Newborns, Immigrants Swell Del. Population

Mike Chalmers and Summer Harlow, News Journal (Wilmington, Del.), March 22, 2007

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The Carbajals are among thousands of immigrants who have settled and are continuing to settle in New Castle County. Population estimates released by the U.S. Census Bureau today show the county has absorbed most of Delaware’s immigrants since 2000. The county gained more than 10,500 foreign immigrants between 2000 and 2006, even while it lost about 1,800 people who moved to other parts of the country, the figures show.

Meanwhile, Kent and Sussex counties saw their populations swell with 35,000 people who came from elsewhere in the United States and just 2,800 from foreign countries, according to the estimates.

The migration patterns—plus what demographers call a “natural increase” of about 25,700, as births outnumbered deaths—lifted the state’s population to 853,476, an almost 9 percent increase since 2000.

Ed Ratledge, director of University of Delaware’s Center for Applied Demography and Survey Research, said the annual county population estimates show long-term trends continuing.

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The growth in Kent and Sussex counties isn’t mainly from foreign immigration.

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For one man, risk was worth it

The latest figures do not identify foreign immigrants by ethnicity or nation of origin. But the 2000 Census and the experience of immigration workers show that most of those coming to New Castle County are from Mexico, while those moving to Sussex County are from Guatemala.

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Seeking a better life for family

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The growth in immigration has created a vocal backlash, with Elsmere Town Councilman John Jaremchuk at its center. Jaremchuk has proposed ordinances aimed at emptying the town of “illegals,” as he calls them. He also ran an unsuccessful campaign for a state legislative seat, using illegal immigration as his main platform.

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