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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.
Seaford is also a pretty crummy place to live, when you look at the numbers. Yes, we're aware that it's beautiful and "fun". But that ignores important things like jobs and income.
Seaford residents earn the 4th-lowest salaries in the state. At $46,387 a year, people here most likely have a hard time getting ahead in life. And the average home costs are $160,500, which means there isn't a lot of demand.
Crime is the 15th highest in Delaware per capita, and the unemployment rate here is 15th highest in the state, at 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
Kent Acres's main issue is crime. It's the 18th most dangerous place in the state of Delaware. Is that a surprise?
If you live in Kent Acres, you have a 1 in 19.2 chance that you'll be the victim of a property crime. That's really high, especially for a city of its size. That's a lot of stolen lawn mowers, cell phones and cameras. Perhaps it's because the folks here live in far nicer homes than some of the other cities to top this list. They're targets.
The unemployment rate is higher than the state average at 7.4%.
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 the worst places you could live in Delaware, Bear came in 4th. Let's see why.
The city has very bad crime (8th worst) and an employment rate that's nearly the highest for cities of its size 9.0%. On the bright side, K-12 student spending is highest here than in the entire state.
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
Rising Sun-Lebanon doesn't have it much better, in terms of overall economic outlook. The unemployment rate is at 5.5%, and people average less than $63,306 a year in combined household incomes. Homes stand at $276,500, which is very low, and crime in the worst 10% in Delaware.
And again, in terms of the overall 'enjoyment' factor, it's not easy to find fun on a Friday night.
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.
Things are starting to get progressively more 'modern' and in line with what you expect in a great state such as Delaware when we get to Claymont. Sure, the unemployment rate is at 8.8% (which is really high), and the median income is $56,366. But the homes are at least above the $100,000 mark, and the schools aren't a complete mess.
Most of the rest of the cities on this list deserve to be on here due to their high crime numbers. Long Neck is the most dangerous city in Delaware, according to the FBI. Residents had a 1 in 8.8 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 cheapest in the state, and income levels are almost as low as you can get. Households in Long Neck bring in just under $60,313 a year annually.
Selbyville has some of the same issues that the cities above have. The crime is statistically the 27th-highest in the state of Delaware. And residents earn far less than it takes to live a normal life. The unemployment rank is also higher than almost every other city in the state at 1.1%.
Additionally, 9.1% of the population lives below the poverty line.
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:
Where Are The Worst Places To Live In Delaware?