The 10 Worst Places To Live In Delaware For 2024

The worst places to live in Delaware are Laurel and Long Neck for 2024 based on Friday Night Science.

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 39 of the state’s most populous cities (over 2,000 people), we came up with this list as the 10 worst places to live in the state of Delaware:

Table Of Contents: Top Ten | Methodology | Summary | Table

The 10 Worst Places To Live In Delaware For 2024

  1. Laurel
  2. Long Neck
  3. Seaford
  4. Milford
  5. Woodside East
  6. Dover
  7. Bear
  8. Delmar
  9. Kent Acres
  10. Brookside

Worst Places To Live In Delaware Map

Where are these places, you wonder? And before you get all riled up and say we’re picking on small towns in Delaware, that’s not the case.

We understand there’s a lot of good in every place. For example, the best place to live in Delaware is New Castle.

However, according to data (which doesn’t measure things like beauty and ‘friendly people’), the state has far better options for making a place home. And the worst place to live in Delaware? The worst place to live in Delaware is Laurel.

Read below to see how we crunched the numbers and how your city fared in 2024.

If you’re looking for something more national, check out the worst cities in America or the worst states in America.

For more Delaware reading, check out:

The 10 Worst Places To Live In Delaware For 2024

Laurel, DE

Source: Wikipedia User Bwave at English Wikipedia | GFDL
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 3,954
Average Home Price: $279,527
Median Income: $42,710
Unemployment Rate: 13.9%
Crime Per Capita: 0.0582
More on Laurel: Data | Crime | Real Estate

If you live in Laurel, this might not be a surprise, but you have the 11th highest crime rate, per capita in the state of Delaware. Every year you spend here, you have a 1 in 24.6 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 69 violent crimes in the last FBI reporting year. That means if you spent a year there, you’d have a 1 in 57 chance of being raped or attacked.

Finally, the folks who live here earn the lowest salaries in Delaware. At $42,710 a household, that’s simply not enough to get by for these Slower Lowers.

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Population: 2,983
Average Home Price: $145,808
Median Income: $59,563
Unemployment Rate: 7.5%
Crime Per Capita: 0.1365
More on Long Neck: Data | Real Estate

Long Neck, a census-designated place in Sussex County, Delaware, has unfortunately earned the title of being the worst place to live in the state. While it may have once been a quiet area known for its mobile home communities and summer vacation properties, it has seen unprecedented growth in permanent residents in recent years. However, this growth has come with its fair share of challenges. Long Neck’s crime rate is a major concern, making it one of the most dangerous places to live in Delaware. With high rates of property crime and violent crime per capita, safety becomes a primary concern for residents.

In addition to safety concerns, Long Neck also struggles with other socio-economic issues. The poverty level ranks high, indicating a significant portion of the population is struggling financially. The median income is below the state average, further exacerbating the economic challenges faced by residents. These factors contribute to a poor quality of life for many individuals in the area.

Despite these challenges, there is hope for improvement. With dedicated efforts and resources, Long Neck has the potential to address its crime rates and uplift its community members. By focusing on enhancing safety measures and implementing initiatives that support economic growth and opportunity, Long Neck can work towards becoming a better place to live for its residents.

Seaford, DE

Source: Wikipedia User Levelhead at English Wikipedia | GFDL
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 8,055
Average Home Price: $284,380
Median Income: $49,469
Unemployment Rate: 11.5%
Crime Per Capita: 0.0764
More on Seaford: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

No, Seaford isn’t near the sea. It’s actually in the southwest section of Delaware, built along the Nanticoke River, a tributary of the Chesapeake Bay. (The town is named after Seaford, England, which, to be fair, does sit along the coast.)

More than just a confusing name, Seaford has other, more substantial, problems. It’s unemployment rate runs an elevated 11.5%. At the same time, crime happens at 175% greater frequency than in the country as a whole.

There are benefits to life in Seaford. Still want a catch a glimpse of water? You can stroll along the river as part of the Nanticoke River Walk.

