Kent County, Delaware

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Kent County, Delaware
Kent County Courthouse Dover.jpg
The Kent County Courthouse in Dover in 2006.
Seal of Kent County, Delaware
Map of Delaware highlighting Kent County
Location in the state of Delaware
Map of the United States highlighting Delaware
Delaware's location in the U.S.
Founded 1683
Seat Dover
Largest city Dover
 • Total 800.12 sq mi (2,072 km2)
 • Land 589.72 sq mi (1,527 km2)
 • Water 210.40 sq mi (545 km2), 26.30%
Population (Est.)
 • (2011) 164,834
 • Density 275/sq mi (106.2/km²)
Congressional district At-large
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4

Kent County is a county located in the central part of the U.S. state of Delaware. It is coextensive with the Dover, Delaware, Metropolitan Statistical Area and is part of the Delaware Valley Combined Statistical Area.[1] As of the 2010 census, its population was 162,310, a 28.1% increase over the previous decade.[2] The county seat is Dover, the state capital. It is named for Kent, an English 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 County and Hoarkill/Sussex County. St. Jones County was transferred to William Penn on August 24, 1682, and became part of Penn's newly chartered Delaware Colony.[3]

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, and became the capitol of Delaware in 1777. In 1787 Delaware was first to ratify the U.S. Constitution, and became "the First State." Kent County was a small grain farming region in the 18th Century.

The new courthouse

More recently, in the 1960s, Dover was the scene of the manufacturing of the 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).


According to the 2000 census, the county has a total area of 800.12 square miles (2,072.3 km2), of which 589.72 square miles (1,527.4 km2) (or 73.70%) is land and 210.40 square miles (544.9 km2) (or 26.30%) is water.[4]

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.[5][6] 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 counties[edit]

Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge

¹ across Delaware Bay; no land border

Kent County in Delaware and Kent County in Maryland are two of twenty-two counties or parishes in the United States with the same name to border each other across state lines. The others are Union Parish, Louisiana and Union County, Arkansas, Big Horn County, Montana and Big Horn County, Wyoming, Sabine County, Texas and Sabine Parish, Louisiana, Bristol County, Massachusetts and Bristol County, Rhode Island, Escambia County, Alabama and Escambia County, Florida, Pike County, Illinois and Pike County, Missouri, Teton County, Idaho and Teton County, Wyoming, Park County, Montana and Park County, Wyoming, San Juan County, New Mexico and San Juan County, Utah, and Vermilion County, Illinois and Vermillion County, Indiana. respectively. (Note, despite the different spellings, the source of the name is the same for Vermilion County, Illinois and Vermillion County, Indiana—the Vermillion River which flows through both counties.)

National protected area[edit]


Historical population
Census Pop.
1790 18,920
1800 19,554 3.4%
1810 20,495 4.8%
1820 20,793 1.5%
1830 19,913 −4.2%
1840 19,872 −0.2%
1850 22,816 14.8%
1860 27,804 21.9%
1870 29,804 7.2%
1880 32,874 10.3%
1890 32,664 −0.6%
1900 32,762 0.3%
1910 32,721 −0.1%
1920 31,023 −5.2%
1930 31,841 2.6%
1940 34,441 8.2%
1950 37,870 10.0%
1960 65,651 73.4%
1970 81,892 24.7%
1980 98,219 19.9%
1990 110,993 13.0%
2000 126,697 14.1%
2010 162,310 28.1%
Est. 2012 167,626 3.3%
U.S. Decennial Census[7]
2012 Estimate[8]

As of the census of 2000, there were 126,697 people, 47,224 households, and 33,623 families residing 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 according to Census 2000. 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.






Census-designated places[edit]

Other localities[edit]



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


Norfolk Southern Railway operates two freight lines through Kent County. One runs north-south along the US 13 corridor through Harrington, Felton, Wyoming, Dover, and Clayton and the other branches from this line at Harrington and runs east to Houston and Milford along the DE 14 corridor. There is no passenger rail service in the county.[9]

Public transportation[edit]

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 and Georgetown along with seasonal service to Rehoboth Beach.[10]


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

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ NEW YORK: Atlas of Historical County Boundaries by John H. Long and Kathryn Ford Thorne
  4. ^ "Census 2000 U.S. Gazetteer Files: Counties". United States Census. Retrieved 2011-02-13. 
  5. ^ Delaware History Online - Geography - Hundreds. Retrieved on 2013-08-17.
  6. ^ Delaware Hundreds. (2010-07-16). Retrieved on 2013-08-17.
  7. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". Retrieved July 17, 2013. 
  8. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2012". Retrieved July 17, 2013. 
  9. ^ a b Delaware Department of Transportation (2008) (PDF). Delaware Official Transportation Map (Map) (2008 ed.). Retrieved March 22, 2012.
  10. ^ "Routes and Schedules". DART First State. Retrieved August 16, 2013. 

External links[edit]

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