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Delaware population shows 'remarkable' growth in 2020 Census count

Delaware Public Media

The first round of results from the 2020 Census are out, and state officials are happy with Delaware’s count. 

Delaware did not hit the one million mark with its population, but it got pretty close. The U.S. Census Bureau counted 989,948 people in the First State last year. Delaware’s population grew more than 10% since 2010—the highest growth rate in the northeast. 

Some in Delaware worried the pandemic would depress census participation, since it disrupted census field operations early on. But state and local government, and community advocates, hammered the importance of filling out the census—and many Delawareans responded online.

Lt. Gov. Bethany Hall-Long says it’s hard to know whether Delaware achieved a “complete count,” but the number it got is “remarkable” during a pandemic. 

“We put an incredible amount of effort into our hard-to-reach populations," she said. "So we’re really hopeful that some of the efforts we put into some of our communities and ZIP codes in the past and census tracts that were a little more challenging turned out.”

Hall-Long notes the higher official population count will mean more federal funding for the state. 

“This will bring in more resources, whether from our agriculture, through education, to food, to healthcare,” she said. “Considering the time, we were very pleased with our growth.”

Jessica Gibson-Brokenbaugh is a public relations officer who led New Castle County’s census efforts. She says she’ll be looking to see whether having enumerators from the community increased participation. 

“That was something different that we did this year,” she said. “We were intentional about providing job opportunities in those respective communities, because we believed that was a barrier. So I’m really excited to see whether or not we hit the mark on that." 

The U.S. Census Bureau will release geographic and demographic breakdowns later this year. 

Several states gained or lost representatives in Congress, but Delaware maintains its single representative and its three electoral votes.

Sophia Schmidt is a Delaware native. She comes to Delaware Public Media from NPR’s Weekend Edition in Washington, DC, where she produced arts, politics, science and culture interviews. She previously wrote about education and environment for The Berkshire Eagle in Pittsfield, MA. She graduated from Williams College, where she studied environmental policy and biology, and covered environmental events and local renewable energy for the college paper.
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