Wilmington, North Carolina Population 2021

126,000
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Wilmington is a city located in Brunswick County and New Hanover County North Carolina. With a 2020 population of 126,000, it is the 8th largest city in North Carolina and the 221st largest city in the United States . Wilmington is currently growing at a rate of 0.90% annually and its population has increased by 18.34% since the most recent census, which recorded a population of 106,476 in 2010. Wilmington reached it's highest population of 126,000 in 2021. Spanning over 53 miles, Wilmington has a population density of 2,451 people per square mile.

The average household income in Wilmington is $70,904 with a poverty rate of 22.19%. The median rental costs in recent years comes to $998 per month, and the median house value is $246,400. The median age in Wilmington is 36 years, 35.3 years for males, and 36.9 years for females.

Wilmington serves as the county seat for New Hanover County. Wilmington is a significant port city and has been designated as a “Coast Guard City.”

Wilmington Population Statistics

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.

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 Demographics

According to the most recent ACS, the racial composition of Wilmington was:

  • White: 76.50%
  • Black or African American: 18.44%
  • Two or more races: 2.29%
  • Asian: 1.35%
  • Other race: 1.00%
  • Native American: 0.27%
  • Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander: 0.16%
The current population of Wilmington, North Carolina is 126,000 based on our projections of the latest US Census estimates. The US Census estimates the 2018 population at 122,616.The last official US Census in 2010 recorded the population at 106,476.

Wilmington, North Carolina Population 2021

2019 and 2020 population is estimated by projecting the raw 2018 numbers.

Year Population Growth Growth Rate
2021304,0533,2601.07%
2020300,7933,2601.08%
2019297,5333,2601.10%
2018294,2734,8261.64%
2017289,4475,8672.03%
2016283,5806,7322.37%
2015276,8484,9851.80%
2014271,8634,1631.53%
2013267,7004,9411.85%
2012262,7593,6181.38%
2011259,1413,4421.33%
2010255,6990.00%

Wilmington Metro Area Population by Year

Population by Race

Race Population Percentage
White91,94476.50%
Black or African American22,15818.44%
Two or More Races2,7492.29%
Asian1,6211.35%
Some Other Race1,2041.00%
American Indian and Alaska Native3210.27%
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander1970.16%
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Wilmington Population by Race

Wilmington Population Pyramid $2021

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Wilmington Median Age

36


Total

35.3


Male

36.9


Female

Wilmington Adults

There are 98,773 adults, (19,880 of whom are seniors) in Wilmington.

Wilmington Age Dependency

52.4

Age Dependency Ratio

25.2

Old Age Dependency Ratio

27.2

Child Dependency Ratio

Wilmington Sex Ratio

Female

64,480

53.65%

Male

55,714

46.35%

Wilmington Population by Age

Wilmington Renter vs Owner Occupied by Household Type

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Wilmington Household Types

Type Owner Renter
Married69.2%30.8%
All44.5%55.5%
Non Family31.5%68.5%
Female30.9%69.1%
Male30.5%69.5%

44.5%

Rate of Home Ownership

Wilmington Households and Families

Type Count Average Size Owned
All52,2072.244.5
Non Family26,5621.431.5
Married18,1592.8969.2
Female5,8343.2530.9
Male1,6523.5530.5

2.94

Average Family Size

2.2

Average Household Size

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Wilmington Households by Type

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Education Attained Count Percentage
Less Than 9th Grade1,6912.16%
9th to 12th Grade4,2295.41%
High School Graduate16,13920.66%
Some College16,53221.16%
Associates Degree7,0909.07%
Bachelors Degree21,34327.32%
Graduate Degree11,11014.22%
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Wilmington Educational Attainment by Sex (over 25)

Wilmington Educational Attainment by Race

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Race Total High School Bachelors
White58,98955,97528,336
Black13,35711,4812,030
Hispanic3,6032,701839
2+ Races1,0771,019442
Asian1,031928753
Other Race541347134
Native American15915959
Islander484811

The highest rate of high school graduation is among native american people with a rate of 100.00%.

The highest rate of bachelors degrees is among asian people with a rate of 73.04%.

Wilmington Educational Attainment by Race

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Name Average Male Female
Overall$36,661$42,355$30,948
Less Than 9th Grade$19,831$23,741$15,277
High School Graduate$25,775$29,972$22,271
Some College$31,134$35,748$24,984
Bachelors Degree$47,607$55,203$41,141
Graduate Degree$61,905$85,313$51,838

$36,661

Average Earnings

$42,355

Average Male

$30,948

Average Female

Wilmington Earnings by Educational Attainment

Wilmington Language by Age

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Wilmington Language

92.21% of Wilmington residents speak only English, while 7.79% speak other languages. The non-English language spoken by the largest group is Spanish, which is spoken by 4.50% of the population.

