The 10 Worst Places To Live In Delaware


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 2020. This is our sixth time ranking the worst places to live in Delaware.

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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:

The 10 Worst Places To Live In Delaware For 2020

  1. Laurel
  2. Seaford
  3. Kent Acres
  4. Bear
  5. Rising Sun-Lebanon
  6. Milford
  7. Claymont
  8. Long Neck
  9. Selbyville
  10. Wilmington

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.

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 2020

Laurel, DE

Source: Wikipedia
Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 4,211
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $145,500 (2nd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 5.8% (14th worst)
More on Laurel:  Data | Photos

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.

Seaford, DE

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 7,572
Rank Last Year: 3 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $160,500 (4th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 5.6% (15th worst)
More on Seaford:  Data | Photos

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.

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 2,429
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.

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 21,362
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).

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 4,263
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.

Milford, DE

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 10,835
Rank Last Year: 7 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $184,600 (10th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 4.0% (24th worst)
More on Milford:  Data | Photos

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.

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 8,676
Rank Last Year: 9 (Up 2)
Median Home Value: $209,200 (16th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 8.8% (4th worst)
More on Claymont:  Data | Photos

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.

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 2,556
Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 4)
Median Home Value: $73,800 (1st worst)
Unemployment Rate: 3.7% (26th worst)
More on Long Neck:  Data | Photos

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, DE

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 2,252
Rank Last Year: 11 (Up 2)
Median Home Value: $267,800 (23rd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 1.1% (33rd worst)
More on Selbyville:  Data | Photos

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.

Wilmington, DE

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 70,904
Rank Last Year: 12 (Up 2)
Median Home Value: $169,400 (6th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 8.4% (5th worst)
More on Wilmington:  Data | Photos

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

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 -- 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:

  1. Milton (Pop. 2,840)
  2. Newark (Pop. 33,352)
  3. Lewes (Pop. 3,118)

For more Delaware reading, check out:

Where Are The Worst Places To Live In Delaware?

Rank City Population Unemployment Rate Home Value
1 Laurel 4,211 5.8% $145,500
2 Seaford 7,572 5.6% $160,500
3 Kent Acres 2,429 7.4% $210,900
4 Bear 21,362 9.0% $208,600
5 Rising Sun-Lebanon 4,263 5.5% $276,500
6 Milford 10,835 4.0% $184,600
7 Claymont 8,676 8.8% $209,200
8 Long Neck 2,556 3.7% $73,800
9 Selbyville 2,252 1.1% $267,800
10 Wilmington 70,904 8.4% $169,400

How Is The Area In ?

19 thoughts on “The 10 Worst Places To Live In Delaware

  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

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