According to the 2000 national census, Delaware ranked 45th among the states, with a total population of 783,600. This represented an increase of 17.6 percent over the 1990 census figure of 666,168. Despite its comparatively small population, Delaware had a high average density in 2006 of 169 persons per sq km (437 per sq mi). Whites make up the largest share of Delaware’s residents, representing 74.6 percent of the people. Blacks are 19.2 percent of the population, Asians 2.1 percent, Native Americans 0.3 percent, and those of mixed heritage or not reporting race 3.7 percent. Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders number 283. Hispanics, who may be of any race, are 4.8 percent of the people. Some 80 percent of the population lived in urban areas in 2000.
The earliest settlers, who arrived in the 17th century, were mainly Swedes, but there were also Finns, Dutch, and a few English and French. The total population in the region in the middle of the 17th century was probably less than 1,000. Most Delawareans trace their ancestry back to later immigrants. The British were the most numerous in the late 17th and 18th centuries and included settlers of English, Scottish, Irish, and Welsh extraction. French settlers arrived in the 1790s. In the middle of the 19th century, immigrants from Ireland and Germany found work in the factories that were being set up in northern Delaware. Toward the end of the 19th century they were followed by Italians, Poles, Jews, and Ukrainians. Blacks are descended mainly from Africans who were brought to Delaware as slaves during the 17th and 18th centuries.
Delaware’s largest city is Wilmington, which in 2006 had an estimated population of 72,826. Wilmington was the site of the first permanent settlement by Europeans during the colonial era and is today the chief center of manufacturing, commercial, and transportation activities in the state. Wilmington is also the state’s foremost cultural center. Dover, the state capital, serves as an administrative and commercial center. Tourism is also important to the city, which is noted for its many buildings of historic interest. Dover’s population was 34,735 in 2006. Newark, with a population of 30,014, is a manufacturing city and the seat of the University of Delaware.
Milford, with a population of 7,852, is a trade center for farms in southern Delaware. Seaford is an industrial community on the Nanticoke River. Lewes is one of the oldest ports on the East Coast. New Castle, site of William Penn’s first landing in North America, is a quaint river town south of Wilmington. Its historic courthouse and cobblestone streets attract many visitors. Encarta "Delaware" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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