The 10 Worst Places To Live In Delaware For 2021

We used science and data to determine which Delaware cities are the real pits.

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Editor’s Note: This article is an opinion based on facts and is meant as infotainment. Don’t freak out we updated this article for 2021. This is our seventh time ranking the worst places to live in Delaware.

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 2,300 people), we came up with this list as the 10 worst places to live in the state of Delaware:

The 10 Worst Places To Live In Delaware For 2021

  1. Seaford
  2. Laurel
  3. Kent Acres
  4. Milford
  5. Bear
  6. Millsboro
  7. Rising Sun-Lebanon
  8. Dover
  9. Edgemoor
  10. Claymont

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 Seaford.

Read on below to see how we crunched the numbers and see how your city fared in 2021.

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 2021

Seaford, DE

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 7,715
Rank Last Year: 2 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $170,300 (4th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 7.7% (5th worst)
More on Seaford:  Data | Photos

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 7.7%. 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.

Laurel, DE

Source: Wikipedia
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 4,179
Rank Last Year: 1 (Down 1)
Median Home Value: $157,000 (2nd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 2.7% (30th worst)
More on Laurel:  Data | Photos

If you live in Laurel, this might not be a surprise, but you have the 3rd highest crime rate, per capita in the state of Delaware. Every year you spend here, you have a 1 in 18.6 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 62 violent crimes in the last FBI reporting year. That means if you spent a year there, you'd have a 1 in 67 chance of being raped or attacked.

Finally, the folks who live here earn the lowest salaries in Delaware. At $37,857 a household, that's simply not enough to get by for these Slower Lowers.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 2,519
Rank Last Year: 4 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $212,800 (17th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 5.6% (13th worst)
More on Kent Acres:  Data

Kent Acres sits just south of Dover, about 10 minutes from the center of the state's capital. This location provides the 2,519 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 3 worst spot to put down roots in Delaware.

It's not like the economy of the area is hopeless. The unemployment rate sits at 5.6% and the median income comes in at $44,750. However, many locals can't make ends meet. The poverty rate stands at 21.7% and housing is fairly expensive, with a median home value of $212,800.

Milford, DE

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 11,111
Rank Last Year: 5 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $190,900 (10th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 4.4% (18th worst)
More on Milford:  Data | Photos

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 4.4% and the median income comes in at a respectable $47,824.

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 11,111 residents have trouble making ends meet. The poverty rate stands at 14.1%.

Bear, DE

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 20,850
Rank Last Year: 3 (Down 2)
Median Home Value: $209,700 (16th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 9.3% (2nd worst)
More on Bear:  Data

Bear has kind of a sink-or-swim economy. On the one hand, the unemployment rate sits at an elevated level of 9.3%. Meanwhile, the people with jobs fair rather well, with a local median income of $72,192.

This mixed financial situation leaves Bear as the number 5 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 $209,700.

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.

Millsboro, DE

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 4,342
Rank Last Year: 11 (Up 5)
Median Home Value: $215,200 (18th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 4.3% (20th worst)
More on Millsboro:  Data | Photos

Built on the Indian River in the southern part of the state, Millsboro has a lot going for it. Plenty of waterfront property. A healthy economy. Good access to education and to amenities. The problem? Well, the 4,342 residents of Millsboro have to deal with a high crime and a bloated cost of living.

Millsboro's crime rate hovers about 120% above the national average. Meanwhile, housing is out of reach for many folks in the area. The median home value sits at $215,200...this in a community with a median income of $49,737 and a poverty rate of 22.4%.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 4,065
Rank Last Year: 6 (Down 1)
Median Home Value: $293,300 (27th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 5.8% (10th worst)
More on Rising Sun-Lebanon:  Data

You've got to hand it to the founders of Rising Sun-Lebanon: they know how to give a town an interesting name. Unfortunately for the 4,065 current residents of this suburb of Dover, a great name doesn't save it from becoming the number 7 least appealing spot in Delaware.

The main challenge in town comes from affordability. Even with a median income of $72,273, locals have trouble affording the $293,300 median home prices.

Otherwise, Rising Sun-Lebanon has many advantages. Its location near the state capital gives the economy a boost. Meanwhile, education and the local amenities are strong.

Dover, DE

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 37,523
Rank Last Year: 19 (Up 11)
Median Home Value: $175,300 (7th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 6.2% (9th worst)
More on Dover:  Data | Photos

Dover has a 6.2% unemployment rate (9th in DE), below average income levels and the 6th 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."

Edgemoor, DE

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 6,934
Rank Last Year: 12 (Up 3)
Median Home Value: $184,700 (9th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 13.5% (worst)
More on Edgemoor:  Data

Edgemoor is located along the Delaware River, just outside of Wilmington, about 40 minutes outside of downtown Philadelphia. In a lot of ways, this puts Edgemoor in a prime location. That hasn't done the town's 6,934 residents much good, though. It still stands as the number 9 worst hometown in the state.

The community suffers from a sluggish economy, with unemplyoment running at 13.5% and 28.6% of the population struggling below the poverty line. At the same time, commuters from the nearby big cities have driven up property values, making it hard to afford a home in the area. The median home value sits at $184,700.

Besides the nearby cities, there is plenty to do in Edgemoor. For instance, you can take a walk by the river in Fox Point State Park.

Claymont, DE

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 9,330
Rank Last Year: 7 (Down 3)
Median Home Value: $208,400 (14th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 7.2% (6th worst)
More on Claymont:  Data | Photos

Claymont sits along I-95, between Wilmington and Philadelphia. It also overlooks the Delaware River, across the water from New Jersey. A murky job market and a high cost of living make this one of the most difficult places to put down roots in all of Delaware.

The local economy isn't terrible, but it isn't exactly thriving either. The unemployment rate stands at 7.2%, while the poverty rate hovers at 13.3%. This comes with an expensive lifestyle. The overall cost of living tops the national average by about 10%, with the median home price coming in at $208,400.

There are benefits to life in Claymont. The 9,330 residents have access to good education and many amenities. They can also enjoy the area's historical significance, with such landmarks as the Darley House.

How we determined the worst places to live in Delaware for 2021

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

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

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 -- Seaford. 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, Seaford ranks as the worst city to live in Delaware for 2021.

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

  1. Milton (Pop. 2,893)
  2. Greenville (Pop. 2,467)
  3. Newark (Pop. 33,448)

For more Delaware reading, check out:

Where Are The Worst Places To Live In Delaware?

Rank City Population Unemployment Rate Home Value
1 Seaford 7,715 7.7% $170,300
2 Laurel 4,179 2.7% $157,000
3 Kent Acres 2,519 5.6% $212,800
4 Milford 11,111 4.4% $190,900
5 Bear 20,850 9.3% $209,700
6 Millsboro 4,342 4.3% $215,200
7 Rising Sun-Lebanon 4,065 5.8% $293,300
8 Dover 37,523 6.2% $175,300
9 Edgemoor 6,934 13.5% $184,700
10 Claymont 9,330 7.2% $208,400

How Is The Area In ?

20 thoughts on “The 10 Worst Places To Live In Delaware For 2021

  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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