Because of Delaware's lenient laws regulating business taxation and practice, some of the nation's largest corporations, especially banking and financial services companies, have major offices in N Delaware. Since the 1990s the finance and insurance sectors have become increasingly important for employment and income and now dominant the state's economy, although manufacturing and agriculture are still significant. The manufacturing, credit card, banking, and insurance industries are largely concentrated in the north, while farming is carried on mainly below the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal.
Chief agricultural products are broiler chickens, soybeans, corn, and dairy products. Potatoes and other vegetables are also grown. Delaware's small fishing industry harvests mainly clams, menhaden, oysters, and scup. Industries around Wilmington include the large chemicals and materials company that was founded by the Du Pont family in the 19th cent., and the biomedical, apparel, processed foods, and rubber and plastic products industries contribute significantly to the economy. Also economically important are Dover Air Force Base, the largest military facility in the state; tourism, mainly to the state's Atlantic beaches; and gambling.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.