Kent County, Delaware

Kent County is a county located in the central part of the U.S. state of Delaware. As of the 2010 census, the population was 162,310, making it the least populous county in Delaware.[1] The county seat is Dover,[2] the state capital of Delaware. It is named for Kent, an English county.[3]

Kent County
County of Kent
The Kent County Courthouse in Dover in 2006
The Kent County Courthouse in Dover in 2006
Official seal of Kent County
Seal
Map of Delaware highlighting Kent County
Location within the U.S. state of Delaware
Map of the United States highlighting Delaware
Delaware's location within the U.S.
Coordinates: 39°06′N 75°30′W / 39.1°N 75.5°W / 39.1; -75.5
Country United States
State Delaware
FoundedAugust 8, 1683
Named forKent
SeatDover
Largest cityDover
Area
 • Total798 sq mi (2,070 km2)
 • Land586 sq mi (1,520 km2)
 • Water212 sq mi (550 km2)  26.6%%
Population
 (2010)
 • Total162,310
 • Estimate 
(2019)
180,786
 • Density200/sq mi (79/km2)
Time zoneUTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−4 (EDT)
Congressional districtAt-large
Websitewww.co.kent.de.us

Kent County comprises the Dover, DE Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is included in the Philadelphia-Reading-Camden, PA-NJ-DE-MD Combined Statistical Area.[4]

HistoryEdit

 
1683 Seal of Kent County

In about 1670 the English began to settle in the valley of the St. Jones River, earlier known as Wolf Creek. On June 21, 1680, the Duke of York chartered St. Jones County, which was carved out of New Amstel/New Castle and Hoarkill/Sussex counties. St. Jones County was transferred to William Penn on August 24, 1682, and became part of Penn's newly chartered Delaware Colony.[5]

Penn ordered a court town to be laid out, and the courthouse was built in 1697. The town of Dover, named after the town of Dover in England's Kent, was finally laid out in 1717, in what was then known as the Lower Counties. It was designated as the capital of Delaware in 1777. In 1787 Delaware was first state to ratify the U.S. Constitution, and became "the First State." Through much of the late 18th century, the economy of Kent County was based on small grain farms. As a result, farmers did not need as many slaves as did owners of tobacco plantations. Delaware had a high proportion of free blacks among its African-American population by the early 19th century.

 
The new courthouse

In the 1960s, Dover was a center of manufacturing of spacesuits worn by NASA astronauts in the Apollo moon flights by ILC Dover, now based in the small town of Frederica. The suits, dubbed the "A7L," was first flown on the Apollo 7 mission in October 1967, and was the suit worn by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on the Apollo 11 mission. The company still manufactures spacesuits to this day—the present-day Space Shuttle "soft" suit components (the arms and legs of the suit).

GeographyEdit

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 798 square miles (2,070 km2), of which 586 square miles (1,520 km2) is land and 212 square miles (550 km2) (26.6%) is water.[6]

Kent County, like all of Delaware's counties, is subdivided into Hundreds. There are several explanations given for how the Hundreds were arrived at, either being an area containing 100 families, an area containing 100 people, or an area that could raise 100 militiamen.[7][8] Kent County was originally apportioned into six Hundreds: Duck Creek, Little Creek, Dover, Murderkill, Milford and Mispillion. In 1867, the Delaware legislature split Murderkill Hundred into North Murderkill Hundred and South Murderkill Hundred. In 1869, the legislature formed Kenton Hundred from parts of Little Creek and Duck Creek Hundred. Today the county contains eight Hundreds.

Adjacent countiesEdit

 
Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge

National protected areaEdit

TransportationEdit

Major highwaysEdit

The following state highways are located in Kent County:[9]

RailroadsEdit

The Delmarva Central Railroad operates two freight lines through Kent County. The Delmarva Subdivision runs north-south along the US 13 corridor through Farmington, Harrington, Felton, Wyoming, Dover, Cheswold, and Clayton and the Indian River Subdivision branches from the Delmarva Subdivision at Harrington and runs east to Houston and Milford along the DE 14 corridor. There is no passenger rail service in the county.[10]

Public transportationEdit

DART First State operates bus service within Kent County. There are several local bus routes that serve the Dover area. In addition, DART First State operates inter-county service to Wilmington, Newark, Georgetown, and Lewes, along with seasonal service to Lewes and Rehoboth Beach.[11]

AirportsEdit

Kent County contains the following public-use and military airports:

