Wilmington, North Carolina Population 2020

126,669

Wilmington is a city located in New Hanover County, North Carolina. With a 2020 population of 126,669, it is the 8th largest city in North Carolina and the 222nd largest city in the United States. Wilmington is currently growing at a rate of 1.63% annually and its population has increased by 18.96% since the most recent census, which recorded a population of 106,476 in 2010. Spanning over 53 miles, Wilmington has a population density of 2,464 people per square mile.

The average household income in Wilmington is $68,555 with a poverty rate of 23.03%. The median rental costs in recent years comes to $935 per month, and the median house value is $237,700. The median age in Wilmington is 35.8 years, 35.1 years for males, and 36.8 years for females. For every 100 females there are 87.5 males.

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: 76.40%
  • 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%
The current population of Wilmington, North Carolina is 126,669, based on our projections of the latest US Census estimates. The US Census estimates the 2018 population at 122,607. The last official US Census in 2010 recorded the population at 106,476.
Year Total Population Growth Annual Growth Rate
2020304,4585,0111.65%
2019299,4475,0111.67%
2018294,4365,0111.70%
2017289,4255,8292.01%
2016283,5966,7012.36%
2015276,8954,9911.80%
2014271,9044,1801.54%
2013267,7244,9561.85%
2012262,7683,6431.39%
2011259,1253,4231.32%
2010255,7020.00%

Population by Race

Race Population Percentage
White90,22476.40%
Black or African American21,97618.61%
Two or More Races2,5222.14%
Asian1,6851.43%
Some Other Race1,1240.95%
American Indian and Alaska Native3780.32%
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander1850.16%

Wilmington Population Pyramid 2020

Wilmington Median Age

35.8


Total

35.1


Male

36.8


Female

Wilmington Adults

There are 97,482 adults, (18,810 of whom are seniors) in Wilmington.

Wilmington Age Dependency

50.1

Age Dependency Ratio

23.9

Old Age Dependency Ratio

26.2

Child Dependency Ratio

Wilmington Sex Ratio

Female

62,992

53.34%

Male

55,102

46.66%

Wilmington Households and Families

Wilmington Renter vs Owner Occupied by Household Type

Wilmington Household Types

Type Owner Renter
Married70.7%29.3%
All44%56%
Male31.2%68.8%
Non Family30.2%69.8%
Female28.2%71.8%

44.0%

Rate of Home Ownership

Type Count Average Size Owned
All51,3162.244
Non Family26,0221.430.2
Married17,6902.9270.7
Female5,8873.228.2
Male1,7173.4131.2

2.93

Average Family Size

2.2

Average Household Size

6.1%

Unmarried (Opposite Sex)

0.6%

Unmarried (Same Sex)

Wilmington Education

Education Attained Count Percentage
Less Than 9th Grade1,8632.41%
9th to 12th Grade4,3455.63%
High School Graduate15,87420.57%
Some College16,82621.80%
Associates Degree6,9559.01%
Bachelors Degree21,28827.58%
Graduate Degree10,02612.99%

Wilmington Educational Attainment by Race

Name Total High School Bachelors
White57,93755,13427,432
Black13,49711,4061,922
Hispanic3,6072,523749
Asian1,095955776
Multiple Races967904420
Other Race651334121
Native American15411731
Islander414111

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

The highest rate of bachelors degrees is among asian people with a rate of 70.87%.

Name Average Male Female
Overall$34,692$41,224$30,152
Less Than High School$17,448$24,401$14,518
High School Grad$25,148$28,510$22,075
Some College$29,318$34,790$24,817
Bachelors Degree$46,970$59,767$40,046
Graduate Degree$62,579$82,023$52,359

$34,692

Average Earnings

$41,224

Average Male

$30,152

Average Female

Wilmington Language

Wilmington Language by Age

Wilmington Language

92.45% of Wilmington residents speak only English, while 7.55% speak other languages. The non-English language spoken by the largest group is Spanish, which is spoken by 4.61% of the population.

Wilmington Poverty

Wilmington Poverty by Race

Name Total In Poverty Poverty Rate
White80,85613,61016.83%
Black21,4469,02942.10%
Hispanic7,0752,60836.86%
Multiple2,41684134.81%
Other1,11337433.60%
Asian1,61321713.45%
Islander18517494.05%
Native3685815.76%

23.03%

Overall Poverty Rate

19.57%

Male Poverty Rate

26.11%

Female Poverty Rate

Poverty in Wilmington

The race most likely to be in poverty in Wilmington is Islander, with 94.05% below the poverty level.

The race least likely to be in poverty in Wilmington is Asian, with 13.45% below the poverty level.

The poverty rate among those that worked full-time for the past 12 months was 4.18%. Among those working part-time, it was 33.60%, and for those that did not work, the poverty rate was 32.28%.

Name Poverty
Less Than High School37.85%
High School20.78%
Some College18.17%
Bachelors or Greater5.90%
Name Poverty
Female Unemployed52.68%
Male Unemployed40.81%
Female Employed17.08%
Male Employed8.75%

Wilmington Income

Wilmington Income by Household Type

Name Median Mean
Households$45,450$68,555
Families$67,197$93,763
Married Families$90,573$116,993
Non Families$30,603$42,500

Wilmington Marital Status

Wilmington Marital Status

Marriage Rates

37.6%

Overall Marriage Rate

41.2%

Male Marriage Rate

34.6%

Female Marriage Rate

Wilmington Married by Age and Sex

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

Wilmington Veterans

6,764

Number of Veterans

6,233

Male Veterans

531

Female Veterans

War Veterans
Vietnam2,441
Second Gulf War1,206
First Gulf War1,016
Korea917
World War II360
Name Veterans % of Total
White5,5807.25%
Black9696.02%
2 or More16210.50%
Hispanic1543.55%
Other334.23%
Asian201.41%

$Wilmington Veterans by Education

9.69%

Veteran Poverty Rate

28.48%

Veteran Disability Rate

Wilmington Employment Status

62.5%

Labor Force Participation

58%

Employment Rate

6.9%

Unemployment Rate

Wilmington Place of Birth

Origin of Non-Citizens

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

Origin of Naturalized Citizens

51.32%

Born in North Carolina

94.52%

Native Born

5.48%

Foreign Born

2.94%

Non Citizen

Place of Birth

94.52% of Wilmington residents were born in the United States, with 51.32% having been born in North Carolina. 2.94% of residents are not US citizens. Of those not born in the United States, the largest percentage are from Latin America.

Year Population Growth Annual Growth Rate
2020126,6692,0311.63%
2019124,6382,0311.66%
2018122,6071,8541.54%
2017120,7532,0311.71%
2016118,7223,6983.21%
2015115,0241,7151.51%
2014113,3091,6381.47%
2013111,6712,0261.85%
2012109,6451,5201.41%
2011108,1251,3751.29%
2010106,75030,9123.48%
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%