Population & Demographics

Understanding the demographic profile of our county is important. Tracking changes will help us plan for the future, and provide better services to our community. On this page you will find some of the demographic information we have collected during our efforts to learn more about the citizens living in our community. Additionally, you will discover interactive web maps designed to invite your exploration of this information.

Please note: the information on this page is based on the most recent U.S. census conducted in 2010. Current population estimates can be found on the Census.gov website.

Population Density MapPopulation Changes in 10 Years (2000 to 2010)

Explore an interactive web map that highlights the changing population density across New Hanover County, NC between the 2000 and 2010 census years. Population density was first analyzed and mapped at the census block level for both the 2000 and 2010 census years. Then the population density between census years was compared. The changes (+/-) were captured, mapped, and symbolized as hot spots.

  1. Historic Population Totals

Historic Population 1940 to 2010

The population of New Hanover County has more than quadrupled since 1940, increasing from slightly over 50,000 in 1940 to over 200,000 today. The majority of New Hanover County's growth occurred in the period following 1990 after Interstate I-40 was completed. The construction of I-40 improved access to New Hanover County and led to the immigration of residents from other counties in North Carolina, as well as from other states. Historically, other periods of high growth include the 1940s, with the issuance of the G.I. Bill providing home loans for veterans.

Population Growth Rates

Historic Population By Jurisdiction

The distribution of the majority of the County's population has alternated between the City of Wilmington and the unincorporated area of New Hanover County. Beginning in the 1960s, the City of Wilmington began to experience a decline in population as suburban housing patterns in unincorporated areas became more attractive to residents. Major annexations of land by the City of Wilmington in 1995 and 1998 contributed to the City's increase in population during the 1990s. By 2000, the population of New Hanover County was almost equally distributed between the City of Wilmington and the unincorporated area. Today, the City of Wilmington contains the majority of the population. This fluctuation will likely stabilize with the current legislative requirements regarding annexation.

Historic Population By Jurisdiction

  1. Regional Population Comparison: 1980 to 2010
  1. Population Projections
  1. Racial Composition: 1990 to 2010
  1. Generational Composition: 1990 to 2010
  1. Population by Gender
  1. Educational Attainment
  1. US Census Quick Facts