Delaware Capitol
Delaware Capitol

Geography & Population of Delaware

Delaware (DE), also known as The First State, is located in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic region of the United States.  The state borders Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and the Atlantic Ocean.  Delaware is the second smallest state in the U.S., with only 1,982 square miles.

The total population of DE as of 2016 was just under one million people at 952,065.  The state capital is Dover, the second-largest city in DE, with a population of 37,924 (2016).  The largest city in DE is Wilmington, with roughly 72,000 people.  Although DE is the sixth least populous state in the United States, it is also the sixth most densely populated state due to its size and population.  The median household income for Delawareans is $57,756.  This ranks 24th out of 50th on the median household incomes per states list in the U.S.

Early History

Much like the rest of the United States pre-colonization, Delaware was occupied by several groups of Native Americans, including the Lanape and Nanticoke.  In the 16th century, Europeans, specifically the Dutch, colonized Delaware and set up trading posts, commonly used to trade fur.  In 1631, the Dutch settled Zwaanendael, which is now present-day Lewes.  However, after a dispute with the Native Americans, many original settlers were killed.  A new group of Europeans, including Finns, Swedes, and once again, the Dutch, colonized Delaware, setting up a trading post called Fort Christina, now present-day Wilmington.  Renowned explorer Peter Stuyvesant overthrew Fort Christina and created a solely Dutch community.

DE was one of the Thirteen Colonies that revolted against British control during the American Revolution.  Delaware got its name “The First State” because it was the first state to ratify the United States Constitution.  During the American Revolution, Delaware aided in one of the strongest regiments in the Continental Army, which was also known as the “Delaware Blues.”  Although much of the battle was fought elsewhere, one battle was fought on the state soil – the Battle of Cooch’s Bridge.  After the secession from British rule, Delaware joined the formation of the present-day United States Union on December 7th, 1787, becoming the first state of being admitted.


Delaware is a popular spot for NASCAR fans, as Dover is the home to a NASCAR International Speedway, which hosts races twice a year. In addition, football is popular amongst Delaware universities, and the state has a national rugby league called the Delaware Black Foxes.  A fun fact about the state is that bicycling is Delaware’s official state sport.

Native Americans were not only the first settlers of Delaware, but they still inhabit the state today.  The two tribes of Natives, the Lenape and the Nanticoke tribes that initially settled the state are still living on state soil.

Many well-known American figures were born in Delaware, including Joe Biden, 47th Vice President of the United States, former Senator and currently a presidential candidate, and his wife Jill Biden, former Second Lady of the United States and college professor. In addition, actress Valerie Bertinelli of One Day at a Time, actress Yvette Freeman, President and CEO of DuPont Ellen Kullman, and Dr. Mehmet Oz, surgeon and television personality, were also born in the First State.