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Kent County, Delaware facts for kids

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Kent County
County of Kent
The Kent County Courthouse in Dover in 2006
The Kent County Courthouse in Dover in 2006
Official seal of Kent County
Map of Delaware highlighting Kent County
Location within the U.S. state of Delaware
Map of the United States highlighting Delaware
Delaware's location within the U.S.
Country  United States
State  Delaware
Founded August 8, 1683
Named for Kent
Seat Dover
Largest city Dover
 • Total 798 sq mi (2,070 km2)
 • Land 586 sq mi (1,520 km2)
 • Water 212 sq mi (550 km2)  26.6%%
 • Total 181,851
 • Density 310.33/sq mi (119.82/km2)
Time zone UTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
Congressional district At-large

Kent County is a county located in the central part of the U.S. state of Delaware. As of the 2010 census, the population was 162,310, making it the least populous county in Delaware, but also the most populous county to be the least populous in its state. The county seat is Dover, the state capital of Delaware. It is named for Kent, an English county.

Kent County comprises the Dover, DE Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is included in the Philadelphia-Reading-Camden, PA-NJ-DE-MD Combined Statistical Area.


In about 1670 the English began to settle in the valley of the St. Jones River earlier known as Wolf Creek. On June 21, 1680, The Duke of York chartered St. Jones County, which was carved out of New Amstel/New Castle County and Hoarkill/Sussex County. St. Jones County was transferred to William Penn on August 24, 1682, and became part of Penn's newly chartered Delaware Colony.

Penn ordered a court town to be laid out, and the courthouse was built in 1697. The town of Dover, named after the town of Dover in England's Kent, was finally laid out in 1717, and became the capital of Delaware in 1777. In 1787 Delaware was first to ratify the U.S. Constitution, and became "the First State." Kent County was a small grain farming region in the 18th Century.

The new courthouse

More recently, in the 1960s, Dover was the scene of the manufacturing of the spacesuits worn by NASA astronauts in the Apollo moon flights by ILC Dover, now based in the small town of Frederica. The suits, dubbed the "A7L," was first flown on the Apollo 7 mission in October 1967, and was the suit worn by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on the Apollo 11 mission. The company still manufactures spacesuits to this day—the present-day Space Shuttle "soft" suit components (the arms and legs of the suit).


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 798 square miles (2,070 km2), of which 586 square miles (1,520 km2) is land and 212 square miles (550 km2) (26.6%) is water.

Kent County, like all of Delaware's counties, is subdivided into Hundreds. There are several explanations given for how the Hundreds were arrived at, either being an area containing 100 families, an area containing 100 people, or an area that could raise 100 militiamen. Kent County was originally apportioned into six Hundreds: Duck Creek, Little Creek, Dover, Murderkill, Milford and Mispillion. In 1867, the Delaware legislature split Murderkill Hundred into North Murderkill Hundred and South Murderkill Hundred. In 1869, the legislature formed Kenton Hundred from parts of Little Creek and Duck Creek Hundred. Today the county contains eight Hundreds.

Adjacent counties

Bombay Hook NWR wetlands
Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge

Kent County in Delaware and Kent County in Maryland are two of twenty-two counties or parishes in the United States with the same name to border each other across state lines. The others are Union Parish, Louisiana and Union County, Arkansas, Big Horn County, Montana and Big Horn County, Wyoming, Sabine County, Texas and Sabine Parish, Louisiana, Bristol County, Massachusetts and Bristol County, Rhode Island, Escambia County, Alabama and Escambia County, Florida, Pike County, Illinois and Pike County, Missouri, Teton County, Idaho and Teton County, Wyoming, Park County, Montana and Park County, Wyoming, San Juan County, New Mexico and San Juan County, Utah, and Vermilion County, Illinois and Vermillion County, Indiana. respectively. (Note, despite the different spellings, the source of the name is the same for Vermilion County, Illinois and Vermillion County, Indiana—the Vermillion River which flows through both counties.)

National protected area


Major highways

The following state highways are located in Kent County:

  • US 13
  • US 113
  • DE 1
  • DE 6
  • DE 8
  • DE 9
  • DE 10
  • DE 11
  • DE 12
  • DE 14
  • DE 15
  • DE 16
  • DE 42
  • DE 44
  • DE 300


The Delmarva Central Railroad operates two freight lines through Kent County. The Delmarva Subdivision runs north–south along the US 13 corridor through Farmington, Harrington, Felton, Wyoming, Dover, Cheswold, and Clayton and the Indian River Subdivision branches from the Delmarva Subdivision at Harrington and runs east to Houston and Milford along the DE 14 corridor. There is no passenger rail service in the county.

Public transportation

DART First State operates bus service within Kent County. There are several local bus routes that serve the Dover area. In addition, DART First State operates inter-county service to Wilmington, Newark, Georgetown, and Lewes, along with seasonal service to Lewes and Rehoboth Beach.


Kent County contains the following public-use and military airports:


Historical population
Census Pop.
1790 18,920
1800 19,554 3.4%
1810 20,495 4.8%
1820 20,793 1.5%
1830 19,913 −4.2%
1840 19,872 −0.2%
1850 22,816 14.8%
1860 27,804 21.9%
1870 29,804 7.2%
1880 32,874 10.3%
1890 32,664 −0.6%
1900 32,762 0.3%
1910 32,721 −0.1%
1920 31,023 −5.2%
1930 31,841 2.6%
1940 34,441 8.2%
1950 37,870 10.0%
1960 65,651 73.4%
1970 81,892 24.7%
1980 98,219 19.9%
1990 110,993 13.0%
2000 126,697 14.1%
2010 162,310 28.1%
2020 181,851 12.0%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2020

2010 census

As of the 2010 census, there were 162,310 people, 60,278 households, and 42,290 families living in the county. The population density was 276.9 inhabitants per square mile (106.9/km2). There were 65,338 housing units at an average density of 111.5 per square mile (43.1/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 67.8% white, 24.0% black or African American, 2.0% Asian, 0.6% American Indian, 0.1% Pacific islander, 2.0% from other races, and 3.5% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 5.8% of the population. In terms of ancestry, 17.5% were German, 15.4% were Irish, 11.5% were English, 7.2% were Italian, and 5.9% were American.

Of the 60,278 households, 35.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.1% were married couples living together, 14.9% had a female householder with no husband present, 29.8% were non-families, and 23.6% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.62 and the average family size was 3.09. The median age was 36.6 years.

The median income for a household in the county was $53,183 and the median income for a family was $60,949. Males had a median income of $43,418 versus $35,603 for females. The per capita income for the county was $24,194. About 9.3% of families and 12.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 21.0% of those under age 18 and 7.7% of those age 65 or over.

Amish community

Kent County is home to an Amish community that resides to the west of Dover, consisting of 9 church districts and about 1,650 people. The Amish first settled in Kent County in 1915. The area is home to several Amish businesses selling items such as Amish food, furniture, quilts, and handmade crafts. Every September, the Amish Country Bike Tour, one of the largest cycling events in Delaware, takes place in the area. In recent years, increasing development has led to the decline in the number of Amish living in the community.



Dover Delaware
Milford DE


Smyrna Delaware

Census-designated places

Other localities

Images for kids

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Condado de Kent (Delaware) para niños

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