The impact of sprawl on the loss of farmland, coupled with Delaware’s
recent growth in population and land consumption, prompted the Delaware Department of Agriculture to ask American Farmland Trust (AFT) to research historic and recent trends in the state’s growth and capital spending.
AFT compared Delaware’s development patterns and capital spending every 10 years from 1900 to 1970, and for selected years between 1974 and 2002, to identify connections between increasing growth, state spending and land consumption, particularly in the years following World War II. Delaware agencies, such as the Executive Budget Office, the Division of Accounting, the State Archives and the Office of State Planning Coordination provided data for the study.
AFT’s analysis focused on population; total housing units; land use and land cover; acres of land consumed per housing unit; state capital spending, including cash expenditures and bonded debt; and spending for school bus transportation. AFT grouped these into three areas: Population and Housing, Land Use and Land Consumption, and State Spending. This report summarizes those trends and major findings from the research.