Milford, DE

Source: Wikipedia User Tim Kiser (w:User:Malepheasant) | CC BY-SA 2.5
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Population: 11,714
Average Home Price: $325,839
Median Income: $53,472
Unemployment Rate: 6.1%
Crime Per Capita: 0.0486
More on Milford: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

Milford is built along the Mispillion River in the central part of the state. A 15-minute drive will take you to Slaughter Beach and fun in the sun along the coast. Also, unlike many towns on this list, the economy of Milford is actually pretty good. The unemployment rate sits at a healthy 6.1% and the median income comes in at a respectable $53,472.

So why is Milford one of the worst spots in Delaware? Short answer: crime and living expenses. The crime rate in the area tracks 130% above the U.S. norm. At the same time, many of Milford’s 11,714 residents have trouble making ends meet. The poverty rate stands at 16.0%.

5. Woodside East

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 2,002
Average Home Price: $0
Median Income: $53,517
Unemployment Rate: 22.3%
Crime Per Capita: 0.0669
More on Woodside East: Real Estate

Dover, DE

Source: Wikipedia User Tim Kiser (w:User:Malepheasant) | CC BY-SA 2.5
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Population: 38,879
Average Home Price: $307,836
Median Income: $54,438
Unemployment Rate: 8.7%
Crime Per Capita: 0.0529
More on Dover: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

Dover has a 8.7% unemployment rate (4th in DE), below average income levels and the 12th highest crime rate in the state.

This random City-Data comment sums up Dover.

“I visited Dover over the weekend (July 4th) and I have to say the place just seemed completely depressing.

“I saw lots people around Dover who looked…well bad. Like former alcoholics and drug addicts.

“And what’s with the poorish looking area, where there were a lot of people in run down homes? And the huge ugly Dover Race Track.

“Just looked sad.”

Bear, DE

Source: Wikipedia User JERRYE & ROY KLOTZ, M.D. | CC BY-SA 4.0
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Population: 23,070
Average Home Price: $391,987
Median Income: $83,852
Unemployment Rate: 7.7%
Crime Per Capita: 0.0455
More on Bear: Data | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

Bear has kind of a sink-or-swim economy. On the one hand, the unemployment rate sits at an elevated level of 7.7%. Meanwhile, the people with jobs fair rather well, with a local median income of $83,852.

This mixed financial situation leaves Bear as the number 7 hardest place to live in Delaware. Part of this comes from the high cost of living, which sits 10% above the national average. The median home value comes in at $391,987.

Housing is in demand in Bear because it acts as suburb to nearby Wilmington and, to a lesser extent, to Philadelphia, located a 45-minute drive to the northeast.

8. Delmar

Delmar, DE

Source: Flickr User Ken Lund | CC BY-SA 2.0
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 2,398
Average Home Price: $303,261
Median Income: $55,625
Unemployment Rate: 5.2%
Crime Per Capita: 0.0225
More on Delmar: Real Estate

9. Kent Acres

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 2,124
Average Home Price: $306,484
Median Income: $68,162
Unemployment Rate: 6.8%
Crime Per Capita: 0.0669
More on Kent Acres: Real Estate

Kent Acres sits just south of Dover, about 10 minutes from the center of the state’s capital. This location provides the 2,124 residents of the town great access to amenities and a pleasant commute. Unfortunately, this comes with a downside. A lackluster economy and high cost of living make Kent Acres the number 9 worst spot to put down roots in Delaware.

It’s not like the economy of the area is hopeless. The unemployment rate sits at 6.8% and the median income comes in at $68,162. However, many locals can’t make ends meet. The poverty rate stands at 15.8% and housing is fairly expensive, with a median home value of $306,484.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 14,331
Average Home Price: $296,877
Median Income: $66,485
Unemployment Rate: 4.5%
Crime Per Capita: 0.0455
More on Brookside: Data | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

Brookside, located in New Castle County, Delaware, is unfortunately known as one of the worst places to live in the state. While this community offers some positive aspects, such as its close proximity to amenities and affordable real estate options, it struggles with high crime rates that make it a dangerous place to reside.

