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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.
Welcome to Seaford, which might be one of the poorest areas in Delaware. Residents average $46,387 a year in combined income, which is right at the poverty line. In fact, 20.4% of Seaford residents live below the poverty level.
Homes here go for an average of $160,500 and the unemployment rate hovers near 5.6%.
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 7)
Median Home Value: $210,900 (17th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 7.4% (6th worst)
More on Kent Acres: Data
When you're looking at science and data, the city of Kent Acres is the 3rd worst place you can live in the state of Delaware. Let's see why.
Residents who live in Kent Acres, located in Kent County, have the 18th most crimes in the state committed against them. Factor in a much-lower income level--per resident--and homes valued around $210,900, and you've got yourself a crummy place to live. In terms of comparing it to the rest of Delaware, that is.
Rank Last Year: 5 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $208,600 (15th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 9.0% (2nd worst)
More on Bear: Data
There are some bad places to live and some really, really bad places to live. According to the data, Bear is one of the worst places you can live in Delaware. And quite possibly, one of the worst places you can live in, period. Let's see why.
We're not economists, but when you have a 9.0% unemployment rate for a city of 21,362 people, that's a sign that things aren't just bad. They are downright depressing.
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
There's probably not many people in Delaware that would be surprised to see Rising Sun-Lebanon on this list. In fact, if Rising Sun-Lebanon wasn't somewhere in the top 10, most people would start to wonder if our data was accurate.
Here are the statistics. Rising Sun-Lebanon has the 18th worst crime rate in Delaware. No surprises there. How dangerous is it though? There were almost 80 violent crimes in Rising Sun-Lebanon in 2020. Residents here had a 1 in 127 chance of being killed, raped or attacked. Just wow.
The home values in Rising Sun-Lebanon are the 26th cheapest in the state ($276,500), the unemployment rate is the 16th highest (5.5%), and the annual household income is 20th lowest in Delaware, at $63,306. That's basically at the poverty level for a family of four.
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.
Most of the rest of the cities on this list deserve to be on here due to their high crime numbers. Claymont is the 8th most dangerous city in Delaware, according to the FBI. Residents had a 1 in 20.2 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 16th cheapest in the state, and income levels are almost as low as you can get. Households in Claymont bring in just under $56,366 a year annually.
Long Neck ranks as the 8th-worst place in Delaware due to a variety of factors, placing in the bottom third for unemployment, median income, and crime.
On top of that, residents have the 5th-worst commute of any place in the state.
The city of Selbyville is the 9th worst place you can live in the state of Delaware in 2020.
It's unlucky for Selbyville, which has the 33rd highest unemployment rate (1.1%), the 16th lowest household incomes ($57,903) and the 23rd lowest home prices in the state ($267,800).
Basically, a lot of people in Selbyville are out of work. And crime is certainly a factor here as well. Although it's not one of the most dangerous places we'll look at, it's in the top 20%.
Add it all up, and this is truly one of the worst places you could live in Delaware.
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?