had a total of 49 public and private-use aviation-related facilities. This included 33 airports, 15 heliports, and one seaplane base. Greater Wilmington Airport was the largest and busiest airport in the state.


Delaware was inhabited nearly 10,000 years ago, and a succession of various cultures occupied the area until the first European contact. At that time, the Leni-Lenape (Delaware) Indians occupied northern Delaware, while several tribes, including the Nanticoke and Assateague, inhabited southern Delaware. The Dutch in 1631 were the first Europeans to settle in what is now Delaware, but their little colony (at Lewes) was destroyed by Indians. Permanent settlements were made by the Swedes in 1638 (at Wilmington, under the leadership of a Dutchman, Peter Minuit) and by the Dutch in 1651 (at New Castle). The Dutch conquered the Swedes in 1655, and the English conquered the Dutch in 1664. Eighteen years later, the area was ceded by the duke of York (later King James II), its first English proprietor, to William Penn. Penn allowed Delaware an elected assembly in 1704, but the colony was still subject to him and to his deputy governor in Philadelphia; ties to the Penn family and Pennsylvania were not severed until 1776. Boundary quarrels disturbed relations with Maryland until Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon surveyed the western boundary of Delaware (and the Maryland-Pennsylvania boundary) during the period 176368. By this time, virtually all the Indians had been driven out of the territory.

In September 1777, during the War for Independence, British soldiers marched through northern Delaware, skirmishing with some of Washington's troops at Cooch's Bridge, near Newark, and seizing Wilmington, which they occupied for a month. In later campaigns, Delaware troops with the Continental Army fought so well that they gained the nickname "Blue Hen's Chicken," after a famous breed of fighting gamecocks. On 7 December 1787, Delaware became the first state to ratify the federal Constitution. Although Delaware had not abolished slavery, it remained loyal to the Union during the Civil War. By that time, it was the one slave state in which a clear majority of blacks (about 92%) were already free. However, white Delawareans generally resented the Reconstruction policies adopted by Congress after the Civil War, and by manipulation of registration laws denied blacks the franchise until 1890.

The key event in the state's economic history was the completion of a railroad between Philadelphia and Baltimore through Wilmington in 1838, encouraging the industrialization of northern Delaware. Wilmington grew so rapidly that by 1900 it encompassed 41% of the state's population; by mid-century the city was home to roughly half the state's population. Considerable foreign immigration contributed to this growth, largely from the British Isles (especially Ireland) and Germany in the mid-19th century and from Italy, Poland, and Russia in the early 20th century.

Flour and textile mills, shipyards, carriage factories, iron foundries, and morocco leather plants were Wilmington's leading enterprises for much of the 19th century. By the early 1900s however, E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Co., founded near Wilmington in 1802 as a gunpowder manufacturer, made the city famous as a center for the chemical industry. Du Pont remained the state's largest private employer in the 1990s, but in the 2000s, MBNA, the bank and credit card company, became the state's largest private employer.

During the same period, Delaware's agricultural income rose. Peaches and truck crops flourished in the 19th century, along with corn and wheat; poultry, sorghum, and soybeans became major sources of agricultural income in the 20th century. Sussex County, home to much of the state's farming, had become the fastest-growing county in Delaware by the mid-1990s. The beach areas of rural Sussex attract resort-goers and retirees. Tourism is expected to be aided by the construction of a north-south expressway that will cut travel time to the state's southern beach communities.

During the 1950s, Delaware's population grew by an unprecedented 40%. The growth was greatest around Dover, site of the East Coast's largest air base, and on the outskirts of Wilmington. Wilmington itself lost population after 1945 because of the proliferation of suburban housing developments, offices, and factories, including two automobile assembly plants and an oil refinery. Although many neighborhood schools became racially integrated during the 1950s, massive busing was instituted by court order in 1978 to achieve a racial balance in schools throughout northern Delaware.

The 1980s ushered in a period of dramatic economic improvement. According to state sources, Delaware was one of only two states to improve its financial strength during the recession that plagued the early part of the decade. In 1988, Delaware enjoyed an unemployment rate of 3.3%, the second lowest in the country. The state's revenues grew at an average of 7.7% in the early 1980s, even while it successively cut the personal income tax. Some of Delaware's prosperity came from a 1981 state law that raised usury limits and lowered taxes for large financial institutions. More than 30 banks established themselves in Delaware, including Chase Manhattan Bank and Manufacturers Hanover.

The state also succeeded in using its simplified incorporation procedures to attract both US and foreign companies, bringing in an estimated $1 million in incorporation fees from Asian companies alone in the late 1980s. By the mid-1990s, the state was the registered home of roughly half the Fortune 500 companies and hundreds of thousands of smaller corporations; however, for most, their presence in the state was strictly on paper. The state sustained a low rate of unemployment into the 1990s; in 1999 it was 3.5%, still below the national average. A year earlier the state ranked sixth in the nation for per capita income ($29,932). Per capita income in 2004 was $35,861, ranking ninth in the nation.

While business fared well in Delaware, the state has lagged behind in social welfare indicators. Delaware's rates of teenage pregnancy and infant mortality have been among the highest in the country while its welfare benefits were lower than those of any other mid-Atlantic state with the exception of West Virginia in the 1990s. Other problems include housing shortages, urban sprawl, and pollution.

Ruth Ann Minner, elected Delaware's first woman governor in 2001, was once a receptionist in the governor's office before winning the position herself. In her 2003 State of the State address, she targeted issues such as pollution, industrial cleanups, and toughening campaign finance laws. In 2003, Delaware was launching a prisoner reentry program, designed to help former inmates successfully reenter society instead of committing further crimes and returning to prison. The three-year pilot program was financed with a $2 million federal grant and was to save the state millions of dollars a year and reduce crime. Prior to the 200506 winter season, Governor Minner urged Delawareans to conserve energy and protect the environment by changing to efficient compact fluorescent lightbulbs.


Delaware has had four state constitutions, adopted in 1776, 1792, 1831, and 1897. Under the 1897 document, as amended (138 times by January 2005), the legislative branch is the General Assembly, consisting of a 21-member Senate and a 41-member House of Representatives. Annual legislative sessions begin in January and must conclude by 30 June. The presiding officers of both houses may issue a joint call for a special session, which is not limited in length. Senators are elected for four years, representatives for two. Members of the House must be at least 24 years old; senators must be 27. All legislators must have been residents of the state for three years and must have lived in their district for one year prior to election. Legislators earned $36,500 annually in 2004.

Delaware's elected executives are the governor and lieutenant governor (separately elected), treasurer, attorney general, and auditor. All serve four-year terms. The governor, who may be reelected twice, must be at least 30 years old and must have been a US citizen for 12 years and a state resident for six years before taking office. As of December 2004, the governor's salary was $132,500. The legislature may override a gubernatorial veto by a three-fifths vote of the elected members of each house. A bill that the governor fails to sign or veto becomes law after 10 days (Sundays excluded) when the legislature is in session. An amendment to the state constitution must be approved by a two-thirds vote in each house of the General Assembly in two successive sessions with an election intervening; Delaware is the only state in which amendments need not be ratified by the voters.

Voters in Delaware must be US citizens, at least 18 years old, and permanent state residents. Restrictions apply to convicted felons and those declared mentally incompetent by the court.


The Democrats were firmly entrenched in Delaware for three decades after the Civil War; a subsequent period of Republican dominance lasted until the depression of the 1930s. Since then, the two parties have been relatively evenly matched.

In 2004 there were 554,000 registered voters; an estimated 42% were Democratic, 36% Republican, and 23% unaffiliated or members of other parties. In the 2000 election, Democrat Al Gore won the state with 55% of the vote, to Republican George W. Bush's 42%. Green Party candidate Ralph Nader won 3% of the vote. In 2004, Democrat John Kerry won 53.3% of the vote to incumbent president George W. Bush's 45.8%. The state had three electoral votes in the 2004 presidential election. Democratic senator Joseph Biden was the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 2003. Democrat Tom Carper was elected Delaware's junior senator in 2000, after having served two terms as state governor, and five terms in the US House of Representatives. Former two-term governor and Republican Michael Castle was reelected Delaware's House Representative in 2004.

Democratic governor Ruth Ann Minner, elected in 2000, was the first woman to serve in a leadership position in Delaware's House of Representatives, the state's first female lieutenant governor, and first female governor. In 2005, Republicans controlled the

Delaware Presidential Vote by Major Political Parties, 19482004
*Won US presidential election.
**IND. Candidate Ross Perot received 59,213 votes in 1992 and 28,719 votes in 1996.
1948 3 Dewey (R) 67,813 69,588
1952 3 *Eisenhower (R) 83,315 90,059
1956 3 *Eisenhower (R) 79,421 98,057
1960 3 *Kennedy (D) 99,590 96,373
1964 3 *Johnson (D) 122,704 78,078
1968 3 *Nixon (R) 89,194 96,714
1972 3 *Nixon (R) 92,283 140,357
1976 3 *Carter (D) 122,596 109,831
1980 3 *Reagan (R) 105,700 111,185
1984 3 *Reagan (R) 101,656 152,190
1988 3 *Bush (R) 108,647 139,639
1992** 3 *Clinton (D) 126,054 102,313
1996** 3 *Clinton (D) 140,355 99,062
2000 3 Gore (D) 180,068 137,288
2004 3 Kerry (D) 200,152 171,660

state House (25-15, with 1 independent member), and Democrats controlled the state Senate (13-8).


As of 2005, Delaware was divided into three counties. In New Castle, voters elect a county executive and a county council; in Sussex, the members of the elective county council choose a county administrator, who supervises the executive departments of the county government. Kent operates under an elected levy court, which sets tax rates and runs the county according to regulations spelled out by the assembly. Most of Delaware's 57 municipalities elect a mayor and council. In 2005, Delaware had 19 public school districts and 260 special districts. Because of the state's small geographic size, local government in Delaware tends to be weaker than that in other states; here the state operates many programs that elsewhere are found at the local level.

In 2005, local government accounted for about 22,568 full-time (or equivalent) employment positions.


To address the continuing threat of terrorism and to work with the federal Department of Homeland Security, homeland security in Delaware operates under the authority of the governor; a homeland security director is appointed to oversee programs related to homeland security.