Government & PoliticsEdit

United States presidential election results for Kent County, Delaware[12]
Year Republican Democratic Third party
No.  % No.  % No.  %
2016 36,991 49.50% 33,351 44.63% 4,387 5.87%
2012 32,135 46.79% 35,527 51.73% 1,018 1.48%
2008 29,827 44.57% 36,392 54.38% 706 1.05%
2004 31,578 56.40% 23,875 42.64% 538 0.96%
2000 24,081 49.90% 22,790 47.23% 1,383 2.87%
1996 15,932 40.59% 18,327 46.69% 4,993 12.72%
1992 15,562 38.67% 15,364 38.18% 9,312 23.14%
1988 19,923 60.17% 12,996 39.25% 194 0.59%
1984 21,531 64.46% 11,789 35.29% 83 0.25%
1980 14,882 49.84% 12,884 43.15% 2,096 7.02%
1976 12,604 42.83% 16,523 56.15% 301 1.02%
1972 17,712 62.03% 10,463 36.64% 381 1.33%
1968 11,082 44.53% 9,055 36.38% 4,751 19.09%
1964 9,006 40.84% 12,981 58.86% 67 0.30%
1960 10,697 49.49% 10,754 49.75% 165 0.76%
1956 10,303 52.18% 9,319 47.20% 123 0.62%
1952 10,144 50.45% 9,874 49.10% 90 0.45%
1948 8,501 50.63% 8,174 48.68% 115 0.68%
1944 7,069 47.05% 7,900 52.58% 57 0.38%
1940 8,079 46.69% 9,226 53.31% 0 0.00%
1936 7,389 43.45% 9,588 56.38% 28 0.16%
1932 6,597 42.59% 8,829 57.00% 64 0.41%
1928 8,335 59.16% 5,727 40.65% 27 0.19%
1924 6,894 49.17% 6,936 49.47% 192 1.37%
1920 6,511 46.88% 7,211 51.92% 167 1.20%
1916 3,813 47.14% 4,210 52.05% 66 0.82%
1912 3,192 40.22% 4,071 51.30% 673 8.48%

Kent County is governed by the Kent County Levy Court, which consists of seven members, six of whom are elected by district and the seventh who is elected at-large. The current members of the Kent County Levy Court are:[13]

  • P. Brooks Banta (D) - 1st district (President)
  • Jeffrey W. Hall (D) - 2nd district
  • Allan F. Angel (D) - 3rd district
  • Eric L. Buckson (R) - 4th district
  • George Jody Sweeney (D) - 5th district
  • Glen M. Howell (R) - 6th district
  • Terry L. Pepper (D) - At-Large (Vice President)

The county row offices are held by:[13]

  • Betty Lou McKenna (D) - Recorder of Deeds
  • Harold K. Brode (D) - Register of Wills
  • Brenda A. Wootten (D) - Clerk of the Peace
  • Brian E. Lewis (D) - Sheriff

Politically, Kent County is a swing county in local, state, and federal elections. The county is often used in state politics to determine a party or candidate's strength in statewide elections and is often considered a bellwether county, having voting for the winner of the national presidential election in 9 out of the last 10 presidential elections.

In the 2016 general elections, Republican Presidential Nominee Donald Trump won Kent County with 49.81% of the vote compared to Democratic Nominee Hillary Clinton's 44.91% out of 74,260 votes case.[14] In the 2016 Delaware Gubernatorial Election, Democratic nominee John Carney won 49.68% of the vote compared to Republican Colin Bonini's 48.05%.

In the Delaware General Assembly, 8 of the 41 seats in the Delaware State House of Representatives. As of March 2020, Democrats held 4 seats and Republicans held 4 seats. In the Delaware State Senate, 5 senate districts represent parts of Kent County. As of March 2020 there were 3 Republican seats and 2 Democratic seats.

Kent County Voter Registration and Party Affiliations as of March 30, 2020 [15]
Political Party Total Voters Percentage
Democratic 55,270 43.34%
Republican 38,073 29.85%
No Party 31,763 24.91%
Third Parties 2,411 1.90%
Total 127,517 100.00%

DemographicsEdit

Historical population
Census Pop.
179018,920
180019,5543.4%
181020,4954.8%
182020,7931.5%
183019,913−4.2%
184019,872−0.2%
185022,81614.8%
186027,80421.9%
187029,8047.2%
188032,87410.3%
189032,664−0.6%
190032,7620.3%
191032,721−0.1%
192031,023−5.2%
193031,8412.6%
194034,4418.2%
195037,87010.0%
196065,65173.4%
197081,89224.7%
198098,21919.9%
1990110,99313.0%
2000126,69714.1%
2010162,31028.1%
Est. 2019180,786[16]11.4%
U.S. Decennial Census[17]
1790-1960[18] 1900-1990[19]
1990-2000[20] 2010-2018[1]

2000 censusEdit

As of the census of 2000, there were 126,697 people, 47,224 households, and 33,623 families living in the county. The population density was 215 people per square mile (83/km2). There were 50,481 housing units at an average density of 86 per square mile (33/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 73.49% White, 20.66% Black or African American, 0.64% Native American, 1.69% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 1.27% from other races, and 2.22% from two or more races. 3.21% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 13.3% were of German, 11.3% United States or American, 10.9% Irish, 10.0% English and 5.4% Italian ancestry. 92.5% spoke English and 3.3% Spanish as their first language.

There were 47,224 households, out of which 35.50% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.90% were married couples living together, 13.80% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.80% were non-families. 23.00% of all households were made up of individuals, and 8.40% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.61 and the average family size was 3.06.

