Wilmington Population 2018

Wilmington is a city located in the state of North Carolina. It serves as the county seat for New Hanover County. Wilmington is a very important port city and has been designated as a “Coast Guard City.” Recent estimates show that the population is 117,525 people, making it the eighth most populous city in North Carolina.

Wilmington History

Giovanni da Verrazano was the first European to spot the current location of Wilmington during the early 16th century. The city prior to 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 important 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 thereafter, 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 Demographics

The most recent estimates put Wilmington’s population at 117,525 people. The total area of the city is 41.5 square miles, with a population density of 2,800 people per square mile.

Almost three-quarters of the population is White. Just under 20% is Black, 6.1% are Hispanic or Latino, and 1.2% are Asian. 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 population that does practice a religion observes 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 show 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.

Year Population Growth Growth Rate

Wilmington Race Data

Race Population Percentage
Black or African American40,03756.04%
Some Other Race3,8785.43%
Two or More Races1,7982.52%
American Indian and Alaska Native780.11%
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander170.02%

Population Pyramid

0k0k0k0k0k0k Male Population0k0k0k0k0k0k Female Population8580757065605550454035302520151050

Wilmington Housing Indicators

Indicator Value
Median Number of Rooms (per House)
Houses Without Mortgage
Houses With Mortgage
Vacancy Rate
Median Rent
Median Home Value
Renter-Occupied Units
Owner-Occupied Units
Total Housing Units

This chart shows the employment and labor force participation rates in Wilmington for residents over 16 years of age. The 2015 unemployment rate is 6.8% and the labor force participation rate is 62.4%.

Wilmington Family/Household Indicators

Indicator Value
Unmarried Partner Households (Same Sex)
Unmarried Partner Households (Opposite Sex)
Non Family Households
Female Householder (no husband) Families
Male Householder (no wife) Families
Married Couple Families
Average Family Size
Average Household Size