Public education is supervised by the Department of Education. Highways are the responsibility of the Department of Transportation, while medical care, mental health facilities, drug- and alcohol-abuse programs, and help for the aging fall within the jurisdiction of the Department of Health and Social Services. Public protection services are provided primarily through the Department Safety and Homeland Security and the Department of Correction. The Department of Labor has divisions covering employment services, vocational rehabilitation, unemployment insurance, and equal employment opportunity. The Economic Development Office supports the economic interests of the state. Other services include those of the Department of Services to Children, Youth and Their Families and the Consumer Protection Unit of the Attorney General's Office. The environment is protected by the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control.


Delaware's highest court is the Supreme Court, composed of a chief justice and four associate justices, all appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Senate for 12-year terms, as are all state judges. Other state courts include the court of chancery, comprising a chancellor and two vice-chancellors, and the superior court, which has a president judge and 16 associate judges. There are also judges on the Court of Common Pleas in Wilmington.

Delaware was the last state to abolish the whipping post. During the 190042 period, 1,604 prisoners (22% of the state's prison population) were beaten with a cat-o'-nine-tails. The whipping post, nicknamed "Red Hannah," was used for the last time in 1952 but was not formally abolished until 1972.

As of 31 December 2004, a total of 6,927 prisoners were held in Delaware's state and federal prisons, an increase from 6,794 of 2% from the previous year. As of year-end 2004, a total of 557 inmates were female, up by 9.6% from 508 the year before. Among sentenced prisoners (one year or more), Delaware had an incarceration rate of 488 per 100,000 population in 2004.

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Delaware in 2004 had a violent crime rate (murder/nonnegligent manslaughter; forcible rape; robbery; aggravated assault) of 568.4 reported incidents per 100,000 population, or a total of 4,720 reported incidents. Crimes against property (burglary; larceny/theft; and motor vehicle theft) in that same year totaled 26,272 reported incidents or 3,163.9 reported incidents per 100,000 people. Delaware has a death penalty, of which lethal injection is the sole method of execution. Inmates convicted prior to 13 June 1986 were offered hanging as an alternative. However, the state's gallows have since been dismantled. From 1976 through 5 May 2006 the state executed 14 persons, of which the most recent took place in 2005. As of 1 January 2006, there were 18 inmates on death row.

In 2003, Delaware spent $17,771,313 on homeland security, an average of $22 per state resident.


Delaware's main defense facility is the military airlift wing at Dover Air Force Base. Active-duty military personnel stationed in Delaware in 2004 totaled 5,915, with 1,228 Guard and National Guard, and 777 civilian employees. Department of Defense contracts awarded the state in 2004 totaled $194 million, and defense payroll, including retired military pay, amounted to $417 million.

There were 80,751 veterans of US military service in Delaware as of 2000, of whom 10,873 served in World War II; 9,071 in the Korean conflict; 23,661 during the Vietnam era; and 11,878 in the Persian Gulf War. US Veterans Administration spending in Delaware in 2004 totaled $167 million.

As of 31 October 2004, the Delaware state police employed 643 full-time sworn officers.


Delaware has attracted immigrants from a variety of foreign countries: Sweden, Finland, and the Netherlands in the early days; England, Scotland, and Ireland during the later colonial period; and Italy, Poland, and Russia, among other countries, during the first 130 years of statehood. The 1960s and 1970s saw the migration of Puerto Ricans to Wilmington. Delaware enjoyed a net gain from migration of 122,000 persons between 1940 and 1970. Between 1970 and 1990, however, there was a net migration of only about 25,000. Net domestic migration between 1990 and 1998 totaled 29,000 while net international migration totaled 8,000. In 1998, Delaware admitted 1,063 foreign immigrants. Between 1990 and 1998, the state's overall population increased 11.6%. In the period 200005, net international migration was 11,226 and net internal migration was 27,912, for a net gain of 39,138 people.


Among the interstate agreements to which Delaware subscribes are the Delaware River and Bay Authority Compact, Delaware River Basin Commission, Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, Interstate Compact for Juveniles, Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council, and Southern Regional Education Board. The Delmarva Advisory Council, representing Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia, works with local organizations on the Delmarva Peninsula to develop and implement economic improvement programs. Federal grants to Delaware were $910 million in fiscal year 2005, the second-lowest amount among all the states, behind Wyoming. In fiscal year 2006, federal grants amounted to an estimated $951 million, and in fiscal year 2007, to an estimated $985 million.


Since the 1930s, and particularly since the mid-1970s, Delaware has been one of the nation's most prosperous states. It was one of the few states whose economic growth rate actually increased during the national recession of 2001, accelerating from 4.5% in 1998 to 6.1% in 1999 to 7.3% in 2000, and to 8.75% in 2001. Although manufacturingpreeminently the chemical and automotive industrieshas historically been the main contributor to the state's economy, its contribution to gross state product shrunk from 16.5% in 1997 to 12.9% in 2001, compared to a 43% contribution from the finance, insurance and real estate sector and 15.3% from general services (hotels, auto repair, personal, health, legal, educational, recreational, etc). The largest employers in the manufacturing sector, the chemical and automobile manufacturing industries, experienced negative growth coming into the 21st century, output from motor vehicles and equipment manufacturing falling 34% 1999 to 2001, and the output from chemicals and allied products manufacturing showing a net decline of 2.6% 1997 to 2001. By contrast, financial services grew 43% during this period, and general services grew 36.4%. Job creation in manufacturing, which was at a positive 2% year-on-year rate in 1999, turned negative (to net layoffs) by the beginning of 2000 and continued at negative rates throughout 2001 and 2002. Job creation in the finance, insurance and real estate (FIRE) sector continued at year-on-year rates of 2% to 3%, but then turned sharply negative in 2002, reaching 4% by the end of the year. Office space vacancy in Wilmington reached 15% in the fourth quarter 2002, but this was below the national average of 16.5%. Positive factors that augur well for a relatively rapid economic recovery in Delaware are continued moderate housing costs that make Delaware more attractive than neighboring states with higher costs, and a related above-average 17% gain in population 1991 to 2001 (the national average-was 13%) that largely reflected the movement of businesses to Delaware's relatively low-cost business environment.

Delaware's gross state product (GSP) in 2004 was $54.274 billion, of which the real estate sector accounted for $6.290 billion, or 11.5% of GSP, followed by manufacturing at $4.841 billion (8.9% of GSP), and professional and technical services at $3.257 billion (6% of GSP). In that same year, there were 68,495 small businesses operating within the state. Of the state's 25833 firms that had employees that year, 24,006, or 92.9%, were small businesses. In 2004, a total of 3,270 new companies were formed in Delaware, down from the previous year by 4.9%. In that same year, business terminations totaled 3,362, up 6.8% from the previous year. Business bankruptcies in 2004 totaled 276, down 45.3% from 2003. In 2005, the personal bankruptcy (Chapter 7 and Chapter 13) filing rate was 423 filings per 100,000 people, ranking the state 34th in the nation.


In 2005, Delaware had a gross state product (GSP) of $54 billion which accounted for 0.4% of the nation's gross domestic product and placed the state at number 40 in highest GSP among the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, in 2004 Delaware had a per capita personal income (PCPI) of $35,728. This ranked 11th in the United States and was 108% of the national average of $33,050. The 19942004 average annual growth rate of PCPI was 4.3%. Delaware had a total personal income (TPI) of $29,656,646,000, which ranked 44th in the United States and reflected an increase of 7.4% from 2003. The 19942004 average annual growth rate of TPI was 5.8%. Earnings of persons employed in Delaware increased from $23,845,078,000 in 2003 to $25,377,515,000 in 2004, an increase of 6.4%. The 200304 national change was 6.3%.

The US Census Bureau reports that the three-year average median household income for 200204 in 2004 dollars was $50,152, compared to a national average of $44,473. During the same period an estimated 8.5% of the population was below the poverty line as compared to 12.4% nationwide.


According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in April 2006 the seasonally adjusted civilian labor force in Delaware numbered 444,700, with approximately 16,400 workers unemployed, yielding an unemployment rate of 3.7%, compared to the national average of 4.7% for the same period. Preliminary data for the same period placed nonfarm employment at 437,600. Since the beginning of the BLS data series in 1976, the highest unemployment rate recorded in Delaware was 8.2%, in January 1977. The historical low was 2.8%, in October 1988. Preliminary nonfarm employment data by occupation for April 2006 showed that approximately 6.6% of the labor force was employed in construction; 18.8% in trade, transportation, and public utilities; 10.3% in financial activities; 14.3% in professional and business services; 12.5% in education and health services; 9.5% in leisure and hospitality services; and 13.8% in government. Data for manufacturing was unavailable.

The US Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that in 2005, a total of 46,000 of Delaware's 386,000 employed wage and salary workers were formal members of a union. This represented 11.8% of those so employed, up from 12.4% in 2004, and just below the national average of 12%. Overall in 2005, a total of 50,000 workers (12.9%) in Delaware were covered by a union or employee association contract, which includes those workers who reported no union affiliation. Delaware is one of 28 states without a right-to-work law.

As of 1 March 2006, Delaware had a state-mandated minimum wage rate of $6.15 per hour. In 2004, women in the state accounted for 48.4% of the employed civilian labor force.


Though small by national standards, Delaware's agriculture is efficient and productive. In 2005, Delaware's total farm marketings were $895 million, and its income from crops was $172 million.

Tobacco was a leading crop in the early colonial era but was soon succeeded by corn and wheat. Peaches were a mainstay during the mid-19th century, until the orchards were devastated by "the yellows," a tree disease. Today, the major field crops are corn, soybeans, barley, wheat, melons, potatoes, mushrooms, lima beans, and green peas. Production in 2004 included corn for grain, 23,256,000 bushels, valued at $48,838,000; soybeans, 8,736,000 bushels, $45,864,000; wheat, 2,726,000 bushels, $8,314,000; and barley, 2,080,000 bushels, $3,952,000.


In 2003 an estimated 8,300 milk cows produced 136 million lb of milk (61.8 million kg). Also during 2003 an estimated 1.5 billion lb (680 million kg) of broilers were produced and valued at an estimated $542.6 million. Broilers accounted for 74% of Delaware's farm receipts in 2004. Delaware had 23,000 cattle and calves valued at around $22.8 million in 2005.


Fishing, once an important industry in Delaware, has declined in recent decades. The total commercial landings in 2004 brought 4.3 million lb (1.9 million kg), worth $5.4 million. Clams, plentiful until the mid-1970s, are in short supply because of overharvesting. In 2001, the commercial fishing fleet had 184 vessels. Delaware issued 20,544 sport-fishing licenses in 2004.


