Is Delaware a Good Place to Live? Pros and Cons of Living in Delaware
Delaware, popularly known as “The First State”, offers several outdoor recreation choices in conjunction with excellent cities to live in. The state is home to a number of wildlife refuges, public parks and lighthouses that draw in locals and visitors. Additionally, Delaware has alluring coastal areas and buzzing suburban neighborhoods. The private schools in Delaware are considered excellent and better than some of the public schools in the area. Furthermore, the state is a different story if one is young, but it’s perfect for those planning to raise a family. Although Delaware isn’t as fast-paced as New Jersey or other nearby areas, it isn’t a slow-paced state by any means.
Is Delaware a good place to live? From Delaware it’s easy to access Philadelphia, New York, Washington DC and Baltimore. The state is an excellent fit for anyone who is seeking a suburban lifestyle. Most Delawareans live in the northern part of the canal where opportunities are in plenty. On the downside, Delaware has limited options for universities.
Whether you are moving to Delaware in search of greener pastures or to start a family, you have come to this page because you have questions.
- What are the best neighborhoods in Delaware?
- How are the schools?
- Is life expensive in Delaware?
- What do locals do for fun?
- What are the pros and cons of living there?
- How is the economy like? Is it safe?
- What is the median home price or rent?
In this article, we aim to inform interested any expat about the state of Delaware. Read on to find out more!
Is Delaware a Good Place to Live?
Delaware has thriving communities of a variety of styles. Some of the hottest neighborhoods in this state are South Rehoboth, Edenridge, Tavistock, Sharpley, Woodbrook, Arden, Fairfax, Bellefonte, Alapocas and Wilmington Riverfront. Such places have high-value homes, high employment rates and plenty of things to do.
Similar to every other state in the county, Delaware also has its least desirable places. Such places include Laurel, Seaford, Bear, Harrington, Wilmington, and Milford according to RoadSnacks. That’s because they have high unemployment rates and low median home values.
When it comes to safety, Neighborhoodscout.com reports that Delaware has a crime rate of 28.94 per 1,000 residents. The safest neighborhoods in the state are Hartly, Frederica, Houston, Townsend, and Hockessin.
As far as schools in Delaware go, the best schools are mostly private such as Tower Hill, Tall Oaks Classical School and Ursuline Academy. Such schools provide excellent education but they also charge an arm and leg. