You may think statistics are boring, but Bridgeville’s census data tell a rather stunning story of a town that has transformed itself since the year 2000.
One of the first steps in preparing a town’s comprehensive plan is looking at all kinds of population, housing, economic, educational, race and other demographic data. An amazing online source is the US Census Bureau’s American Fact Finder. You can learn how Bridgeville changed between 2000 and 2015. You can compare Bridgeville to Sussex County and Delaware. You can discern interesting trends.
In the case of Bridgeville:
- The town cut its poverty rate in half between 2000 and 2015, while the rate in Delaware and Sussex County rose slightly. The decline was not just a percentage but in the number of actual families living below the poverty level.
- Bridgeville’s Median Household Income (MHI) increased by 97 percent over this period, from $26,579 to $52,396 – outpacing the state and Sussex County. This is a key indicator that is used to qualify for federal and state grants and other assistance.
- Bridgeville’s Median Home Value increased by 184 percent, from $79,900 in 2000 to $227,200 in 2015. Again, the town significantly outperformed Sussex County and Delaware.
- The percentage of renter-occupied units fell from 48 percent in 2000 to 27.2 percent in 2015 – a decrease of almost 50 percent.
- Almost 15 percent of Bridgeville’s residents had bachelor’s degrees in 2015, vs. 6.2 percent in 2000; those with graduate degrees more than doubled over the same period.
With only preliminary analysis, it is safe to say that Heritage Shores has played a vital role in raising Bridgeville’s standard of living. Begun in 2005, the 55-plus development sweated out the recession and is now about to begin its fourth phase in 2018.
As Heritage Shores has built out, another staggering statistic shows how the development has changed the face of Bridgeville: the town’s population 65 and older increased by almost 200 percent, and its median age went from 33 to 53. This dramatic aging of the town’s population does create a mix of challenges and opportunities that will be discussed in the plan.