In 2004, Delaware had approximately 383,000 acres (155,000 hectares) of forestland, of which approximately 92% was classified as private forestland. Nonindustrial private landowners owned 85% of Delaware's forests while approximately 8% was publicly owned, and 7% was owned by the forest industry.

Southern Delaware contains many loblolly pine forests as well as the northernmost stand of bald cypress. Northern Delaware contains more hardwoods, such as oak and yellow poplar. Other common species are gum, maple, and American holly, which is Delaware's state tree. Delaware has approximately 32,000 acres (12,950 hectares) of state forests, which are managed on a multiple-use basis and are open to the public.


The value of nonfuel mineral production in Delaware in 2004 totaled $21.9 million, up more than 22% from 2003, according to data from the US Geological Survey (USGS). However, this figure does not reflect the state's production of magnesium compounds, which are used in chemical and pharmaceutical manufacturing, and were withheld by the USGS to protect company proprietary data. Construction sand and gravel was the leading nonfuel mineral produced in 2004. Output that year was 2.98 million metric tons or $21.9 million. Delaware in 2004 ranked fourth (out of five states) in the production of magnesium compounds (by volume). Magnesium compounds are extracted from seawater close to the mouth of the Delaware Bay near Lewes and, with aluminum hydroxides, are used in the manufacture of antacid products.


As of 2003, Delaware had 17 electrical power service providers, of which 9 were publicly owned and only one was a cooperative. Of the remainder, one was investor owned, five were energy-only providers and one was a delivery-only provider. As of that same year there were 400,768 retail customers. Of that total, 280,525 received their power from investor-owned service providers. The state's sole cooperative had 65,407 customers, while publicly owned providers had 54,829 customers.

Total net summer generating capability by the state's electrical generating plants in 2003 stood at 3.393 million kW, with total production that same year at 7.392 billion kWh. Of the total amount generated, only 0.4% came from electric utilities, with the remaining 99.6% coming from independent producers and combined heat and power service providers. The largest portion of all electric power generated, 4.026 billion kWh (54.5%), came from coal-fired plants, with petroleum plants in second place, at 1.716 billion kWh (23.2%) and natural gas plants in third at 1.463 billion kWh (19.8%). Other gas-fueled plants accounted for the remaining 2.5% of all power generated. Delaware has no nuclear power plants.

Delaware has no proven reserves or production of crude oil or natural gas. As of 2005, the state's single refinery had a crude oil distillation capacity of 175,000 barrels per day.


From its agricultural beginnings, Delaware has developed into an important industrial state. The state's capital, Wilmington, is called the "Chemical Capital of the World," largely because of E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Co., a chemical industry giant originally founded as a powder mill in 1802.

According to the US Census Bureau's Annual Survey of Manufactures (ASM) for 2004, Delaware's manufacturing sector covered some 11 product subsectors. The shipment value of all products manufactured in the state that same year was $17.488 billion. Of that total, chemical manufacturing accounted for the largest share at $6.512 billion. It was followed by transportation equipment manufacturing at $3.299 billion; food manufacturing at $1.782 billion; plastics and rubber product manufacturing at $630.011 million; and paper manufacturing at $5482.594 million.

In 2004, a total of 36,378 people in Delaware were employed in the state's manufacturing sector, according to the ASM. Of that total, 25,669 were actual production workers. In terms of total employment, the food manufacturing industry accounted for the largest portion of all manufacturing employees at 9,202, with 7,874 actual production workers. It was followed by chemical manufacturing with 5,760 employees (3,202 actual production workers); transportation equipment manufacturing at 4,080 (3,505 actual production workers); plastics and rubber products manufacturing at 2,634 employees (1,864 actual production workers); and fabricated metal product manufacturing at 2,220 employees (1,616 actual production workers).

ASM data for 2004 showed that Delaware's manufacturing sector paid $1.623 billion in wages. Of that amount, the chemical manufacturing sector accounted for the largest share at $365.962 million. It was followed by transportation equipment manufacturing at $282.321 million; food manufacturing at $228.561 million; and computer and electronic product manufacturing at $127.029 million.


According to the 2002 Census of Wholesale Trade, Delaware's wholesale trade sector had sales that year totaling $17.2 billion from 997 establishments. Wholesalers of durable goods accounted for 610 establishments, followed by nondurable goods wholesalers at 335 and electronic markets, agents, and brokers accounting for 52 establishments. Sales by nondurable goods wholesalers in 2002 totaled $14.5 billion. Sales data for durable goods wholesalers and electronic markets, agents, and brokers in the wholesale trade industry were not available.

In the 2002 Census of Retail Trade, Delaware was listed as having 3,727 retail establishments with sales of $10.9 billion. The leading types of retail businesses by number of establishments were: food and beverage stores (571); clothing and clothing accessories stores (542); miscellaneous store retailers (449); and motor vehicle and motor vehicle parts dealers (377). In terms of sales, motor vehicle and motor vehicle parts dealers accounted for the largest share of retail sales at $2.7 billion, followed by food and beverage stores at $1.6 billion; general merchandise stores at $1.5 billion; and building material/garden equipment and supplies dealers at $1.01 billion. A total of 51,889 people were employed by the retail sector in Delaware that year.

In 2005, Delaware exported $2.5 billion worth of products to foreign markets.


Consumer protection in Delaware is handled by the Fraud/Consumer Protection Division's Consumer Protection Unit, both of which are under the Office of the Attorney General. Specifically, the Unit is tasked with the responsibility of enforcing the state's consumer protection laws. It investigates consumer complaints; mediates resolution, when appropriate; and takes enforcement, when warranted. It also provides consumer education programs.

When dealing with consumer protection issues, the Attorney General's Office: can initiate civil and criminal proceedings; can represent the state before state and federal regulatory agencies; and has broad subpoena powers. In antitrust actions, the Attorney General's Office: can act on behalf of those consumers who are incapable of acting on their own; can initiate damage actions on behalf of the state in state courts; and can represent counties, cities and other governmental entities in recovering civil damages under state or federal law.

The offices of the Fraud/Consumer Protection Division and Consumer Protection Unit are located in Wilmington.


As of June 2005, Delaware had 35 insured banks, savings and loans, and saving banks, plus 35 credit unions (CUs), all of them federally chartered. Excluding the CUs, the Philadelphia-Cam-den-Wilmington market area had 156 financial institutions in 2004, followed by the Dover area at 11. As of June 2005, CUs accounted for only 0.3% of all assets held by all financial institutions in the state, or some $1.377 billion. Banks, savings and loans, and savings banks collectively accounted for the remaining 99.7%, or $457.670 billion in assets held.

At the end of 2002, Delaware was home to six of the nation's leading insured credit card banks, including three of the nation's five largest. These credit card banks managed or held one-third of total credit-card loans nationally. Banking is Delaware's most profitable industry, with 12% of jobs and 36% of the gross state product represented by the finance insurance and real estate (FIRE) sectors. From 2001 to 2003, however, FIRE employment declined steadily.

As of 2004, the state's median past-due/nonaccrual loan rate as a percent of total loans was 1.09%, down from 1.35% in 2003. The median net interest margin (the difference between the lower rates offered to savers and the higher rates charged on loans) stood at 3.90% in 2004, down from 3.97% in 2003. Regulation of state-chartered financial institutions is handled by the Office of the State Bank Commissioner, which is a part of the Delaware Department of State.


In 2004 there were 522,000 individual life insurance policies in force with a total value of over $53 billion; total value for all categories of life insurance (individual, group, and credit) was over $131.3 billion. The average coverage amount is $102,200 per policy holder. Death benefits paid that year totaled $269 million.

As of 2003, there were 83 property and casualty and 46 life and health insurance companies incorporated or organized in the state. In 2004, direct premiums for property and casualty insurance totaled $2 billion. That year, there were 18,490 flood insurance policies in force in the state, with a total value of $3.2 billion. About $218 million of coverage was offered through FAIR plans, which are designed to offer coverage for some natural circumstances, such as wind and hail, in high risk areas.

In 2004, 60% of state residents held employment-based health insurance policies, 3% held individual policies, and 23% were covered under Medicare and Medicaid; 13% of residents were uninsured. In 2003, employee contributions for employment-based health coverage averaged at 18% for single coverage and 21% for family coverage. The state does not offer an expansion program in connection with the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA, 1986), a health insurance program for those who lose employment-based coverage due to termination or reduction of work hours.

In 2003, there were 569,003 auto insurance policies in effect for private passenger cars. Required minimum coverage includes bodily injury liability of up to $15,000 per individual and $30,000 for all persons injured in an accident, as well as property damage liability of $10,000. Personal injury protection is also mandatory. In 2003, the average expenditure per vehicle for insurance coverage was $655.42, which ranked as the ninth-highest average in the nation.


Delaware has no securities exchanges. In 2005, there were 560 personal financial advisers employed in the state. In 2004, there were over 26 publicly traded companies within the state, with over 7 NASDAQ companies, 12 NYSE listings, and 1 AMEX listing. In 2006, the state had one Fortune 500 company; DuPont ranked first in the state and 73rd in the nation, with revenues of over $28.4 billion. Hercules made the Fortune 1,000, at 787th in the nation, with revenues of $2 billion. Both companies are based in Wilmington and traded on the NYSE.


The budget director has lead responsibility for preparing Delaware's annual executive budget for submission to the legislature in January, which is expected to adopt a budget by 30 June for the fiscal year, which begins 1 July. There are both constitutional and statutory requirements that the governor submit, the legislature adopt, and the governor sign a balanced budget.