One of the main concerns in Brookside is the crime statistics. While specific figures for violent and property crimes are not available, the overall crime rate is worryingly high. This poses significant safety risks for residents and contributes to a feeling of insecurity within the community. However, it is important to note that with concerted efforts and community involvement, these issues can be addressed, and the situation can improve over time.

Despite its challenges, Brookside has the potential to grow and develop into a safer and more prosperous area. By addressing crime rates and fostering a sense of community unity, residents can work together to create a better future. With its central location within Delaware, Brookside has the opportunity to attract investment and resources that could contribute to its revitalization.

Methodology: How we determined the worst places to live in Delaware for 2024

To figure out the worst places to live in Delaware, we used Saturday Night Science to idenift 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

The data comes from the Census’s most recent American Community Survey and the FBI Uniform Crime Report.

We broke crime down into violent crime and property crime to give violent crime a more significant weight. If you did a simple calculation of all crimes per capita, property crimes are typically 7x more common and bias that ranking.

Furthermore, only cities with at least 2,000 people were considered — leaving 39 cities.

We then ranked each city from 1 to 39 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 ten worst cities in Delaware. This article is an opinion based on facts meant as infotainment. We updated this article for 2024. This list is our tenth time ranking the worst places to live in Delaware.

Summary: 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 little to do, this is an accurate list.

And in the end, Laurel ranks as the worst city to live in Delaware for 2024.

The worst cities in Delaware are .

If you’re curious enough, here are the best cities to live in Delaware:

  1. Ocean View (Pop. 2,660)
  2. Newark (Pop. 30,655)
  3. New Castle (Pop. 5,523)

For more Delaware reading, check out:

Worst Places To Live In Delaware

Rank City Population Unemployment Rate Home Price Median Income Crime Per Capita
1 Laurel 3,954 13.9% $279,527 $42,710 0.0582
2 Long Neck 2,983 7.5% $145,808 $59,563 0.1365
3 Seaford 8,055 11.5% $284,380 $49,469 0.0764
4 Milford 11,714 6.1% $325,839 $53,472 0.0486
5 Woodside East 2,002 22.3% $0 $53,517 0.0669
6 Dover 38,879 8.7% $307,836 $54,438 0.0529
7 Bear 23,070 7.7% $391,987 $83,852 0.0455
8 Delmar 2,398 5.2% $303,261 $55,625 0.0225
9 Kent Acres 2,124 6.8% $306,484 $68,162 0.0669
10 Brookside 14,331 4.5% $296,877 $66,485 0.0455
11 Bridgeville 2,590 7.6% $313,458 $61,523 0.0236
12 Harrington 3,770 5.0% $243,428 $63,814 0.0279
13 Wilmington 71,034 8.6% $294,430 $54,731 0.0455
14 Wilmington Manor 8,260 3.9% $243,055 $72,432 0.0455
15 Millville 2,052 2.3% $526,843 $92,961 0.1365
16 Camden 3,914 3.5% $362,602 $60,549 0.0669
17 Smyrna 12,870 6.1% $381,842 $68,260 0.0277
18 Millsboro 6,876 3.6% $370,896 $64,622 0.0303
19 Selbyville 2,907 3.4% $555,892 $93,971 0.0227
20 Glasgow 15,405 6.4% $391,432 $104,692 0.0455
21 Claymont 10,191 3.9% $285,144 $72,840 0.0455
22 Edgemoor 6,485 5.6% $351,188 $70,672 0.0455
23 Rising Sun-Lebanon 4,060 1.3% $500,177 $78,205 0.0669
24 Riverview 2,270 1.8% $319,873 $87,708 0.0669
25 Elsmere 6,194 5.2% $211,158 $70,773 0.0168
26 Pike Creek 6,975 3.5% $486,966 $129,614 0.0455
27 Townsend 2,728 2.5% $451,746 $147,917 0.0455
28 Greenville 2,824 3.5% $1,145,551 $133,614 0.0455
29 Milton 3,349 7.4% $451,950 $67,763 0.0060
30 Clayton 3,978 2.3% $369,829 $98,367 0.0083
31 Dover Base Housing 3,262 4.2% $0 $67,174 0.0669
32 Hockessin 13,878 4.6% $554,626 $164,848 0.0455
33 Lewes 3,339 1.0% $574,392 $87,458 0.0138
34 North Star 8,370 3.7% $621,521 $165,179 0.0455
35 Highland Acres 3,892 3.0% $345,928 $104,762 0.0669
36 Pike Creek Valley 11,452 4.1% $344,705 $86,953 0.0455
37 Ocean View 2,660 1.5% $522,372 $88,004 0.0071
38 Newark 30,655 7.0% $333,102 $67,738 0.0242
39 New Castle 5,523 1.3% $256,759 $95,884 0.0402
About Nick Johnson

