2020 Census details reveal population increase, demographic shifts in Delaware
Delaware’s population grew by about 10% between the 2010 and 2020 census counts. Detailed population data released by the Census Bureau last week shows most of that growth was in Sussex County.
Each of Delaware’s three counties saw population growth between 2010 and 2020, according to the 2020 Census. Growth was smallest in New Castle County, which remains Delaware’s most populous but saw its population increase by just 6% since 2010. Kent County grew in population by 12%, and Sussex by 20.4%.
Lt. Gov. Bethany Hall-Long was one of the leaders of Delaware’s effort to get a complete count. She says the growth Delaware documented is thanks in part to strong partnerships built to raise awareness about the census.
“People who are from the community that they trusted [reached out],” she said. “So even when we couldn’t go door-to-door, they were on the phone. They were at community safe space organizations or places where people were congregating.”
The nonprofit First State Community Action Agency was one of those partners. Staff there helped with census door-knocking in low-income and immigrant communities in Sussex, but say they didn’t get as many responses as they wanted.
“I would have liked to have seen more representation from our low-income and underserved communities, so we still have our work cut out there,” said Executive Director Bernice Edwards.
The census shows that statewide, the number of Delawareans who identified as Hispanic or Latino increased more than 40% in the last decade. That growth was especially strong in Sussex County, which saw a 58% increase in respondents identifying as Hispanic or Latino.
The number of people who identified as Asian, alone or in combination with another race, went up more than 50% statewide, nearly 68% in Sussex County.
The number of Delawareans who identified as Black or African American alone or in combination increased nearly 19% statewide. That group grew by the greatest percent in Kent County—nearly 27% since 2010.
The number of Delawareans who identified as white alone or in combination rose just 4% statewide, but more than 20% in Sussex County.
Hall-Long says the census count on college campuses was especially hurt by the pandemic.
State and local officials can now use the detailed population counts to redraw legislative and councilmanic districts.