DelawareState Government Finances
(Dollar amounts in thousands. Per capita amounts in dollars.)
Abbreviations and symbols:zero or rounds to zero; (NA) not available; (X) not applicable.
source: U.S. Census Bureau, Governments Division, 2004 Survey of State Government Finances, January 2006.
Total Revenue 5,697,849 6,864.88
  General revenue 5,144,482 6,198.17
   Intergovernmental revenue 1,054,363 1,270.32
   Taxes 2,375,482 2,862.03
      General sales - -
      Selective sales 383,383 461.91
      License taxes 882,389 1,063.12
      Individual income tax 781,212 941.22
      Corporate income tax 217,768 262.37
      Other taxes 110,730 133.41
   Current charges 715,471 862.01
   Miscellaneous general revenue 999,166 1,203.81
  Utility revenue 9,814 11.82
  Liquor store revenue - -
  Insurance trust revenue 543,553 654.88
Total expenditure 5,387,960 6,491.52
  Intergovernmental expenditure 922,710 1,111.70
  Direct expenditure 4,465,250 5,379.82
   Current operation 3,306,621 3,983.88
   Capital outlay 442,787 533.48
   Insurance benefits and repayments 401,683 483.96
   Assistance and subsidies 86,233 103.90
   Interest on debt 227,926 274.61
Exhibit: Salaries and wages 1,796,800 2,164.82
Total expenditure 5,387,960 6,491.52
  General expenditure 4,914,614 5,921.22
   Intergovernmental expenditure 922,710 1,111.70
   Direct expenditure 3,991,904 4,809.52
  General expenditures, by function:
   Education 1,701,881 2,050.46
   Public welfare 1,022,013 1,231.34
   Hospitals 56,802 68.44
   Health 289,825 349.19
   Highways 392,101 472.41
   Police protection 78,262 94.29
   Correction 202,782 244.32
   Natural resources 82,540 99.45
   Parks and recreation 47,294 56.98
   Government administration 394,479 475.28
   Interest on general debt 227,926 274.61
   Other and unallocable 418,709 504.47
  Utility expenditure 71,663 86.34
  Liquor store expenditure - -
  Insurance trust expenditure 401,683 483.96
Debt at end of fiscal year 4,158,118 5,009.78
Cash and security holdings 11,244,204 13,547.23

Fiscal year 2006 general funds were estimated at $3.8 billion for resources and $3.2 billion for expenditures. In fiscal year 2004, federal government grants to Delaware were nearly $1.2 billion.

In the fiscal year 2007 federal budget, Delaware was slated to receive: $11.2 million in State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) funds to help Delaware provide health coverage to low-income, uninsured children who do not qualify for Medicaid. This funding was a 23% increase over fiscal year 2006; $5.4 million for the HOME Investment Partnership Program to help Delaware fund a wide range of activities that build, buy, or rehabilitate affordable housing for rent or homeownership, or provide direct rental assistance to low-income people. This funding was an 11% increase over fiscal year 2006.


In 2005, Delaware collected $2,725 million in tax revenues, or $3,229 per capita, which placed it fifth among the 50 states in per capita tax burden. The national average was $2,192 per capita. Selective sales taxes accounted for 14.6% of the total; individual income taxes, 32.4%; corporate income taxes, 9.1%; and other taxes, 43.9%.

As of 1 January 2006, Delaware had six individual income tax brackets ranging from 2.2 to 5.95%. The state taxes corporations at a flat rate of 8.7%.

In 2004, local property taxes amounted to $453,198,00, or $546 per capita. The per capita amount ranks the state 43rd nationally. Delaware has no state level property tax.

Delaware taxes gasoline at 23 cents per gallon. This is in addition to the 18.4 cents per gallon federal tax on gasoline.

According to the Tax Foundation, for every federal tax dollar sent to Washington in 2004, Delaware citizens received $0.79 in federal spending.


Legislation passed in 1899 permits companies to be incorporated and chartered in Delaware even if they do no business in the state and hold their stockholders' meetings elsewhere. Another incentive to chartering in Delaware is the state's court of chancery, which has extensive experience in dealing with corporate problems.

The Delaware Economic Development Office (DEDO) seeks to create jobs by helping existing businesses to grow and by encouraging out-of-state companies to relocate to Delaware. The Development Office offers a variety of financing programs for small businesses, including assistance with land acquisition, loans and tax credits for capital investments, and state grants to match federal awards for research and development. The Delaware Innovation Fund is a private, nonprofit public/private initiative to assist companies with pre-startup seed money, with long-term loans for establishing patents, business plans, and to begin commercialization ($10,000-$150,000). In the year 2000, the Delaware Economic Development Office Director, and several Delaware lawmakers led a trade mission to Taiwan, establishing a Delaware-Taiwan trade office. In 2003, DEDO was one of 70 organizations participating in bioscience "hotbed" campaign, a concerted effort by a group made up of government development agencies, pharmaceutical and bioscience companies, research institutes, universities, and nonprofits to attract capital, personnel and resources to develop a life sciences cluster. Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and Washington. DC. are recognized as forming a major life sciences hub, dubbed the BioCapital Hub by the industry.

The Delaware Main Street program encourages economic development and revitalization of the state's historic downtowns. The mission of the program supports the Livable Delaware Strategy to promote economic stability, quality of place, and smart growth.

In 2006, the US Chamber of Commerce ranked all 50 states on legal fairness towards business. The chamber found Delaware to be one of five states with the best legal environment for business. The other four were Nebraska, Virginia, Iowa, and Connecticut.


The infant mortality rate in October 2005 was estimated at 7.4 per 1,000 live births. The birth rate in 2003 was 13.8 per 1,000 population. The abortion rate stood at 31.3 per 1,000 women in 2000. In 2003, about 84.4% of pregnant woman received prenatal care beginning in the first trimester. In 2004, approximately 86% of children received routine immunizations before the age of three.

The crude death rate in 2003 was 8.6 deaths per 1,000 population. As of 2002, the death rates for major causes of death (per 100,000 resident population) were: heart disease, 237.6; cancer, 200.8; cerebrovascular diseases, 50.2; chronic lower respiratory diseases, 43.3; and diabetes, 26.6. The mortality rate from HIV infection was 8.7 per 100,000 population. In 2004, the reported AIDS case rate was at about 18.9 per 100,000 population. In 2002, about 55.6% of the population was considered overweight or obese. As of 2004, about 24.3% of state residents were smokers.

In 2003, Delaware had six community hospitals with about 2,000 beds. There were about 97,000 patient admissions that year and 2 million outpatient visits. The average daily inpatient census was about 1,700 patients. The average cost per day for hospital care was $1,508. Also in 2003, there were about 42 certified nursing facilities in the state, with 4,679 beds and an overall occupancy rate of about 84.7%. In 2004, it was estimated that about 77.2% of all state residents had received some type of dental care within the year. Delaware had 272 physicians per 100,000 resident population in 2004 and 914 nurses per 100,000 in 2005. In 2004, there was a total of 377 dentists in the state.

About 23% of state residents were enrolled in Medicaid and Medicare programs in 2004. Approximately 13% of the state population was uninsured in 2004. In 2003, state health care expenditures totaled $1.3 million.


In 2004, about 28,000 people received unemployment benefits, with the average weekly unemployment benefit at $247. In fiscal year 2005, the estimated average monthly participation in the food stamp program included about 61,586 persons (26,052 households); the average monthly benefit was about $88.26 per person. That year, the total of benefits paid through the state for the food stamp program was about $65.2 million.

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), the system of federal welfare assistance that officially replaced Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) in 1997, was reauthorized through the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005. TANF is funded through federal block grants that are divided among the states based on an equation involving the number of recipients in each state. Delaware's TANF program is called ABC (A Better Chance). In 2004, the state program had 13,000 recipients; state and federal expenditures on this TANF program totaled $37 million in fiscal year 2003.

In December 2004, Social Security benefits were paid to 148,860 Delaware residents. This number included 96,620 retired workers, 13,290 widows and widowers, 19,880 disabled workers, 6,990 spouses, and 12,080 children. Social Security beneficiaries represented 17.6% of the total state population and 93.8% of the state's population age 65 and older. Retired workers received an average monthly payment of $1,004; widows and widowers, $957; disabled workers, $936; and spouses, $524. Payments for children of retired workers averaged $507 per month; children of deceased workers, $667; and children of disabled workers, $288. Federal Supplemental Security Income payments in December 2004 went to 13,452 Delaware residents, averaging $391 a month.


In 2004, there were approximately 367,448 housing units in Delaware, of which 310,676 were occupied; 72.9% were owner-occupied. About 55.4% of all units were single-family, detached homes. It was estimated that about 6,646 units lacked telephone service, 1,674 lacked complete plumbing facilities, and 2,334 lacked complete kitchen facilities. Most homes are heated by gas or electricity. The average household had 2.59 members.

In 2004, there were 7,900 new privately owned housing units authorized for construction. The median home value was $171,589. The median monthly cost for mortgage owners was $1,191 while renters paid a median of $743 per month. In 2006, the state was awarded over $1.9 million in community development block grants from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).


The development of public support and financing for an adequate public educational system was the handiwork of progressive industrialist Pierre S. du Pont, who undertook the project in 1919. Approximately 86.5% of adult Delawareans were high school graduates in 2004; 26.9% had obtained a bachelor's degree or higher.

In fall 2002, 116,000 students were enrolled in public elementary and secondary schools. Of these, 82,000 attended schools from kindergarten through grade eight, and 34,000 attended high school. Approximately 57.3% of the students were white, 31.9% were black, 7.9% were Hispanic, 2.6% were Asian/Pacific Islander, and 0.3% were American Indian/Alaskan Native. Total enrollment was estimated at 116,000 in fall 2003 and expected to be 114,000 in fall 2014, a decrease of 2% during the period 2002 to 2014. There were 25,576 students enrolled in 121 private schools in fall 2003. Expenditures for public education in 2003/04 were estimated at $1.33 billion or $10,228 per student, the seventh-highest among the 50 states. Since 1969, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) has tested public school students nationwide. The resulting report, The Nation's Report Card, stated that in 2005, eighth graders in Delaware scored 281 out of 500 in mathematics, compared with the national average of 278.

As of fall 2002, there were 49,228 students enrolled in institutions of higher education; minority students comprised 23.7% of total postsecondary enrollment. As of 2005, Delaware had 10 degree-granting institutions. Delaware has two public four-year institutions: the University of Delaware (Newark) and Delaware State College (Dover). Alternatives to these institutions include Widener University and the Delaware Technical and Community College, which has four campuses. There are three independent colleges: Goldey-Beacom College (Wilmington), Wesley College (Dover), and Wilmington College.


The Delaware Division of the Arts (DDOA) is a branch of the Delaware Department of State, which administers arts-related grants and programs. The Delaware State Arts Council serves as the advisory board for the DDOA. In 2005, Delaware arts organizations received six grants totaling $671,400 from the National Endowment for the Arts. The Delaware Humanities Forum, an independent, nonprofit organization, was established in 1973 to sponsor programs and distribute grants to organizations promoting the understanding and appreciation of the humanities. In 2005, the National Endowment for the Humanities awarded three grants totaling $500,470 for state programs.

Wilmington has a local symphony orchestra, opera society, and drama league. The Playhouse, located in the Du Pont Building in Wilmington, shows first-run Broadway plays. The restored Grand Opera House, part of Delaware's Center for the Performing Arts in Wilmington, is the home of the Delaware Symphony and the Delaware Opera Guild, as well as host to performances of popular music and ballet.


