Wilmington, North Carolina Population 2020
Wilmington is a city located in the state of North Carolina. It serves as the county seat for New Hanover County. Wilmington is a significant port city and has been designated as a “Coast Guard City.” Recent estimates show that the population is 122,607 people, making it the eighth most populous city in North Carolina.
Giovanni da Verrazano was the first European to spot the current location of Wilmington during the early 16th century. The city before European settlement was inhabited by multiple indigenous tribes for thousands of years. However, the area wasn’t settled by the Europeans until the 1720s. An area along the Cape Fear River was originally named New Carthage. The name was later changed to New Liverpool, before becoming known as New Town or Newton. It was in 1739 or 1740 when the city took on the name of Wilmington.
People from other regions in North Carolina, as well as Virginia and South Carolina settled in Wilmington. The majority of the settlers came from the British Isles, the West Indies, and British colonies. Indentured servants made up quite a bit of the early population. As the demand for labor increased in the region, slaves were brought from Africa, making up about 62% of the region’s total population in 1767.
In its earliest years, the economy was fueled by naval stores and the lumber industry. It was also an essential major port. With the arrival of the 1800s came the need for railroad transportation. Plans were created to build a railroad from Raleigh to Wilmington, but plans fell through when there wasn’t enough money raised for the project. The terminus was then changed to Weldon. Later in the century, the Wilmington Gas Light Company was established, and gas-powered street lights were installed. Soon after that, a new City Hall was built. The city over the next few years also opened its first public school and an opera house.
Wilmington’s port served as a base for the Confederates during the Civil War. The city was captured by the Union in 1865, although battles took place some distance away so that homes and buildings were preserved within Wilmington. At the end of the decade, free and emancipated blacks created a community within Wilmington. This eventually led to the Wilmington Insurrection of 1898.
Today, the city still holds its position as one of the most important port cities in the United States. The city has many historic buildings still intact, bringing in tourists. There are also nearby beaches, the downtown Riverwalk that has been named one of the best in the country, museums and other attractions that appeal to visitors and residents.
Wilmington Population Statistics
The most recent estimates put Wilmington’s population at 119,000 people. The total area of the city is 41.5 square miles, with a population density of 2,800 people per square mile.
The largest age group is 25 to 44-year-olds, which make up over 28% of the population. Data show that 18.4% of the population is under the age of 18, while 15.3% of the population is at least 65 years old. There are more female residents than males – for every 100 females, there are 85 males. Just under 20% of the population live below the federal poverty line.
Just over 47% of the population has a religious affiliation. Most of the people that do practice a religion observe Christianity. Baptists and Methodists make up the largest portion of the religious population.
Wilmington Population Growth
The population of Wilmington, for the most part, has grown every ten years when the census is taken. There have been brief periods where the population declined, but the number shows that Wilmington has always bounced back. The city has seen significant growth since the 1990s. A population of over 55,000 in 1990 had increased by 36.6% in 2000. It grew again in 2010 by over 40% to exceed 100,000. Recent estimates show that the population has grown by over 10% since the last census. It’s likely that this city will continue to see continued growth based on these trends in recent years.
According to the most recent ACS, the racial composition of Wilmington was:
- White: 76.40%
- Black or African American: 18.61%
- Two or more races: 2.14%
- Asian: 1.43%
- Other race: 0.95%
- Native American: 0.32%
- Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander: 0.16%