In the county, the population was spread out, with 27.30% under the age of 18, 10.10% from 18 to 24, 29.80% from 25 to 44, 21.20% from 45 to 64, and 11.70% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females there were 93.10 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.60 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $40,950, and the median income for a family was $46,504. Males had a median income of $32,660 versus $24,706 for females. The per capita income for the county was $18,662. About 8.10% of families and 10.70% of the population were below the poverty line, including 14.80% of those under age 18 and 8.80% of those age 65 or over.

2010 censusEdit

As of the 2010 census, there were 162,310 people, 60,278 households, and 42,290 families living in the county.[21] The population density was 276.9 inhabitants per square mile (106.9/km2). There were 65,338 housing units at an average density of 111.5 per square mile (43.1/km2).[22] The racial makeup of the county was 67.8% white, 24.0% black or African American, 2.0% Asian, 0.6% American Indian, 0.1% Pacific islander, 2.0% from other races, and 3.5% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 5.8% of the population.[21] In terms of ancestry, 17.5% were German, 15.4% were Irish, 11.5% were English, 7.2% were Italian, and 5.9% were American.[23]

Of the 60,278 households, 35.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.1% were married couples living together, 14.9% had a female householder with no husband present, 29.8% were non-families, and 23.6% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.62 and the average family size was 3.09. The median age was 36.6 years.[21]

The median income for a household in the county was $53,183 and the median income for a family was $60,949. Males had a median income of $43,418 versus $35,603 for females. The per capita income for the county was $24,194. About 9.3% of families and 12.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 21.0% of those under age 18 and 7.7% of those age 65 or over.[24]

Amish communityEdit

Kent County is home to an Amish community that resides to the west of Dover, consisting of 9 church districts and about 1,650 people. The Amish first settled in Kent County in 1915. The area is home to several Amish businesses selling items such as Amish food, furniture, quilts, and handmade crafts. Every September, the Amish Country Bike Tour, one of the largest cycling events in Delaware, takes place in the area. In recent years, increasing development has led to the decline in the number of Amish living in the community.[25][26][27]

CommunitiesEdit

CitiesEdit

 
Dover
 
Milford

TownsEdit

 
Smyrna

Census-designated placesEdit

Other localitiesEdit

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 12, 2014.
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on May 31, 2011. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  3. ^ Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. Govt. Print. Off. pp. 173.
  4. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-03-19. Retrieved 2014-04-27.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ NEW YORK: Atlas of Historical County Boundaries by John H. Long and Kathryn Ford Thorne
  6. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. February 12, 2011. Retrieved April 23, 2011.
  7. ^ Delaware History Online - Geography - Hundreds Archived July 16, 2012, at the Wayback Machine. Hsd.org. Retrieved on 2013-08-17.
  8. ^ Delaware Hundreds Archived 2012-07-16 at the Wayback Machine. Delgensoc.org (July 16, 2010). Retrieved on August 17, 2013.
  9. ^ Delaware Department of Transportation (2008). Delaware Official Transportation Map (PDF) (Map). Dover: Delaware Department of Transportation.
  10. ^ "Delmarva Central Railroad". Carload Express. Retrieved March 27, 2017.
  11. ^ "Routes and Schedules". DART First State. Retrieved August 16, 2013.
  12. ^ "Dave Leip's Atlas of United States Presidential Elections". Retrieved June 11, 2011.
  13. ^ a b "Levy Court". Kent County. Retrieved January 6, 2020.
  14. ^ "State of Delaware - Department of Elections · Office of the State Election Commissioner". elections.delaware.gov. Retrieved 2020-03-30.
  15. ^ "State of Delaware - Department of Elections · Office of the State Election Commissioner". elections.delaware.gov. Retrieved 2020-03-30.
  16. ^ "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved May 6, 2019.
  17. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 12, 2014.
  18. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved June 12, 2014.
  19. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 12, 2014.
  20. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 12, 2014.
  21. ^ a b c "DP-1 Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010 Demographic Profile Data". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on February 13, 2020. Retrieved January 12, 2016.
  22. ^ "Population, Housing Units, Area, and Density: 2010 - County". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on February 13, 2020. Retrieved January 12, 2016.
  23. ^ "DP02 SELECTED SOCIAL CHARACTERISTICS IN THE UNITED STATES – 2006-2010 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on February 13, 2020. Retrieved January 12, 2016.
  24. ^ "DP03 SELECTED ECONOMIC CHARACTERISTICS – 2006-2010 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on February 13, 2020. Retrieved January 12, 2016.
  25. ^ "Amish Population, 2018". Elizabethtown College, the Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies. Archived from the original on February 5, 2019. Retrieved January 29, 2019.
  26. ^ "Amish Countryside". Kent County & Greater Dover, Delaware Convention and Visitors Bureau. Archived from the original on November 23, 2016. Retrieved November 22, 2016.
  27. ^ "Delaware Amish". Amish America. Archived from the original on October 7, 2017. Retrieved October 6, 2017.

External linksEdit

Coordinates: 39°06′N 75°30′W / 39.10°N 75.50°W / 39.10; -75.50