In 2001, Delaware had 37 public library systems, with a total of 37 libraries and no branches. In that same year, there were 1,468,000 books and serial publications on the system's shelves, and there was a total circulation of 4,543,000. The system also had 60,000 audio and 50,000 video items, and 3,000 electronic format items (CD-ROMs, magnetic tapes, and disks). The University of Delaware's Hugh M. Morris Library, with 2,259,121 volumes, is the largest academic library in the state. Other distinguished libraries include the Eleutherian Mills Historical Library, the Winterthur Library, and the Historical Society of Delaware Library (Wilmington). The Delaware Library Information connects all types of libraries through a statewide computer/telecommunication system. Total public library operating income came to $16,059,000 in fiscal year 2001, including $93,000 from federal grants and $2,906,000 from state grants. For that same year, operating expenditures totaled $14,757,000, of which 61.7% was spent on staff and 15.6% on the collection.

Notable among the state's 27 museums and numerous historical sites are the Hagley Museum and Delaware Art Museum, both in Wilmington, where the Historical Society of Delaware maintains a museum in the Old Town Hall. The Henry Francis du Pont Winterthur Museum features a collection of American antiques and decorative arts. The Brandywine Zoo, adjacent to Rockford Park, is popular with Wilmington's children. The Delaware State Museum is in Dover.


In 2004, about 96.0% of Delaware's housing units had telephones. Additionally, by June of that same year there were 593,452 mobile wireless telephone subscribers. In 2003, 59.5% of Delaware households had a computer and 53.2% had Internet access. By June 2005, there were 109,468 high-speed lines in Delaware, 100,381 residential and 9,087 for business.

The state had 5 AM and 9 FM major radio stations and one public television station based in Seaford in 2005. Philadelphia and Baltimore commercial television stations are within range. A total of 19,351 Internet domain names were registered in Delaware by 2000.


The Wilmington Morning News and the Wilmington Evening Journal merged with the News Journal in 1989. The News Journal has a daily (afternoon) circulation of 115,641 (139,647 on Sunday), as of 2005. In the state's capital is the Delaware State News with a daily circulation of 16,297 and Sunday circulation of 23,964, as of 2005. Statewide, there were two morning, one evening, and two Sunday papers in 2005. Smaller publications include the Newark Post, Dover Post and the Delaware Coast Press. Wilmington's paid weekly, Dialog, ranked fourth in the United States by circulation, 55,700. Magazines include Delaware Today.


In 2006, there were over 1,260 nonprofit organizations registered within the state, of which about 708 were registered as charitable, educational, or religious organizations. Among national organizations headquartered in Delaware are the International Reading Association and the American Philosophical Association. The Ancient and Illustrious Order Knights of Malta is based in Wilmington. State arts and educational organizations include the Delaware Academy of Medicine and the Historical Society of Delaware.


Delaware's travel and recreation industry is second only to manufacturing in economic importance. The Delaware Tourism Office is charged with supporting the tourism industry within the state. In 2001, the state launched a campaign entitled, "Delaware: It's Good to be First," which plays upon the state's claim as the first of the original 13 states to ratify the Constitution. In 2001, there were some 12 million visitors to the state. About 36% were day-trip travelers from surrounding states. Shopping (with no sales tax) and the state's beaches are the most popular attractions; outlet shopping malls are a big attraction for tourists. In 2003, Delaware employed 14,800 persons in the tourism industry.

Rehoboth Beach on the Atlantic Coast bills itself as the "Nation's Summer Capital" because of the many federal officials and foreign diplomats who summer there. Nearby Dewey Beach and Bethany Beach are also fast-growing family vacation spots. Events are the Delaware Kite Festival at Cape Henlopen State Park (east of Lewes) every Good Friday, Old Dover Days during the first weekend in May, and Delaware Day ceremonies (7 December, commemorating the day in 1787 when the state ratified the Constitution) throughout the state. Fort Delaware is a popular historic site. Fishing, clamming, crabbing, boating, and swimming are the main recreational attractions. There are 14 state parks. Delaware is also host to thoroughbred horse racing (Delaware Park Racetrack), slot machine gambling, and NASCAR racing. Winterthur, in Brandywine Valley, boasts a Fairy Tale Garden. All three Delaware counties have a merchants' organization, which sponsors demonstrations of arts and crafts.


Delaware has two major horse-racing tracks: Harrington, which has harness racing, and Dover Downs, which also has a track for auto racing. The MBNA Platinum 500 stock car race is held in June and the 400 is run in September. Thoroughbred races are held at Delaware Park in Wilmington. Wilmington has a minor league baseball team, the Blue Rocks, in the Carolina League. Additionally, the Fightin' Blue Hens of the University of Delaware field teams in a large number of both men's and women's sports.


Three Delawareans have served as US secretary of state: Louis McLane (17861857), John M. Clayton (17961856), and Thomas F. Bayard (182898). Two Delawareans have been judges on the Permanent Court of International Justice at The Hague: George Gray (18401925) and John Bassett Moore (18601947). James A. Bayard (b.Pennsylvania, 17671815), a US senator from Delaware from 1805 to 1813, was chosen to negotiate peace terms for ending the War of 1812 with the British.

John Dickinson (b.Maryland, 17321808), the "Penman of the Revolution," and Caesar Rodney (172884), wartime chief executive of Delaware, were notable figures of the Revolutionary era. George Read (b.Maryland, 173398) and Thomas McKean (b.Pennsylvania, 17341817) were, with Rodney, signers for Delaware of the Declaration of Independence. Naval officers of note include Thomas Macdonough (17831825) in the War of 1812 and Samuel F. du Pont (b.New Jersey, 180365) in the Civil War.

Morgan Edwards (b.England, 172295), Baptist minister and historian, was a founder of Brown University. Richard Allen (b.Pennsylvania, 17601831) and Peter Spencer (17791843) established separate denominations of African Methodists. Welfare worker Emily P. Bissell (18611948) popularized the Christmas seal in the United States, and Florence Bayard Hilles (18651954) was president of the National Woman's Party.

Among scientists and engineers were Oliver Evans (17551819), inventor of a high-pressure steam engine; Edward Robinson Squibb (18191900), physician and pharmaceuticals manufacturer; Wallace H. Carothers (b.Iowa, 18961937), developer of nylon at Du Pont; and Daniel Nathans (192899), who shared the Nobel Prize in medicine in 1978 for his research on molecular genetics. Eleuthère I. du Pont (b.France, 17711834) founded the company that bears his name; Pierre S. du Pont (18701954) was architect of its modern growth.

Delaware authors include Robert Montgomery Bird (180654), playwright; Hezekiah Niles (b.Pennsylvania, 17771839), journalist; Christopher Ward (18681944), historian; Henry Seidel Can-by (18781961), critic; and novelist Anne Parrish (b.Colorado, 18881957). Howard Pyle (18531911) was known as a writer, teacher, and artist-illustrator.


Blashfield, Jean F. Delaware. New York: Children's Press, 2000.

Colbert, Judy. Maryland and Delaware: Off the Beaten Path. Old Saybrook, Conn.: Globe Pequot Press, 1999.

Council of State Governments. The Book of the States, 2006 Edition. Lexington, Ky.: Council of State Governments, 2006.

Essah, Patience. A House Divided: Slavery and Emancipation in Delaware, 16381865. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1996.

Harper, Steven Craig. Promised Land: Penn's Holy Experiment, the Walking Purchase, and the Dispossession of Delawares, 16001763. Bethlehem, Pa.: Lehigh University Press, 2006.

Marzec, Robert P. (ed.). The Mid-Atlantic Region. Vol. 2 in The Greenwood Encyclopedia of American Regional Cultures. West-port, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 2004.

Munroe, John A. History of Delaware. 3rd ed. Newark: University of Delaware Press, 1993.

US Department of Commerce, Economics and Statistics Administration, US Census Bureau. Delaware, 2000. Summary Social, Economic, and Housing Characteristics: 2000 Census of Population and Housing. Washington, D.C.: US Government Printing Office, 2003.

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DELAWARE. Nestled along North America's mid-Atlantic seaboard, Delaware is the second smallest state in the United States, with a land area of 1,954 square miles and a population of 783,600 according to the U.S. census of 2000. Belying its modest size, however, is the significant role that the state has played in the history of the United States. On 7 December 1787, Delaware became the first of the thirteen original states to ratify the U.S. Constitution, hence earning its nickname, "The First State." Since then, Delaware periodically has been in the national spotlight, and has played an important role in the nation's political, social, and economic development.

Delaware's earliest recorded history stretches back to 1609, when English explorer Henry Hudson discovered what became known as the Delaware River on his journey to find passage to China. In the following year, the river and its adjacent bay were named after Lord de la Warr, the then-governor of Virginia, by English sailor Samuel

Argall, who encountered the waterways when seeking shelter from a storm. Although English cartographers affixed the name Delaware to the river and bay, the land itself remained unsettled by Europeans for another two decades.

In the spring of 1631, a small Dutch settlement called Swanendael was established near what is known today as Lewes Creek, in the southern part of the state, marking the first time in which a European power staked a claim to the territory. The settlement itself utterly failed, as another Dutch expedition discovered in 1632 when it found Swanendael abandoned and its inhabitants missing or dead. It was not until March 1638 that a permanent settlement was successfully established farther north, near modern-day Wilmington, by Swedish colonists arriving on two ships, the Kalmar Nyckel and the Vogel Grip. The twenty-five men who remained behind called their settlement Fort Christina, in honor of the Swedish Queen Christina, and by 1643 Johan Printz was installed as the governor of New Sweden.

While the population of New Sweden never exceeded 1,000 inhabitants, it was a successful colony of farmers occupying sturdy wooden cabins. Despite its tranquility, however, New Sweden was threatened by Dutch interests claiming the territory due to the early settlement of Swanendael. On 15 September 1655, the poorly fortified colony was conquered by the Dutch and formally incorporated as a southern extension of New Netherland. Dutch rule itself proved to be relatively short-lived, however; in October 1664 the English conquered all of New Netherland, renaming the territory New York.

The English governed Delaware as part of New York until 1682, when William Penn was given a proprietary grant to the territory, which was divided into the three counties of New Castle, Kent, and Sussex. Since the land was not part of Penn's original Pennsylvania grant, the Delaware holdings were regularly referred to as the Lower Counties on the Delaware. Unlike the other English colonies, therefore, Delaware did not have a proper name until it was finally given independence from the Penn family on the eve of the Revolution in 1776.