Wilmington Language

Wilmington Poverty by Race

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Name Total In Poverty Poverty Rate
White82,10112,94515.77%
Black21,7919,20442.24%
Hispanic7,3602,49233.86%
Multiple2,58792435.72%
Other1,16629625.39%
Asian1,56328518.23%
Islander19718091.37%
Native3105417.42%

22.19%

Overall Poverty Rate

18.85%

Male Poverty Rate

25.12%

Female Poverty Rate

Poverty in Wilmington

The race most likely to be in poverty in Wilmington is Islander, with 91.37% below the poverty level.

The race least likely to be in poverty in Wilmington is White, with 15.77% below the poverty level.

The poverty rate among those that worked full-time for the past 12 months was 3.66%. Among those working part-time, it was 30.80%, and for those that did not work, the poverty rate was 31.94%.

Wilmington Poverty

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Name Poverty
Less Than 9th Grade36.31%
High School22.07%
Some College17.37%
Bachelors or Greater6.00%

Wilmington Poverty Rate by Education

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Rate Poverty
Female Unemployed49.71%
Male Unemployed39.94%
Female Employed16.41%
Male Employed7.61%

Wilmington Poverty Rate by Employment Status and Sex

Wilmington Income by Household Type

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Name Median Mean
Households$47,580$70,904
Families$69,870$97,723
Married Families$92,110$120,958
Non Families$31,985$43,599
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Income by Household Type

Wilmington Marital Status

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Marriage Rates

37.9%

Overall Marriage Rate

41.6%

Male Marriage Rate

34.9%

Female Marriage Rate

Wilmington Married by Age and Sex

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Wilmington Marriage

The age group where males are most likely to be married is 55-64, while the female age group most likely to be married is 45-54.

Wilmington Marital Status by Race

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Wilmington Marital Status

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6,798

Number of Veterans

6,132

Male Veterans

666

Female Veterans

War Veterans
Vietnam2,153
Second Gulf War1,469
First Gulf War1,193
Korea827
World War II244

Wilmington Veterans by War

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Age Group Veterans
75+1,836
65 to 741,645
35 to 541,497
55 to 641,071
18 to 34749

Wilmington Veterans by Age

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Name Veterans % of Total
White5,6157.17%
Black1,0406.52%
2+ Races1136.28%
Hispanic1072.39%
Other Race172.29%
Asian130.94%

Wilmington Veterans by Race

Wilmington Veterans by Education

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9.54%

Veteran Poverty Rate

28.26%

Veteran Disability Rate

Wilmington Veterans by Education

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61.7%

Labor Force Participation

58%

Employment Rate

5.7%

Unemployment Rate

Wilmington Employment by Age

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Wilmington Employment by Race

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Wilmington Employment by Education

Origin of Non-Citizens

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Non citizens include legal permanent residents (green card holders), international students, temporary workers, humanitarian migrants, and illegal immigrants.

Origin of Naturalized Citizens

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51.50%

Born in Wilmington

94.61%

Native Born

5.39%

Foreign Born

2.87%

Non Citizen

2.51%

Naturalized

Place of Birth

94.61% of Wilmington residents were born in the United States, with 51.50% having been born in North Carolina. 2.87% of residents are not US citizens. Of those not born in the United States, the largest percentage are from Latin America.

Wilmington Place of Birth

Year Population Growth Annual Growth Rate
2021126,0001,1280.90%
2020124,8721,1280.91%
2019123,7441,1280.92%
2018122,6161,7801.47%
2017120,8362,0661.74%
2016118,7703,7203.23%
2015115,0501,7301.53%
2014113,3201,6341.46%
2013111,6862,0281.85%
2012109,6581,5171.40%
2011108,1411,3871.30%
2010106,75430,9163.48%
200075,83820,3083.17%
199055,53011,5302.35%
198044,000-2,169-0.48%
197046,1692,1560.48%
196044,013-1,030-0.23%
195045,04311,6363.03%
194033,4071,1370.35%
193032,270-1,102-0.34%
192033,3727,6242.63%
191025,7484,7722.07%
190020,9769200.45%
189020,0562,7061.46%
188017,3503,9042.58%
187013,4463,8943.48%
18609,5522,2882.78%
18507,2641,9293.13%
18405,3351,5443.48%
18303,7911,1583.71%
18202,6330.00%

Wilmington Population by Year