Delaware. The first state. The 2nd smallest state. The place with awesome beaches, where you get your country life and your city life and everything in between.
Where you have Philly wannabes on one side and chicks in the sticks on the other.
If you’re from Delaware, you think it’s the best kept secret around. But is it all good in your hood?
Just like every other state, Delaware has its least desirable spots. The purpose of this post is to use science and data to determine which places are the worst you could possibly live in if you make Delaware your home.
After analyzing 34 of the state’s most populous cities (over 2,200 people), we came up with this list as the 10 worst places to live in the state of Delaware:
What? Where are these places you wonder? And before you get all riled up and say we’re picking on small town America, that’s not the case.
We understand there’s a lot of good in every place.
However, according to data (which doesn’t measure things like beauty and ‘friendly people’), there are far better options in the state for making a place home. And the worst place to live in Delaware? That would be Laurel.
Read on below to see how we crunched the numbers and see how your city fared in 2019.
For more Delaware reading, check out:
- 10 Best Places To Live In Delaware
- 10 Cheapest Places To Live In Delaware
- 10 Most Dangerous Cities In Delaware
The 10 Worst Places To Live In Delaware For 2019
If you live in Laurel, this might not be a surprise, but you have the 21st highest crime rate, per capita in the state of Delaware. Every year you spend here, you have a 1 in 23.0 chance of being the victim of a property crime like a car break in or home invasion robbery.
That’s a lot of stolen cell phones, laptops and black license plates.
Plus, for such a small place, there were 54 violent crimes in the last FBI reporting year. That means if you spent a year there, you’d have a 1 in 76 chance of being raped or attacked.
Finally, the folks who live here earn the 1st lowest salaries in Delaware. At $34,291 a household, that’s simply not enough to get by for these Slower Lowers.
When you’re looking at the worst places you could live in Delaware, Seaford came in 2nd. Let’s see why.
The city has very bad crime (6th worst) and an employment rate that’s nearly the highest for cities of its size 6.3%. On the bright side, K-12 student spending is highest here than in the entire state.
Rank Last Year: 8 (Up 5)
Median Home Value: $200,600 (18th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 7.1% (10th worst)
More on Bear: Data
When you’re looking at things from purely a scientific standpoint, Bear is the 3rd worst place in the state of Delaware.
The U.S. defines the poverty line at $24,600 a year for a family of four. Bear is right on the verge of that when you look at what the average citizen there earns a year. And the home values are eye-opening low. On average, the home value in Bear are the 18th lowest in the entire state.
And when you factor in high crime and a high tax rate, it really can’t get much worse in Delaware.
When you’re looking at science and data, the city of Harrington is the worst place you can live in the state of Delaware. Let’s see why.
Crime and no jobs. How does that sum it up? When you look at the numbers, you can see why Harrington might be a bad place to live. Would you believe Harrington has the 25th highest crime rate in Delaware? It does. You have a 1 in 30.5 chance of being robbed when you’re within Harrington city limits each year.
Plus, Harrington has the 6th highest unemployment rate in the state. At 9.0%, that’s actually under the national average, but really high for Delaware.
And the home prices ($165,800) are the 5th cheapest in the state. Say what you want about ‘cheap living,’ the fact is, homes are priced on demand, and there’s not a lot of demand to live in Harrington.
Harrington is located near…well it’s a small state. You probably know where it is.
If you live in Wilmington, you’re either going to fiercely protect your town, or you agree that it should be on this list. Either way, it doesn’t matter, because science says it’s the 5th worst place to live in the state.
You’ve got the 13th highest crime rate in Delaware, which saw 1,142 violent crimes last year. You have a 1 in 20.1 chance of being robbed and a 1 in 62 chance of being attacked, raped or killed here for every year you spend in the city limits of Wilmington.
Plus, folks are simply out of work. Wilmington sports the state’s 4th highest unemployment rate (9.4%), and families bring in a combined $40,221 a year, which is far below the state average.
No wonder homes are cheap; you can get one yourself for only $165,300.
Some of the criminals in Milford need a time out. This city boasts the state’s 4th highest crime rate, where you have a 1 in 16.5 chance of being robbed every year. Plus, this small city saw a murder not too long ago.
Everything else in Milford is actually right about average. So 10,645 people in Delaware live in an average place where people get robbed a lot. Lovely.
The same problems that plague other cities on the list also affect Millsboro. The only real difference is Millsboro is a tiny bit safer, and the schools are rated a lot higher in terms of resources for students.
However, the unemployment rate in Millsboro is at 4.0%, which is the 25th worst in Delaware. And households earn a combined $43,750 a year, which is far below the state average. An average home in Millsboro is merely $208,000.
Millsboro is across the Tangier Sound on Route 50.
Claymont, DE needs a big hug right now. The unemployment rate here is 9.2%, the median income is just above the poverty line, and the crime is the 13th highest in the state. You have a 1 in 20.1 chance of being robbed here every year.
You could find a much better place to call home.
Rank Last Year: 17 (Up 8)
Median Home Value: $189,400 (11th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 8.8% (7th worst)
More on Kent Acres: Data
Most of the rest of the cities on this list deserve to be on here due to their high crime numbers. Kent Acres is the 4th most dangerous city in Delaware, according to the FBI. Residents had a 1 in 16.5 chance of being the victim of a property crime. That’s really high for Delaware, but not even the highest in the state.
Home values are the 11th cheapest in the state, and income levels are almost as low as you can get. Households in Kent Acres bring in just under $59,728 a year annually.
If you’re looking to live in Delaware, Long Neck might not be the best choice as it places 10th in our ranking of the worst places to live for 2019.
The unemployment rate here is 3.9%, and households bring in a combined $47,420 a year in income. That’s not too far from the poverty line, even though money goes a lot further in the boonies of Delaware.
Crime is the 1st highest in the state in Long Neck as well. Just not a very desirable place at all to make home.
How we determined the worst places to live in Delaware for 2019
To figure out how bad a place is to live in, we only needed to know what kinds of things people like and then decide what cities have the least amount of those things.
We don’t think it’s a stretch to assume that people like the following things:
- Good education
- Lots of jobs
- Low crime
- Low poverty
- Nice homes
- High incomes
- High population density (Lots of things to do)
- Short work commutes
- Health insurance
We broke crime down into violent crime and property crime to give violent crime a larger weight — if you did a simple calculation of all crimes per capita, property crimes are normally 7x more common and really bias that ranking.
Furthermore, only cities with at least 2,000 people were considered — leaving 34 cities.
We then ranked each city from 1 to 34 for all the criteria with a #1 ranking being the worst for the particular criteria.
Next, we averaged the rankings into one “Worst Place To Live Score”.
Finally, we ranked every city on the “Worst Place To Live Score” with the lowest score being the worst city in Delaware — Laurel. Read on for a detailed look at the 10 worst cities in Delaware.
This list is a scientific analysis based on real data and is completely unbiased.
Wrapping Up The Worst In Delaware
If you’re looking at areas in Delaware with the worst economic situations, where there’s higher than average crime, and not a lot to do, this is an accurate list.
And in the end, Laurel ranks as the worst city to live in Delaware for 2019.
If you’re curious enough, here are the best cities to live in Delaware:
- North Star (Pop. 7,390)
- Newark (Pop. 33,243)
- Lewes (Pop. 2,961)
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