Nick Johnson earned his masters in Business Administration from the Drucker School At Claremont Graduate University. He has written for 39 publications across the country and ran the media relations department at Movoto, a real estate portal based in San Francisco. He has been featured in over 500 publications as an expert in real estate and as an authority on real estate trends.

Nick's the creator of the HomeSnacks YouTube channel that now has over 260,000 subscribers and is an excellent source to learn about different parts of the country.

20 thoughts on “The 10 Worst Places To Live In Delaware For 2024

  1. by the way Rhode Island is the smallest state in the country. Delaware is the second smallest. Research and verify!

  2. Nobody wants to be from Philly trust that, people in delaware have their own style, their own culture and their own history this so called article is a joke and you should do better research next time before you judge a place you know nothing about.
    Thank you and try again

  3. Dagsboro better than Bethany Beach? A hoot. Delaware City with the beach towns…Ouch! That must be why all the tourists go to Delaware City to vacation? the beautiful city………………

  4. @Janaia
    “…people in delaware have their own style, their own culture…”

    Style and culture are the LAST things that come to mind in Delaware.
    It’s so ugly – row upon row of pressboard palaces with beige plastic siding – houses that are completely made of plastic.
    Plus it’s one of those places where the most prominent geographic feature is the horizon. The whole state sucks.

  5. I totally understand that in each and EVERY state there’s good and bad areas/cities/neighborhoods to live in. But my one issue with this article is that if you’re going to write it have correct information. Delaware is NOT the smallest state in the Union…….that belongs to Rhode Island. They’re the smallest and we’re the SECOND smallest. And YES…….I’m a native Delawarean.

    1. Before you leave a comment, maybe you should actually read the article. It clearly states ” The 2nd smallest state”. If you missed that or read it incorrectly, what else did you miss or read incorrectly?

  6. All of you criticizing their research on which state is the smallest, go back and read the first three sentences. “Delaware. The first state. The 2nd smallest state.”

    Also, the article starts out clearly stating: “We used science and data to determine which Delaware cities are the real pits.” and “This article is an opinion based on facts and is meant as infotainment. Don’t freak out.”

    I live in Delaware and am proud to do so.

  7. I’m very interested in the picture the author used for Wilmington. I grew up there and never have I seen an area like that; it looks more like an area you’d see in one of the two southern counties (Sussex and Essex).

    While I do agree that Wilmington should be on this list, there are areas in Wilmington that are quite nice; unfortunately those areas are close to the undesirable areas. It sucks because Delaware really is a good place to live with a lot to do and close to a lot of things to do; all within at least 2 hours drive (Ocean City, MD….Central Philadelphia…..Baltimore Harbor….Atlantic City….a nice handful of beaches…there’s an international airport close-by….and tax-free shopping).

  8. I’m a single man and reside in Milford, DE. I’m a transplant from New Jersey. If you are single, from out of town and looking for a mate in this area, good luck! Local boys and girls. They probably have known each other since kindergarten to adulthood. The men from here are quite beefy, and the girls are drop-dead beautiful! I have to say that the locals (Camden area) are very lovely and polite, but if you are seeking romance, chances are you will be disappointed.

