Aside from the more heavily populated northern tip of the state around Wilmington, Delaware has not been a popular destination for immigrants. The Wilmington area’s importance as a transportation hub and corporate center has offered prosperity to immigrants with backgrounds in chemistry, business, and technology. However, less well-educated immigrants have not shared in that prosperity.
Migration to the region that would become the state of Delaware began during the seventeenth century with ventures by Dutch and Swedes up the Delaware River to New Castle. During the eighteenth century, much larger contingents of
By 1920, the proportion of immigrants among Delaware’s residents reached its historic high, accounting for just under 9 percent of the total population. By 1970, the percentage of immigrants had dropped to 2.9 percent. During the early twentieth century, Italian and
A study of the economic and employment status of Delaware’s Hispanics, including Puerto Ricans, completed in 2008 found that one-quarter of them were living in poverty. In Kent and Sussex, the central and southern of the state’s three counties, 59 percent of the Hispanic households did not earn enough money to meet the basic needs of the family. This report found construction, restaurant operation, and professional services as the most frequent sources of income. Moreover, nearly one-half of employed Hispanics were judged to be deficient in English-language skills. However, the report also revealed that an overwhelming majority of the state’s Hispanic residents were interested in job training and English classes that many of them were not receiving.
Boyer, William W., and Edward C. Ratledge. Delaware Politics and Government. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2009. Hoffecker, Carol E. Delaware: A Bicentennial History. New York: W. W. Norton, 1977. Munroe, John A. Colonial Delaware: A History. Millwood, N.Y.: KTO Press, 1978. _______. History of Delaware. Newark: University of Delaware Press, 1984.
English as a second language
Puerto Rican immigrants