Demographics

As of the 2010 census, there were 85,603 people residing in the city.

The number of Hispanics, who may be of various races, is up by 10,889 — a 61 percent increase from the 12,966 who were counted in 2000.

Norwalk’s overall population is up by 2,652. As of 2010, whites were 69 percent of the total (whites were 73.9 percent of the total in 2000); blacks, 14.2 percent; Asians, 4.8 percent; American Indians, Pacific Islanders and people counted as “some other race” were 9.4 percent of the total. Those who said they were of two or more races were 2.8 percent of the city’s population (that totals 100.2 percent because the percentage figures are rounded).[7]

As of the census of 2000, there were 82,951 people, 32,711 households, and 20,967 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,637.3 people per square mile (1,404.1/km²). There were 33,753 housing units at an average density of 1,480.0 per square mile (571.3/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 73.95% White, 15.27% Black or African American, 0.21% Native American, 3.25% Asian, 0.05%Pacific Islander, 4.33% from other races, and 2.95% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 15.63% of the population. There is a great African American concentration in the city’s South Norwalk And Norwalk. The foreign nation in which the most residents of Norwalk were born wasColombia, the birthplace of 2.8% of Norwalk’s total population and 14% of its foreign-born population.

There were 32,711 households, of which 28.5% had children under the age of 18, 47.9% were married couples living together, 12.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.9% were non-families. 28.2% of all households were individuals and 8.7% had someone living alone who was 65 or older. The average household size was 2.51 and the average family size was 3.10.

In the city the population was 22.1% under the age of 18, 7.0% from 18 to 24, 35.5% from 25 to 44, 22.6% from 45 to 64, and 12.8% who were 65 or older. The median age was 37. For every 100 females there were 95.3 males. For every 100 females 18 or older, there were 91.4 males.

According to a 2007 estimate, the median income for a household in the city was $70,672, and the median income for a family was $83,695. Males had a median income of $46,988 versus $38,312 for females. The per capita income for the city was $31,781. About 5.0% of families and 7.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 9.6% of those under 18 and 6.3% of those 65 or older.


History

Norwalk was purchased in 1640 by Roger Ludlow. The original purchase included the land between the Norwalk and Saugatuck rivers, at a distance of a “day’s walk” from the sea. Norwalk was chartered as a town on September 11, 1651.[3]

The traditional American song “Yankee Doodle” has Norwalk-related origins, though not written in Norwalk.[4] During the French and Indian War, a regiment of Norwalkers led byColonel Thomas Fitch arrived at Fort Crailo, NY. The British regiment began to mock and ridicule the rag-tag Connecticut troops, who had only chicken feathers for a uniform. Richard Shuckburgh, a British army surgeon, added words to a popular tune of the time,Lucy Locket (e.g., “stuck a feather in his cap and called it macaroni”, macaroni being the London slang at the time for a foppish dandy).

In 1776, American spy Nathan Hale set out from Norwalk by ship on his ill-fated intelligence-gathering mission. British forces under General William Tryon arrived on July 10, 1779 and almost completely destroyed Norwalk; only six houses were spared. After the Revolutionary War, many residents were compensated for their losses with free land grants in the Connecticut Western Reserve in what is now Ohio; this later became Norwalk, Ohio.

In 1849 the New York and New Haven Railroad started operating through Norwalk. In 1852 the Danbury and Norwalk Railroad connected Norwalk with Danbury. Both railroads eventually became parts of the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad. The first major U.S.railroad bridge disaster occurred in Norwalk in 1853 when a train plunged into the Norwalk River. Forty-six deaths and about 30 injuries resulted.

Oyster farming in Norwalk peaked from the late 19th century to the early part of the 20th century. By 1880, it had the largest fleet ofsteam-powered oyster boats in the world.

Norwalk was reincorporated as a borough in 1836, then reincorporated as a city in 1893 and was consolidated with the town of Norwalk in 1913. This latter event gave rise to the 1913 year that appears on the seal of the city.

In the mid-1970s, the city government and several local organizations started successful efforts to revitalize the South Norwalk business district (“SoNo”). The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk was founded as part of that effort.