Given its newfound status as an independent state, Delaware participated in the Continental Congress debates over independence from Great Britain. Delaware's three delegates to the Congress meeting in Philadelphia were Thomas McKean, George Read, and Caesar Rodney. At the Congress, each state was given one vote, although the delegates were polled individually. The poll taken on 1 July 1776 revealed a division among the Delaware delegates, with McKean voting for independence and Read voting against it. Rodney, who was absent from the 1 July vote, quickly rode to Philadelphia to cast the deciding vote for the Delaware delegation the next day, in favor of independence.

Throughout the colonial era, Delaware's economy was primarily agricultural. The Swedish, Dutch, English, Scots-Irish, and Welsh settlers who came to inhabit the land grew wheat, corn, fruits, and vegetables for personal consumption and sale in larger markets such as Philadelphia. Beginning as early as 1639, African slaves were also imported for labor, particularly into the southern counties of Kent and Sussex. By the end of the eighteenth century, Delaware's economy and social structure came to be increasingly divided, with the northern county, New Castle, focusing on activities such as shipbuilding, tanning, and flour milling, and Kent and Sussex counties remaining overwhelmingly agricultural. By 1790, the dual nature of Delaware's development could be seen in two different statistics: its flour mills near Wilmington were the largest in the nation, while at the same time African American slaves toiling in the fields composed nearly 25 percent of the state's population.

Once established as the first state in the new country, Delaware's social and economic patterns continued to develop along similar lines. Flour millers such as Joseph Tatnall and his son-in-law, Thomas Lea, were among the state's most prominent citizens, but wealthy slaveholders also wielded considerable power and influence. Along with the rest of the country, however, Delaware was transformed by advances in technology and transportation in the early decades of the nineteenth century. In 1802, for example, E. I. du Pont de Nemours & Company (hereafter referred to as DuPont) was founded along the banks of the Brandywine River outside of Wilmington as a manufacturer of gunpowder. Although the du Pont name was a new one to Delaware, the firm and the family behind it grew to be among the world's best known. The demand for powder in the United States was brisk, as explosives were used to clear forests and blast mines, and within a relatively short span of time the names of du Pont and Delaware were closely linked.

That Delaware had both manufacturing interests and slaveholding planters reflected the nation as a whole. Thus, when the Civil War erupted in 1861, Delaware was a microcosm of the North-South political divide. The urban and industrial northern part of the state overwhelmingly supported the Union cause, whereas the state's southern agriculturists often sympathized with the Confederacy. Delaware's top political figures appeared to reflect both sides of the conflict as well. Governor William Burton, U.S. Senators James Bayard and William Saulsbury, and U.S. Representative William Whitely all were on record as supporting the institution of slavery, yet none favored secession for Delaware. Likewise, when the matter of secession came to a vote at the state legislature, the lower house unanimously rejected the proposal, and the Senate did so as well by a vote of 5 to 3. Thus, Delaware became one of only four slave-holding states to remain in the Union during the Civil War.

Although military battles were not waged in Delaware, as a border state it did play an important role during the war. Fort Delaware, located offshore on Pea Patch Island, served as a prison for Confederate soldiers and officers, housing up to 12,500 men in squalid conditions. The state's industries also were important to the Union's war effort, with DuPont supplying one-third to one-half of all Union powder, and smaller firms supplying textiles, leather goods, rail cars, and ships.

In light of Delaware's small size and its loyalty to the Union, the Lincoln administration viewed the state as a potentially important test case in regard to emancipation. In the autumn of 1861, Lincoln proposed that Delaware slaveholders emancipate their slaves in exchange for U.S. government compensation. With some 1,800 slaves in the state at the time, it was estimated that the cost to the U.S. government would be approximately $900,000. When Delaware lawmakers rejected the proposal, the plan was dropped and Lincoln abandoned compensated emancipation, reasoning that if the plan was unacceptable to Delaware slaveholders, it would be even more vigorously opposed by other states. In part, therefore, Lincoln considered the Delaware case when he issued the more sweeping Emancipation Proclamation on 1 January 1863.

In the years following the Civil War, Delawareans cast aside disagreements that had arisen during the conflict and looked ahead to the remaining years of the nineteenth-century with well-founded optimism. Since slavery was already a dying institution in Delaware before the war, former slaveholders adjusted to Emancipation with greater ease than their counterparts farther south. As for the state's manufacturing sector, the closing decades of the century marked a time of growth and consolidation. Although some traditional enterprises such as milling declined due to competition farther west, in general manufacturing expanded and provided employment for the state's growing population. Delaware was not known for any single industry, but instead was characterized by diverse firms involved in leather production, fiber and paper manufacturing, machine building, iron manufacturing, and shipbuilding.

Delaware's economy increasingly turned toward manufacturing and business throughout the nineteenth century, but the small size of the state and of its population meant that the state's economy was likewise smaller than that of other northeastern states. In 1897, however, the Delaware legislature enacted a new General Corporation Law that ultimately made the state a leading force in the American economy. With its flexible corporation statute, its attractive tax provisions, and its Court of Chancery, a tribunal dating back to the colonial era to hear business disputes, the incorporation law was specifically designed to attract companies to incorporate in Delaware, regardless of whether or not they actually operated within the state. In time, thousands of companies incorporated in Delaware.

As Delaware's profile in the national economy rose in the early years of the twentieth century, so did the fortune of its largest firm, DuPont. Despite having been broken up in 1912 due to antitrust violations, DuPont still possessed a government-sanctioned monopoly on military-grade smokeless powder. Not surprisingly, the firm profited handsomely from powder sales during World War I, supplying some 40 percent of all powder used by the United States and its allies. With the resulting capital it now had available, DuPont and the du Pont family members at its helm broadened the activities of the firm by the war's end. Increasingly the company turned toward the manufacture of chemicals and synthetic fibers, and soon Delaware housed numerous research, administrative, and production facilities of the corporate giant that made rayon, nylon, Dacron, Lucite, and cellophane household names. As DuPont rose to become the world's largest chemical company, its power and influence within the state became unrivaled.

As the twentieth century progressed, DuPont and the thousands of Delawareans it employed symbolized the modern face of the state. Still, Delaware retained elements of its agricultural past, particularly in its southern counties of Kent and Sussex. Poultry production, especially of broiler chickens, grew at a phenomenal rate in the 1920s and 1930s, such that by 1942 Delaware farms raised approximately 25 percent of all broilers in the United States. The dramatic growth in broiler production made Sussex one of the wealthiest agricultural counties in the nation by the onset of World War II.

By the middle of the twentieth century, Delaware continued to be characterized by a dual economy—urban and industrial in the north, rural and agricultural in the south—much as it had been 100 years earlier. There was a continuity in the state's social structure as well. Just as Delaware had been one of only four slave states to remain in the Union during the Civil War, race relations in the mid-twentieth century were a mixture of both southern and northern patterns. Whereas schools, restaurants, and theaters were segregated, for example, other types of public accommodations such as libraries, buses, and trains were not. Even before the U.S. Supreme Court's Brown v. Board of Education (1954) decision outlawed segregation in public schools, however, Delaware had begun the process of desegregation.

In 1950 Chancellor Collins J. Seitz of the Delaware Court of Chancery ordered that the University of Delaware admit African American students, a watershed event in the state's history that ultimately influenced the federal courts as well. Slowly, private institutions throughout Delaware abandoned segregation policies, including the YWCA in 1951, the Catholic school system in 1952, and the state's leading luxury hotel, the Hotel DuPont, in 1953. When the Brown v. Board decision was handed down in 1954, the state's attorney general, H. Albert Young, complied with federal law and oversaw the desegregation of public schools throughout the state.

Meanwhile, the state was undergoing a noticeable demographic transformation. Although the state's population growth exceeded national averages in the post–World War II era, the population of its largest city, Wilmington, was steadily declining. In 1940, Wilmington's population was 112,504; by 1999 that figure had dropped to 71,491 as increasing numbers of people sought life in the suburbs. In addition, Delaware's traditionally rural counties in the south also experienced population growth due to an increase in non-agricultural employment, as well as a willingness of commuters to travel greater distances to jobs. With suburban sprawl taking the place of urban concentration, Delaware became part of the larger megalopolis that extends from New York City to Washington, D.C., in the mid-Atlantic region.

At the close of the twentieth century, Delaware became best known as a center for American corporate business. More than 308,000 companies were incorporated in the state, including 60 percent of the Fortune 500 and 50 percent of the companies listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Although the vast majority of these firms did not have operations within Delaware, they nevertheless had an important impact on the state's economy through tax receipts and ancillary activities such as legal and financial services. Moreover, due to the Financial Center Development Act of 1981, the state had become a leading center for banking and credit card operations, with Delaware-based banks issuing some 43 percent of all credit cards in the United States by 1997, and providing employment to over 32,000 Delawareans.

Since its first European settlement in 1631, Delaware has transformed significantly. In a state once populated by a handful of Dutch and Swedish settlers, Delaware's population increasingly became more diverse by ethnicity and race, trends that are projected to continue. As the twenty-first century unfolds, new challenges and opportunities await the First State. Like other states in the region, manufacturing and industrial production are being replaced by service sector employment, particularly in fields of banking and corporate services. Despite its small size, Delaware has played an important role in the history of the United States; given its importance to American corporate business and the national economy, it will re-main significant in the years to come.


Delaware. Home page at

Hoffecker, Carol E. Corporate Capital: Wilmington in the Twentieth Century. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1983.

Munroe, John A. History Of Delaware. Newark: University of Delaware Press, 2001.

Williams, William H. Slavery and Freedom in Delaware, 1639– 1865. Wilmington, Del.: SR Books, 1996.

Wolters, Raymond. The Burden of Brown: Thirty Years of School Desegregation. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1984.

Jonathan S.Russ

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Delaware (state, United States)

Delaware (dĕl´əwâr, –wər), one of the Middle Atlantic states of the United States, the country's second smallest state (after Rhode Island). It is bordered by Maryland (W, S), and there is a short border with Pennsylvania (N); New Jersey (E) is across the Delaware Bay and Delaware River

Facts and Figures

Area, 2,057 sq mi (5,328 sq km). Pop. (2010) 897,934, a 14.6% increase since the 2000 census. Capital, Dover. Largest city, Wilmington. Statehood, Dec. 7, 1787 (1st of the original 13 states to ratify the Constitution). Highest pt., 442 ft (135 m), New Castle co.; lowest pt., sea level. Nickname, First State. Motto, Liberty and Independence. State bird, blue hen chicken. State flower, peach blossom. State tree, American holly. Abbr., Del.; DE


Together with Eastern Shore Maryland and Virginia, Delaware occupies the Delmarva peninsula. It lies on the northeast of the peninsula, facing the Delaware River, which broadens into Delaware Bay; the bay in turn joins the Atlantic Ocean at Cape Henlopen. Delaware is sometimes called the Diamond State, a reference to its small size but relative wealth. With the Delaware River and Bay along its entire eastern edge, no place in the narrow state is far from water.

