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ORIGIN OF STATE NAME: Named for Thomas West, Baron De La Warr, colonial governor of Virginia; the name was first applied to the bay. NICKNAMES: The First State; also, the Diamond State. CAPITAL: Dover. ENTERED UNION: 7 December 1787 (1st). SONG: "Our Delaware." COLORS: Colonial blue and buff. MOTTO: Liberty and Independence. COAT OF ARMS: A farmer and a rifleman flank a shield that bears symbols of the state's agricultural resources—a sheaf of wheat, an ear of corn, and a cow. Above is a ship in full sail; below, a banner with the state motto. FLAG: Colonial blue with the coat of arms on a buff-colored diamond; below the diamond is the date of statehood. OFFICIAL SEAL: The coat of arms surrounded by the words "Great Seal of the State of Delaware 1793, 1847, 1907." The three dates represent the years in which the seal was revised. BIRD: Blue hen chicken. FISH: Sea trout. INSECT: Ladybug. FLOWER: Peach blossom. TREE: American holly. ROCK: Sillimanite. LEGAL HOLIDAYS: New Year's Day, 1 January; Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr., 3rd Monday in January; Lincoln's Birthday, 1st Monday in February; Washington's Birthday, 3rd Monday in February; Good Friday, March or April; Memorial Day, last Monday in May; Independence Day, 4 July; Labor Day, 1st Monday in September; Columbus Day, 2nd Monday in October; Veterans Day, 11 November; General Election Day, 1st Tuesday after the 1st Monday in November in even-numbered years; Thanksgiving Day, 4th Thursday in November; Christmas Day, 25 December. TIME: 7 AM EST = noon GMT.
Delaware's climate is temperate and humid. The normal daily mean temperature in Wilmington is 54°F (12°C), ranging from 31°F (–1°C) in January to 76°F (24°C) in July. Both the record low and the record high temperatures for the state were established at Millsboro: –17°F (–27°C) on 17 January 1893 and 110°F (43°C) on 21 July 1930. The average annual precipitation (1971–2000) was 42.8 in (108.7 cm) during 1971–2000; about 21 in (53 cm) of snow falls each year. Wilmington's average share of sunshine is 55%—one of the lowest percentages among leading US cities.
Delaware ranked 44th in population in the US with an estimated total of 807,385 in 2002, an increase of 3% since 2000. Between 1990 and 2000, Delaware's population grew from 666,168 to 783,600, an increase of 17.6%. The population is projected to reach 861,000 by 2025.
In 2000, the population density was 401.1 people per square mile, the seventh-highest among the 50 states. The median age in 2000 was 36; 13% were age 65 or over, while 24.8% were under 18 years of age.
The largest cities in 2000 were Wilmington, with an estimated population of 72,664, and Dover, the capital, with 32,135.
In 2002 Delaware had approximately 383,000 acres (155,000 hectares) of forestland, of which approximately 92% was classified as private forestland. Nonindustrial private landowners owned 85% of Delaware's forests while approximately 8% was publicly owned, and 7% was owned by the forest industry.
Southern Delaware contains many loblolly pine forests as well as the northernmost stand of bald cypress. Northern Delaware contains more hardwoods, such as oak and yellow poplar. Other common species are gum, maple, and American holly, which is Delaware's state tree. Delaware has approximately 32,000 acres (12,950 hectares) of state forests, which are managed on a multiple-use basis and are open to the public.
In 2002, there were approximately 352,031 housing units in Delaware, of which 306,205 were occupied; 73.4% were owneroccupied. About 55.9% of all units were single-family, detached homes. It was estimated that about 5,382 units lacked telephone service, 768 lacked complete plumbing facilities, and 638 lacked complete kitchen facilities. Most homes are heated by gas or electricity. The average household size was 2.55 people.
In 2002, there were 6,331 new privately owned housing units authorized for construction. The same year, Delaware received over $14 million in community planning and development aid from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development. The median home value was $145,004. The median monthly cost for mortgage owners was $1,149 while renters paid a median of $679 per month.
Delaware has two major horse-racing tracks: Harrington, which has harness racing, and Dover Downs, which also has a track for auto racing. The MBNA Platinum 500 stock car race is held in June and the MBNA.com 400 is run in September. Thoroughbred races are held at Delaware Park in Wilmington. Wilmington has a minor league baseball team, the Blue Rocks, in the Carolina League. Additionally, the Fightin' Blue Hens of the University of Delaware field teams in a large number of both men's and women's sports.
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