Special Report

This Was the First State Admitted to the Union

The United States seemed to start in stages. The Revolutionary War began on April 19, 1775. The Declaration of Independence was proclaimed on July 4, 1776. The name “United States of America” became official on Sept. 9 of that year. The Constitution was written on Sept. 17, 1787, but wasn’t ratified by the requisite nine states until June 21, 1788 (and George Washington wasn’t sworn in as president until April 30, 1789).

The first state to ratify the Constitution – and thus the first state to officially join the Union – was Delaware, on Dec. 7, 1787. The Constitution didn’t become the official framework for the American government, however, until New Hampshire became the ninth state to ratify it, on June 21, 1788. (This is how your state was founded.)

Although the current president, Joe Biden, has lived in Delaware since he was 10, the state’s importance to the country has slipped considerably in 200 years. It does not even have a million residents. As of the 2020 Census, its population was 989,948, placing it 46th among all states.

Delaware’s rank by square miles is even smaller than its rank by population. It covers 2,488.72 square miles. Only Rhode Island is smaller at 1,544.89. Because of its physical size, Delaware is among the most densely populated states, at 508 people per square mile. (See how each state’s population has changed since 2010.)

It is also one of only seven states that, because of its small population, has only one member of the House of Representatives. (She is Lisa Blunt Rochester, known, according to Govtrack, as an “at-large” representative, because she represents the entire state.)

24/7 Tempo sourced information on the date each state was admitted to the Union from Britannica. Population figures are from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2020 Population and Housing State Data report.

Click here to see the first states admitted to the Union

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