Many small rivers, often tidal, flow across the state, some E to the Delaware River and Bay and the Atlantic, others W across Maryland to the Chesapeake. In the north the waters of the Christina and Brandywine flow into the Delaware River; in the south the Nanticoke flows SW to Chesapeake Bay. The land is low-lying, from sand dunes in the south to rolling hills on the Pennsylvania border in the north; the average elevation is c.60 ft (18 m), and the highest point, NW of Wilmington on the Pennsylvania border, is only 440 ft (134 m). The capital is Dover, and the only large city is Wilmington.


Because of Delaware's lenient laws regulating business taxation and practice, some of the nation's largest corporations, especially banking and financial services companies, have major offices in N Delaware. Since the 1990s the finance and insurance sectors have become increasingly important for employment and income and now dominant the state's economy, although manufacturing and agriculture are still significant. The manufacturing, credit card, banking, and insurance industries are largely concentrated in the north, while farming is carried on mainly below the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal.

Chief agricultural products are broiler chickens, soybeans, corn, and dairy products. Potatoes and other vegetables are also grown. Delaware's small fishing industry harvests mainly clams, menhaden, oysters, and scup. Industries around Wilmington include the large chemicals and materials company that was founded by the Du Pont family in the 19th cent., and the biomedical, apparel, processed foods, and rubber and plastic products industries contribute significantly to the economy. Also economically important are Dover Air Force Base, the largest military facility in the state; tourism, mainly to the state's Atlantic beaches; and gambling.

Government, Politics, and Higher Education

Under the provisions of the 1897 constitution, the governor is elected to a four-year term. The state legislature, called the general assembly, is made up of a senate of 21 members and a house of representatives with 41 members. Delaware is represented in the U.S. Congress by two senators and one representative and has three electoral votes. Pierre S. Du Pont (1977–85) and Michael Castle (1985–93), both Republicans, were succeeded as governor by Democrats Thomas R. Carper (1993–2001), Ruth Ann Minner (2001–9), the state's first woman governor, and Jack Markell (2009–).

The main institutions of higher education are the Univ. of Delaware, at Newark; Delaware State Univ., at Dover; and a division of Widener Univ., at Wilmington.


Native Inhabitants and European Claims

Long before Europeans explored the Delaware area, it was inhabited by several Native American groups of the Delaware—notably the Nanticoke in the south and the Minqua in the north. In 1609, Henry Hudson, in the service of the Dutch East India Company, sailed into Delaware Bay. A year later the British captain Sir Samuel Argall, bound for the colony of Virginia, also sailed into the bay. Argall named one of the capes Cape La Warre after the governor of Virginia, Thomas West, Baron De la Warr.

From the time of its discovery, the region was contested by the Dutch and English. The first settlement was established by Dutch patroons, or proprietors, in partnership with the Dutch navigator David Pietersen de Vries; it was called Swanendael and was established (1631) on the site of the town of Lewes. However, within a year it was destroyed by a Native American attack. This attack notwithstanding, the Native Americans were generally friendly and willing to trade with the newcomers.

The Dutch West India Company, organized in 1623, was more interested in trade on the South River, as the Delaware was called at that time, than in settlement (the North River was the Hudson, in the Dutch colony of New Netherland). Several Dutchmen, interested in settling the area, put their services at the disposal of Sweden and colonized the area for that country. The best known of these was Peter Minuit, who had been governor of New Amsterdam (later New York). In 1637–38 Minuit directed the colonizing expedition for the Swedes that organized New Sweden. Fort Christina was founded in 1638 on the site of Wilmington and was named in honor of the queen of Sweden. The colony grew with the arrival of Swedish, Finnish, and Dutch settlers.

English colonists from Connecticut tried to establish trading posts in the Delaware River region and failed, but Dutch interests in the area were not disposed of as easily. Peter Stuyvesant, governor of New Netherland, sailed to the Delaware region in 1651 and established Fort Casimir on the Delaware shore at the site of present-day New Castle. The Swedes captured the fort by surprise in 1654, but their triumph was brief; Stuyvesant returned with an expedition in 1655 and conquered all New Sweden. The Dutch West India Company sold part of New Sweden to the Dutch city of Amsterdam in 1656 and the rest in 1663.

In 1664 the English seized the Dutch holdings on the Delaware. The Dutch recaptured the colony in 1673 and although they held Delaware only briefly, they set up three district courts that marked the beginning of Delaware's division into three counties. The colony was returned to England in 1674 and remained in its hands until the American Revolution.

The Three Lower Counties

The English Duke of York (later James II) annexed the region to New York, land granted him earlier by Charles II. In 1682 the duke transferred the claim to William Penn, who wanted to secure a navigable water route from his new colony of Pennsylvania to the ocean. The three counties of Delaware thus became the Three Lower Counties (or Territories, as Penn called them) of Pennsylvania. The individual counties were called New Castle, Kent (formerly St. Jones), and Sussex (formerly Hoornkill, also known as Whorekill, and Deale). The English proprietors of Maryland contested Penn's claim to Delaware, and the boundary dispute was not fully settled until 1750.

The inhabitants of the Delaware counties were at first unwilling to be joined to the "radical" Quaker colony of Pennsylvania or to have their affairs settled in Philadelphia. They finally accepted the Penn charter of 1701 after provisions were added giving the Three Lower Counties the right to a separate assembly, which first met in 1704. Delaware maintained quasi-autonomy until the American Revolution. The two colonies maintained strong ties, however, and two of Delaware's leading statesmen during the Revolution—Thomas McKean and John Dickinson—were also prominent in Pennsylvania affairs.

Revolution and Statehood

Although there were many Loyalists in Delaware just prior to the American Revolution, Delaware supported independence, with two of its three delegates to the Continental Congress—Caesar Rodney and Thomas McKean—voting for independence. George Read, the third Delaware delegate, voted against independence, fearing that Loyalist sentiment was too strong in the colonies. However, Read subsequently signed the Declaration of Independence.

In 1776 the colony of Delaware became a state, with a president as its chief executive. Regiments from the state rendered valiant service to the patriot cause, especially the Delaware 1st Regiment, which was nicknamed the Blue Hen's Chickens—originally because they carried with them gamecocks bred by a famous hen of Kent and later because they themselves showed the fighting quality of gamecocks. Delaware was a leader in the movement for revision of the form of government under the Articles of Confederation and in 1787 became the first state to ratify the new Constitution of the United States. The state constitution of 1776 was superseded by a new constitution in 1792, which provided that the chief executive be a governor rather than a president.

The late 18th cent. also marked the beginning of industry in Delaware with the establishment of gristmills on the Brandywine and Christina rivers. Wilmington became a center for the manufacture of cloth, paper, and flour—products that helped to build the industrial economy of N Delaware that flourished in the 19th cent. Shortly thereafter, in 1802, Eleuthère Irénée Du Pont established a gunpowder mill on the Brandywine River.

Pro- and Anti-Slavery Factionalism

Prior to the Civil War, Delaware was a slave state, but in the early 19th cent. the number of slaves in the state declined, while the number of free blacks increased. Many citizens of Delaware favored manumission of slaves and belonged to the American Colonization Society, but there were few who sympathized with the growing abolitionist movement and there was strong sentiment for separation of whites and blacks. In the Civil War, Delaware remained loyal to the Union, but pro-Southern feeling increased rather than diminished during the course of the war. Delaware refused to accept an emancipation proposal made by Lincoln in 1861 and did not ratify the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth amendments to the U.S. Constitution until 1901. Delaware Democrats subsequently became divided, and the Republican Party emerged in 1905 to assume a leading political role for some years.

Maintaining a Rural–Urban Balance

A new state constitution in 1897 reflected the political strength as well as conservatism of Delaware's farmers through provisions that kept the political strength of Wilmington at a minimum and that of rural areas at a maximum. Many European immigrants came to the state in the late 19th and early 20th cent., settling in the Wilmington area. Southern Delaware's population continued to be made up largely of African Americans and persons of English origin.

Delaware's industries flourished during the 19th cent. as transportation facilities improved. Industry continued to expand in the 20th cent., especially during World Wars I and II. The chemical industry built up by the Du Pont family was broken up by a federal antitrust suit in 1912, but was nonetheless large enough to buy control of General Motors corporation in the 1920s and hold it for many years.

Racial tensions appeared in the state in the 1950s and 60s as Delaware's schools were racially integrated, and after the assassination of Martin Luther King in 1968, rioting erupted in Wilmington. In the 1980s, Governor Pierre S. Du Pont fought to liberalize the state's usury laws and won. As a result, many large New York banks set up subsidiaries in Delaware (especially the Wilmington area), and thousands of jobs were created.


The standard history of the early period is Benjamin Ferris, A History of the Original Settlements on the Delaware (1846). See also Federal Writers' Project, Delaware: A Guide to the First State (1938, rev. ed. 1955, repr. 1973); J. A. Munroe, History of Delaware (2d ed. 1984); W. H. Williams, The First State: An Illustrated History of Delaware (1985).

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Delaware, the second-smallest state in the nation, was once compared by President Thomas Jefferson (18011809) to a diamondsmall, but highly valued. Through most of its history this diminutive state, located between the Atlantic coast and Delaware Bay, has rivaled many larger states in economic prosperity. This prosperity has largely been associated in the public's mind with the du Pont family, the entrepreneurs who created much of Delaware's wealth in the chemical industry.

Both the Dutch and the Swedes staked out colonies in Delaware in the seventeenth century, but it was the English who took over the colony in 1664. The Duke of York ceded the colony to a proprietor, William Penn (16441718), who kept Delaware closely tied to his family and to his beloved Pennsylvania until 1776. Delaware was the first of the new states to ratify the U.S. Constitution in 1787.

