The 10 Worst Places To Live In Delaware For 2023

The worst places to live in Delaware are Long Neck and Seaford for 2023 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 35 of the state’s most populous cities (over 2,100 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 2023

  1. Long Neck
  2. Seaford
  3. Laurel
  4. Bear
  5. Milford
  6. Dover
  7. Claymont
  8. Brookside
  9. Wilmington Manor
  10. Selbyville

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 Ocean View.

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 Long Neck.

Read below to see how we crunched the numbers and how your city fared in 2023.

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:

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

The 10 Worst Places To Live In Delaware For 2023

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 3,022
Rank Last Year: 2 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $94,000
Unemployment Rate: 8.0%
More on Long Neck:  Data | Photos

Seaford, DE

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 7,852
Rank Last Year: 1 (Down 1)
Median Home Value: $175,100
Unemployment Rate: 8.8%
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 8.8%. 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: 3,886
Rank Last Year: 3 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $150,100
Unemployment Rate: 2.5%
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 25.7 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 60 violent crimes in the last FBI reporting year. That means if you spent a year there, you’d have a 1 in 64 chance of being raped or attacked.

Finally, the folks who live here earn the lowest salaries in Delaware. At $34,615 a household, that’s simply not enough to get by for these Slower Lowers.

Bear, DE

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 21,625
Rank Last Year: 5 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $238,200
Unemployment Rate: 7.8%
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 7.8%. Meanwhile, the people with jobs fair rather well, with a local median income of $79,981.

This mixed financial situation leaves Bear as the number 4 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 $238,200.

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.

Milford, DE

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 11,249
Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 1)
Median Home Value: $220,200
Unemployment Rate: 6.0%
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 6.0% and the median income comes in at a respectable $47,849.

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 11,249 residents have trouble making ends meet. The poverty rate stands at 17.7%.

Dover, DE

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 38,940
Rank Last Year: 6 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $197,600
Unemployment Rate: 6.7%
More on Dover:  Data | Photos

Dover has a 6.7% unemployment rate (9th in DE), below average income levels and the 2highest 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.”

Claymont, DE

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 9,508
Rank Last Year: 7 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $219,100
Unemployment Rate: 5.2%
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 5.2%, 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 $219,100.

There are benefits to life in Claymont. The 9,508 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.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 14,202
Rank Last Year: 13 (Up 5)
Median Home Value: $219,600
Unemployment Rate: 4.9%
More on Brookside:  Data

Wilmington Manor, DE

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 8,212
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $173,700
Unemployment Rate: 5.5%
More on Wilmington Manor:  Data | Photos

Selbyville, DE

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 2,806
Rank Last Year: 15 (Up 5)
Median Home Value: $335,400
Unemployment Rate: 2.3%
More on Selbyville:  Data | Photos

Methodology: How we determined the worst places to live in Delaware for 2023

To figure out the worst places to live in Delaware, 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 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 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 — Long Neck. Read on for a detailed look at the ten worst cities in Delaware.

Editor’s Note: This article is an opinion based on facts meant as infotainment. We updated this article for 2023. This 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, Long Neck ranks as the worst city to live in Delaware for 2023.

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

  1. Newark (Pop. 31,393)
  2. New Castle (Pop. 5,482)
  3. Ocean View (Pop. 2,556)

For more Delaware reading, check out:

Worst Places To Live In Delaware?

Rank City Population Unemployment Rate Home Value
1 Long Neck 3,022 8.0% $94,000
2 Seaford 7,852 8.8% $175,100
3 Laurel 3,886 2.5% $150,100
4 Bear 21,625 7.8% $238,200
5 Milford 11,249 6.0% $220,200
6 Dover 38,940 6.7% $197,600
7 Claymont 9,508 5.2% $219,100
8 Brookside 14,202 4.9% $219,600
9 Wilmington Manor 8,212 5.5% $173,700
10 Selbyville 2,806 2.3% $335,400
11 Wilmington 70,926 8.6% $173,800
12 Edgemoor 6,681 10.3% $251,600
13 Glasgow 15,342 8.3% $280,800
14 Smyrna 12,619 4.9% $225,900
15 Delmar 2,241 3.5% $186,600
16 Harrington 3,730 3.2% $191,900
17 Elsmere 6,167 6.4% $183,700
18 Riverview 2,091 2.2% $230,300
19 Camden 3,786 3.3% $233,700
20 Bridgeville 2,499 4.1% $315,600
21 Townsend 2,671 2.1% $342,600
22 Rising Sun-Lebanon 3,772 1.9% $309,000
23 Highland Acres 3,910 5.0% $243,300
24 Pike Creek Valley 11,718 4.8% $261,000
25 Greenville 2,763 2.8% $812,000
26 Pike Creek 7,398 3.7% $342,100
27 Millsboro 6,542 1.5% $234,100
28 Hockessin 13,464 4.5% $460,800
29 Lewes 3,257 1.0% $676,000
30 North Star 8,009 3.8% $457,900
31 Milton 3,224 7.5% $308,200
32 Clayton 3,845 2.5% $259,000
33 Newark 31,393 7.6% $283,900
34 New Castle 5,482 2.2% $219,900
35 Ocean View 2,556 2.0% $394,000

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 2023

  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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