  9. I’ve lived in wilmington delaware my entire life… Its so bad… I’m 25 years old, white, graduated from St Marks HS and I’m currently trying to figure out what i want to do at Del Tech College… I am trying so hard to make something with my life so i can make it out of here… 99% of the ppl i went to school with are addicted to heroin… i can’t find any friends bcuz there are no trust worthy/ nice people… I’m in my house right now, and I am coughing and wheezing bcuz the air is so bad here… i look up, and i see stains on my ceiling from mice pissing in my attic… i feel like i am trash just bcuz i am from in f and it is ruining my confidence… i know God has bigger plans for me, i just hope i make it out be4 its too late… plz pray 4 me

  10. Bridgeville Delaware has to be the worst place in Delaware to live a lot of crime and drugs I was moving out going back and forth from new place to old found next door neighbor in my house stealing my stuff. Called the bridgeville police they did nothing just stood around looking at broken in door and left. the town is corrupt the people are animal abusers . Nasty people !

  11. Claymont Delaware is the worst place to grow up! I am from delco (Delaware county), and there is absolutely NOTHING for kids to do here. In delco, kids are out riding their bikes and hanging out around town. In claymont, I NEVER see kids outside. Period. There is simply nowhere to go to, and nothing to do. On one side is crappy wilmington, the other side is a refinery and methed out Marcus Hook, and the other side is the Delaware river. the problem with Delaware is bussing and consolidation of school districts. They make 3 districts 1 mega district. Therfor, all the kids live far from class mates, or they buss in the trash from wilmington. Sure Delaware taxes are crazy cheap, but I’d rather pay the 5-6k a year taxes in delaware county so my kids wouldnt have to go with all the trash and have a neighborhood where its safe for them to go be a kid in.

  12. We retired to Laurel and love it. Big victorian house on a lake, nice people and major cities and beaches an easy drive. Low taxes and no sales tax. People are taking steps to improve the town. We aren’t.affected by the schools and we feel safe. Have beautiful woods and state park, historic buildings. No place is perfect but dont judge only by numbers.

  13. My husband and I have been in Lewes, Delaware for a year. I came to visit, thought I found a great job. The business owner physically assaulted me, I phoned the police, no arrest was made. And co-workers wouldn’t say a word. Owner pays office employees a high wage so they tolerate his behavior because the rest of Lewes and surrounding area pays a wage barely above minimum wage, $8.75 I believe. My second office job had no bathroom facilities or even a sink to wash hands and thought it was perfectly acceptable to walk 60 feet to use nearby business facilities. And, no air. I declined to continue after one day and the owner was mad at me when I said it was unacceptable. Sussex county is full of wannabe business owners who frankly don’t know how to run a busineas or treat their employees. The only successful companies seem to be managed by transplants. Business owners complain they can’t keep people, geez I wonder why. I almost forgot, the local temporary employment office brags about their female operated buisiness etc. I went on an assignment in the sticks and called the agency to tell them it wasn’t a good fit and they basically yelled at me and told me to call the client. And deffinately don’t rent from Lewes Realty. We did and it has been a nightmare. The carpet was so filthy I wouldn’t let a dog sleep on it and they told me “so”. Thankfully the owner agreed to replace, but that took over a month between order and installation and no offer to lower our rent for that month while we couldn’t unpack etc. The only time the intelligence rises is tourist season. The locals smile to your face but they are prejudice and their lack of education is scary. We will be leaving as soon as our lease is up. What a mistake!

  14. Bear is too freaking big now for it not to be considered an actual independent city. At the rate it’s growing, it’ll pass 30,000 residents really soon. They are constantly building new housing developments there, and shopping plazas. Only Wilmington, Dover and Newark are larger than it.

  15. Where at in laurel? I use to live there years ago don’t remember houses by lakes it was a fairly small place I was a kid when I lived there. Just curious

  16. Delaware has some beautiful things about it such as the state parks, natural areas, no sales tax, lower property tax, and history, but much of it is boring and not safe. Many people I knew who grew up in Delaware did not like it and could not wait to move somewhere else. Many of the people here are not kind or educated. When you visit the surrounding states, you get a totally different vibe from the people and experience different cultures.

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