The First State

Where is it?

State Flag




East Coast, Mid-Atlantic
Geographic coordinates:
38°27'N to 39°50'N
75°2'W to 75°47'W
total: 2,489 sq mi
land: 1,955 sq mi
water: 535 sq mi
coastline: 28 miles
shoreline: 381 miles
Bordering States:
Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: 0 ft
highest point: Ebright Azimuth 449 ft
Delaware is the second-smallest state in the United States, Rhode Island being the smallest. Delaware is bounded to the north by Pennsylvania, to the east by the Delaware River and the Atlantic Ocean and to the west and south by Maryland. Small portions of Delaware are also situated on the far, or eastern, side of the Delaware River Estuary, and these small parcels share land boundaries with New Jersey. The state of Delaware, together with the Eastern Shore counties of Maryland and two counties of Virginia, form the Delmarva Peninsula, a geographical unit stretching far down the Mid-Atlantic Coast.




935,614 (2014)
Largest City:
Wilmington: 71,292 (2012)
Age structure:
0-5 years old: 6.5%
<18 years old: 23.3%
65 years and over: 13.1%
Male: 48.7% Female: 51.3%
Population growth rate:
7.6% (2000-2005)
Population density:
401.11 per sq mi
Race(2000 Census):
White non-Hispanic: 72.5%
Hispanic: 4.8%
Black: 19.2%
Asian: 2.1%
Native American: 0.3%
Multi-Race: 1.7%
Christian: 79%
Other: 2%
Non-Religious: 19%




Delaware was one of the thirteen colonies which revolted against British rule in the American Revolution. After the Revolution began in 1776, the three counties became "The Delaware State," and in 1776 that entity adopted its first constitution, declaring itself to be the "Delaware State." Its first governors went by the title of "President." The oldest black church in the country was chartered in Delaware by former-slave Peter Spencer in 1813 as the "Union Church of Africans," which is now the A.U.M.P. Church. The Big August Quarterly which began in 1814 is still celebrated and is the oldest such cultural festival in the country. During the American Civil War, Delaware was a slave state that remained in the Union (Delaware voters voted not to secede on January 3, 1861). Delaware had been the first state to embrace the Union by ratifying the constitution, and would be the last to leave it, according to Delaware's governor at the time. While most Delaware citizens that fought in the War served in the regiments the State answered Lincoln's call to arms with, some did in fact serve in Delaware companies on the Confederate side in Maryland and Virginia Regiments. Two months before the end of the Civil War, however, Delaware voted on February 18, 1865 to reject the 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution and so voted unsuccessfully to continue slavery beyond the Civil War. Delaware symbolicaly ratified the amendment on February 12, 1901—40 years after Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation. Slavery ended in Delaware only when the Thirteenth Amendment took effect in December of 1865. Delaware also rejected the 14th amendment during the Reconstruction Era.




December 7, 1787 (1st State)
State Tree:
American Holly
State Bird:
Blue Hen Chicken
State Flower:
Peach Blossom
Delaware's fourth and current constitution, adopted in 1897, provides for executive, judicial and legislative branches. Delaware has three counties: Kent County, New Castle County, and Sussex County. Each county elects its own legislative body (known in New Castle and Sussex counties as County Council, and in Kent County as Levy Court), which deal primarily in zoning and development issues. Most functions which are handled on a county-by-county basis in other states — such as court and law enforcement — have been centralized in Delaware, leading to a significant concentration of power in the Delaware state government. The Democratic Party holds a plurality of registrations in Delaware. Until the 2000 Presidential election, the state tended to be a Presidential bellwether, sending its three electoral votes to the winning candidate for over 50 years in a row. Bucking that trend, however, in 2000 and again in 2004 Delaware voted for the Democratic candidate. John Kerry won Delaware by eight percentage points with 53.5% of the vote in 2004.




The gross state product of Delaware in 2003 was $49 billion. The per capita personal income was $34,199, ranking 9th in the nation. Delaware's agricultural output consists of poultry, nursery stock, soybeans, dairy products and corn. Its industrial outputs include chemical products, processed foods, paper products, and rubber and plastic products. Delaware's economy generally outperforms the national economy of the United States. The state's largest employers are: government (State of Delaware, New Castle County, University of Delaware) chemical and pharmaceutical companies (E.I. DuPont de Nemours & Co., Syngenta, AstraZeneca, and Hercules, Incorporated) banking (Bank of America, Wilmington Trust Company, First USA / Bank One / JPMorgan Chase, AIG, Citigroup, Deutsche Bank) automotive manufacturing (General Motors, DaimlerChrysler) farming, specifically chicken farming in Sussex County (Perdue, Mountaire Farms) The United States headquarters of ING Group, and the U.S. operations of its online bank, ING Direct, are located in Wilmington. Dover Air Force Base, just outside Dover, is one of the largest Air Force Bases in the country and is a major employer in Delaware. In addition to its other responsibilities, the base serves as the entry point and mortuary for American military persons (and some U.S. government civilians) who die overseas. Delaware has 6 different income tax brackets, ranging from 2.2% to 5.95%. The state does not assess sales tax on consumers. The state does, however, impose a tax on the gross receipts of most businesses. Business and occupational license tax rates range from 0.096% to 1.92%, depending on the category of business activity.