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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 35 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 2020.
For more Delaware reading, check out:
- Best Places To Live In Delaware
- Cheapest Places To Live In Delaware
- Most Dangerous Cities In Delaware
The 10 Worst Places To Live In Delaware For 2020
If you live in Laurel, this might not be a surprise, but you have the 22nd highest crime rate, per capita in the state of Delaware. Every year you spend here, you have a 1 in 23.4 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 43 violent crimes in the last FBI reporting year. That means if you spent a year there, you'd have a 1 in 97 chance of being raped or attacked.
Finally, the folks who live here earn the lowest salaries in Delaware. At $33,362 a household, that's simply not enough to get by for these Slower Lowers.
When you're looking at things from purely a scientific standpoint, Seaford is the 2nd worst place in the state of Delaware.
The U.S. defines the poverty line at $24,600 a year for a family of four. Seaford 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 Seaford are the 4th 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.
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 7)
Median Home Value: $210,900 (17th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 7.4% (6th worst)
More on Kent Acres: Data
Kent Acres places 3rd in our ranking of the worst places to live in Delaware. Here, 17.0% of the adult population lack's even a high school degree. That makes Kent Acres have the 7th highest adult drop out rate in Delaware.
Income levels are also near the poverty line, and home prices are around $210,900 each -- the 17th lowest in Delaware.
As you can imagine, there's not a lot of demand to live here.
Rank Last Year: 5 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $208,600 (15th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 9.0% (2nd worst)
More on Bear: Data
When you're looking at science and data, the city of Bear is the 4th worst place you can live in the state of Delaware. Let's see why.
You may be surprised to hear that the crime here is the 8th-highest in the state per capita, according to the FBI data base.
Residents in Bear had a 1 in 20.2 chance of being robbed in 2019. To put things into perspective, since the average person has 300 friends on Facebook, if everyone you friended lived in Bear, statistically, 25 of them would have been the victim of a property crime, meaning a home robbery, car break in or a stolen wallet.
Bear's other issues are a very high unemployment rate (9.0%) and income levels of its residents ($69,816).
Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 3)
Median Home Value: $276,500 (26th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 5.5% (16th worst)
More on Rising Sun-Lebanon: Data
When you're looking at the worst places you could live in Delaware, Rising Sun-Lebanon came in 5th. Let's see why.
The city has very bad crime (18th worst) and an employment rate that's nearly the highest for cities of its size 5.5%. On the bright side, K-12 student spending is highest here than in the entire state.
Some of the criminals in Milford need a time out. This city boasts the state's 18th highest crime rate, where you have a 1 in 19.2 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 10,835 people in Delaware live in an average place where people get robbed a lot. Lovely.
While the median household income in Claymont is higher than other towns on this list, causing it to be lower down on the list of "worst cities", Claymont still has the 4th worst unemployment rate in the state, as well as the 8th worst crime index.
Therefore, though the average Claymont household brings in a higher income, there are fewer people working here than in other cities across the state. It doesn't help that everyone has to be constantly worried about crime, either.
If you're looking to live in Delaware, Long Neck might not be the best choice as it places 8th in our ranking of the worst places to live in the First State for 2020.
The average family earns $60,313 a year out here, and 3.9% of the population is below the poverty line. Nearly 3.7% of the population is out of work.
And when you consider the crime, it's just crazy to think of how dangerous it is to live way out here. When you're in Long Neck, every year, you have a 1 in 8.8 chance of being robbed. Can you imagine? Perhaps it's an economic factor, or the fact that the people out there are so isolated, but the fact remains, it's the most dangerous place in the state, per capita.
Selbyville takes the 9th worst place spot on this list for a number of reasons -- below average education, income, unemployment, and student expenditure statistics.
But what gives Selbyville its main thrust toward the top of this shameful list is its crime index -- the 27th worst in the whole state.
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 10th worst place to live in the state.
You've got the 8th highest crime rate in Delaware, which saw 1,099 violent crimes last year. You have a 1 in 20.2 chance of being robbed and a 1 in 64 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 5th highest unemployment rate (8.4%), and families bring in a combined $42,854 a year, which is far below the state average.
No wonder homes are cheap; you can get one yourself for only $169,400.
How we determined the worst places to live in Delaware for 2020
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 35 cities.
We then ranked each city from 1 to 35 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. You can download the data here.
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 2020.
If you're curious enough, here are the best cities to live in Delaware:
- Milton (Pop. 2,840)
- Newark (Pop. 33,352)
- Lewes (Pop. 3,118)
For more Delaware reading, check out:
- Best Places To Retire In Delaware
- Richest Cities In Delaware
- Safest Places In Delaware
- Best Cities For Singles In Delaware
Where Are The Worst Places To Live In Delaware?