When it was still a colony Delaware depended on agriculture. Tobacco was a major crop in the colonial period; it was superseded later by corn, wheat, and peaches. Fishing was also an important economic factor during this period. The industrial development of the state really started with the construction of railroads, the first being the New Castle and Frenchtown Railroad completed in 1832. Finished in 1838 the Philadelphia, Wilmington, and Baltimore Railroad made the industrial development of northern Delaware possible.

By 1900 the population of Wilmington grew dramatically and comprised forty percent of the entire population of the state. Immigrants from Ireland and Germany in the mid-nineteenth century and from southern and eastern Europe in the early twentieth century helped to fuel this population growth and staff the developing industries. While the north developed rapidly the southern portion of the state remained agricultural and largely lacking in economic development. Farmers only gradually began to take advantage of new markets provided by the railroad.

Important Delaware industries in the nineteenth century, mostly centered in Wilmington, included flour and textile mills, shipyards, carriage factories, iron foundries, and morocco leather plants. Shipbuilding in particular was a vital force in the economy during this time, with shipyards making wooden sloops, schooners, and fishing boats located in all the port towns along the Delaware and its tributaries.

In 1802 a French immigrant named Eleuthère I. du Pont, found the right combination of a power source on the Brandywine River, a good location between Philadelphia and New York, and an adequate supply of timber, constructed a mill to produce gunpowder. His family's friendship with then-President Thomas Jefferson helped assure him of government contracts. The area of Wilmington around the Du Pont factory rapidly became a company town, encompassing a large house for the du Pont family, row houses for the workers and even dormitories for single workers and a Sunday school building. Work days were long (averaging 12 hours) and wages, never very high for men, were even lower for women.

Well before the railroad came to Delaware, Philadelphia businessmen saw the need for a better transportation route between Philadelphia and Baltimore. They encouraged the building of the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal, linking the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland with Delaware Bay via the Delaware River, which was completed in 1829. This three-hundred-mile-long canal benefited Delaware by circumventing the longer sea route from Philadelphia to Baltimore. By this time packet steamboats were plying the canal. Big side-wheelers were also a familiar sight along the Delaware.

Around 1900 the Du Pont Company employed only around four hundred people. It was no more important in Wilmington than a number of other companies. After Alfred I. du Pont, a descendant of the founder, along with his cousins T. Coleman du Pont and Pierre S. du Pont, took over the company, it became a major producer of explosives. During World War I (19141918) the company supplied nearly 1.5 billion pounds of explosives for the Allies, securing the fortunes of the company and making possible a postwar expansion into the chemicals industry. In the late 1990s Du Pont manufactured a host of products such as gasoline additives, antifreeze, dyes, nylon, and rayon; the company employed 11 percent of Delaware's total work force. It had only one major rival, Dow Chemical.

T. Coleman du Pont was also instrumental in promoting the state's first major highway project, begun in 1911, to connect the southern part of the state with Wilmington. The Du Pont Highway became the hub of a network of highways that eventually crossed the state. The trucking industry soon became a major economic force in the state, making possible a healthy poultry industry and boosting the grain industry associated with it.

During the 1950s the population of Delaware grew by forty percent. Both the Wilmington area and the state capital of Dover grew, mostly because of its large air base. One of the impacts of the population's rapid growth was that it strained the state's infrastructure and social services. However because chemical plant workers fled to the suburbs, Wilmington proper actually decreased in population by thirteen percent between 1920 and 1960. Industry followed the same path, with a large General Motors and a Chrysler plant appearing in suburban Wilmington and Newark, respectively. Du Pont also located a huge experimental station near the site of the original powder mills, among other facilities. Another major economic impact was the new interstate, I-95, which was built in New Castle County in the 1960s.

Delaware's unique combination of heavy industry and coastal beauty has brought concerns to the fore regarding environmental protection. In 1971 a Coastal Zone Act was passed, outlawing all new heavy industry because it would be incompatible with the coastal environment. In 1979 this law was amended to allow offshore drilling and construction of coastal oil facilities. Environmentalists remain concerned about the dangers posed by oil tankers in Delaware Bay.

The 1980s were good to Delaware, bringing in an era of economic improvement. Unlike most of the rest of the recession-plagued nation, Delaware prospered during this time. In 1988 Delaware's unemployment rate was only 3.3 percent, the second lowest in the country. A 1981 state law raised the usury limits (interest rates allowable for money lending) and lowered taxes for large financial institutions. This encouraged over thirty banks to set themselves up in Delaware, including such large concerns as Chase Manhattan and Manufacturers Hanover. In addition, the state has been friendly to foreign corporations who seek to incorporate in the state. Since 1899 Delaware has also had an unusual law which allows companies to be incorporated and chartered in Delaware even if they actually do no business in the state and have stockholders' meetings elsewhere. Along with the efforts of Delaware Economic Development Office and the Delaware Innovation Fund (a private fund designed to encourage new companies), this law has helped to bring many new businesses to the state.

In the 1990s Du Pont remained the driving force in Delaware's economy, ranking as the tenth largest U.S. industrial corporation, with sales of $39,689 billion in 1997. A number of other sectors were contributing to the state as well. Other manufacturers were also flourishing, such as the Chrysler Corporation and those associated with the food products industry. Tourism was second only to manufacturing in importance, bringing in $836 million in 1993. Some of the most popular tourist venues include Rehoboth Beach on the Atlantic coast and the state's many historic sites.

Not surprisingly, along with its economic success, Delaware faces social welfare problems and other difficulties associated with industrial growth and decay and with urban blight. The state has lagged well behind many others in welfare benefits and has also experienced housing shortages, urban sprawl, and pollution problems. Since the mid-1970s, however, Delaware has maintained a position as one of the nation's most prosperous states. Delaware ranked fifth among all the states in per capita personal income in 1996, with average per capita disposable income at well over $23,000.

See also: Chrysler Motors, Éleuthère Irénée du Pont, General Motors


Federal Writers Project. Delaware: A Guide to the First State. New York: Somerset, 1958.

Hoffecker, Carol E. Delaware: A Bicentennial History. New York: Norton, 1977.

Mosley, Leonard. Blood Relations: The Rise and Fall of Du Ponts of Delaware. New York: Atheneum, 1980.

Munroe, John A. History of Delaware. Newark, DE: University of Delaware Press, 1993.

Vessels, Jane. Delaware: Small Wonder. New York: Abrams, 1984.

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Dover . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 77

Wilmington . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 89

The State in Brief

Nickname: First State; Diamond State

Motto: Liberty and independence

Flower: Peach blossom

Bird: Blue hen chicken

Area: 2,489 square miles (2000; U.S. rank: 49th)

Elevation: Ranges from sea level to 440 feet above sea level

Climate: Temperate, with mild winters and hot summers

Admitted to Union: December 7, 1787

Capital: Dover

Head Official: Governor Ruth Ann Minner (D) (until 2009)


1980: 594,000

1990: 666,000

2000: 783,600

2003 estimate: 817,491

Percent change, 19902000: 17.6%

Percent change, 20002003: 4.3%

U.S. rank in 2003: 45th

Percent of residents born in state: 48.3% (2000)

Density: 401.1 people per square mile (in 2000, based on 2000 land area)

2002 FBI Crime Index Total: 31,803

Racial and Ethnic Characteristics (2000)

White: 584,773

Black or African American: 150,666

American Indian and Alaska Native: 2,731

Asian: 16,259

Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander: 283

Hispanic or Latino (may be of any race): 37,277

Other: 15,855

Age Characteristics (2000)

Population under 5 years old: 51,531

Population 5 to 19 years old: 166,719

Percent of population 65 years and over: 13%

Median age: 36 years (2000)

Vital Statistics

Total number of births (2003): 12,120

Total number of deaths (2002): 6,860 (infant deaths, 96)

AIDS cases reported through 2003: 3,231


Major industries: Chemicals, agriculture, food products, paper products, printing and publishing, rubber and plastic products

Unemployment rate: 4.0% (November 2004)

Per capita income: $33,321 (2003; U.S. rank: 12th)

Median household income: $50,451 (3-year average, 2001-2003)

Percentage of persons below poverty level: 7.7% (3-year average, 2001-2003)

Income tax rate: Ranges from 2.2% to 5.95%

Sales tax rate: None

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Delaware (river, United States)

Delaware (dĕl´əwâr, –wər), river, c.280 mi (450 km) long, rising in the Catskill Mts., SE N.Y., in east and west branches, which meet at Hancock. It flows SE along the New York–Pennsylvania border to Port Jervis, N.Y., then between Pennsylvania and New Jersey generally S to Delaware Bay, an estuary (52 mi/84 km long) between New Jersey and Delaware. Dams and reservoirs (especially the Cannonsville, Pepacton, and Neversink) on the river's headstreams control flooding and provide water for New York City and New Jersey, but the diversion of water from the upper Delaware has increased the salinity of Delaware Bay. The Delaware River Basin Compact (formed 1961) regulates water use in the entire basin. The Delaware cuts through Kittatinny Mt. near Stroudsburg, Pa., forming the Delaware Water Gap, a scenic resort and recreation area. The lower Delaware, from Trenton, N.J. (the head of navigation), past Philadelphia, to Wilmington, Del., flows through a highly industrialized area where water pollution has been a problem. The Delaware has long been commercially and recreationally significant. Its tributaries include the highly industrial Lehigh River, which joins it at Easton, Pa., and the Schuylkill, which joins it at Philadelphia. The Chesapeake and Delaware Canal links it with Chesapeake Bay.

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Delaware State in e USA, on the Atlantic coast, occupying a peninsula between Chesapeake and Delaware bays; the capital is Dover, the largest city is Wilmington. Discovered by Henry Hudson in 1609, it was named after the British governor of Virginia, Baron De la Warr. Delaware was settled by Swedes in 1638. The Dutch, under Peter Stuyvesant, conquered the territory by 1655. Although the Dutch briefly recaptured Delaware in 1673, it was under effective English control from 1664 to 1776. One of the original Thirteen Colonies, it was the first to ratify the Articles of Confederation (1789). Despite being a slave state, it maintained a fragile loyalty to the Union during the American Civil War. It is the second smallest US state by area (after Rhode Island), and most of its land is coastal plain. The Delaware River, an important shipping route, forms part of the e boundary. Industries: chemicals, rubber, plastics, metallurgy. Agriculture: cereal crops, soya, dairy produce. Area: 5328sq km (2057sq mi). Pop. (2000) 783,600.

Statehood :

December 7, 1787

Nickname :

The First State

State bird :

Blue hen chicken

State flower :

Peach blossom

State tree :

American holly

State motto :

Liberty and independence

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