Demography of New Castle, Delaware
Analysis of census information

Historical census data from1850 and 1870 were examined.  The text files created by Jeremy Atack and Fred Bateman were transformed and converted to an available  Microsoft  Excel spreadsheet and Access database for ease of study.   Selected data from the 2000 census are available online for zipcode 19720.  An Excel database of the street index for New Castle in 1885 is also available from the University of Delaware.

Examining these data provides glimpses of the town's inhabitants in the years before and after the Civil War.

Total Population
Average Family Size
Number of Households
Birthplace of new residents
Racial Distribution
Age Distribution
Wealth -- by occupation and residence
Wealth -- farm vs non-farm and by Town vs. Hundred

Total population  
for the town of New Castle, and the New Castle Hundred.  From 1850 to 1870, New Castle grew about 60% in population while the surrounding Hundred lost about 3 percent of its population. The 2000 data is for Zipcode 19720 and is an approximation of the population of the Hundred.


New Castle

N.C. Hundred









2000     55,539

Hundreds are a land unit unique to Delaware, and smaller than a county.  New Castle Hundred in the 1863 Beers Atlas is shown running from Red Lion to Wilmington, bordered on the west by the White Clay Creek.

Average Family Size was small:  2.49 in 1850,  3.14 in 1870.  These numbers are based on counts of different last names in families as defined by the census enumerator, and includes numerous single individuals as 'families'.  However there were large families: 39 families had 8 or more individuals with the same last name living in one house.  The family size from the 2000 census is unchanged: 3.14

Birthplace  About 70% of New Castle residents in 1850 and 1870 were born in Delaware. Ireland was the next most common place of origin in 1870, and a close third in 1850 (5.6% and 3.4% respectively),  followed by the three adjacent states.  England was a distant 5th or 6th.  Complete list  In 2000 the percent foreign born is still about the same, about 6%, though the countries of origin have  changed as well as the place of residence.  Only about 1% of the residents of the Town of New Castle are foreign born; however the percentage in areas to the west, north and south vary from 5 to 10% .  The most common country of origin in 2000 was .... 

Number of Households

Year New Castle New Castle Hundred
1850 1201  
1870 1766 1911


Birthplace of New Residents
    There are 481 last names in the 1870 census that were not in the 1850 census.  Of these, about half of the heads of household were born in Delaware, about a quarter in Ireland.  Full list

Percent White: New Castle was and is predominantly white.  The percent white is unchanged since 1870


New Castle

New Castle Hundred










2000 (zip 19720)


Average Age
Individual ages are available for people from 1850 on.  The average age in the Town of New Castle was about 25 for both males and females in both 1850 and 1870, with a median age of 21.  

1850 M 24.6 519
F 24.3 651
1870 M 24.8 909
F 25.5 1004

The median age in 2000 in Zip code 19720 was considerably older than that in 1870 for New Castle: 34.6. The median was even higher (just above 40) in the Town of New Castle itself in 2000.  The nation-wide median age in 2000 was 35.

 Age distribution
In 1830 the number of individuals in a household in a given group were counted for each sex and race; no individual ages were reported

Slavery in 1830
    Number of persons living in slavery.
    Number of slaves in households with slaves.

Occupations in the Town of New Castle
  In 1870, there were 150 occupations listed for the 1915 individuals.  The most common is "At Home" which are all children with the exception of 8 people over 60 years old.  The next most common is "Keeping House", which includes both housewives and 16 housekeepers (for example, Sara Mason, who was keeping house for her husband, and Samuel Guthrie, the owner of 30 The Strand).  The real and personal values of the housekeepers and those "without occupation" is quite high, since it includes wealthy men and their widows, such as William Couper (owner of the Read House), and Mary Read.
    New Castle was now a mill-oriented community-- the third most common job outside of the home was in a cotton mill.  Presumably the workers (evenly divided between men and women) worked in the Triton Mills, finished just after the Civil War.  Some of the occupations in the full list appear unusual: gold beater

OCCUPATION (1870) Number Real Value
Personal Value
At Home        736
Keeping House  343 9177 1955
Without occupation 160 16422 8136
Laborer        123 1028 143
Domestic       92 1000
Works in Cotton Mill 84 125
Carpenter      28 1625 276
Farmer         19 17214 4573
Blacksmith     12 1700 335
At School      11
Machinist     11 6750 856
Hotel Keeper  10 4200 593
Clerk in Store 9 1000 200
Works on Farm  8 750 133
Gardener      7 1133 130
Lawyer         7 14200 23028
Ostler         7 1500 200
Sailor         7 1000 400

Occupations in New Castle Hundred
The distribution of occupations was quite different outside of the town in the very much more rural Hundred: ten times as many people were farmers or worked on a farm, were without occupation, or lived at home as the next most common occupation: domestic worker.  

OCCUPATION Number Real Value (Avg) Personal Value (Avg)
At Home 542   3427
Works on farm 374 867 7141
Keeping House 275 8833 2217
Farmer 155 22552 3140
Without occupation 131 6303 1492
Domestic 115   325
At School 53 1000 1925
Works in nursery 11   200
Gardener 11 7500 1267


The wealthiest individuals in 1870 (in terms of real property) include Dr. Lesley, the owner of the just-built mansion (now the Deemer Mansion), Elihu Jefferson, owner since the 1820's of the largest house on the Strand and William Couper, owner of the Read House.
   The distribution is of course very uneven -- all the people in 57 of the 151 occupations listed zero real wealth.  This must be partially an artifact of data collection.  Assuming that personal wealth includes salary,  people in 90/151 occupations also list no personal wealth, even though their jobs -- watchman, factory worker, or school teacher must have been paid.  50 Wealthiest

Wealth --farm vs non-farm, Town vs Hundred  in 1870
The majority of the wealth in 1870 (at least as reported to the enumerators) was reported for farmers in New Castle Hundred.  The total wealth in the Hundred was about 10 times that in the Town;

   Farmers Not Farmers Total
New Castle 59,850 213,920 273,770
New Castle Hundred 1,603,800 764,446 2,368,246
Total 1,663,650 978,366


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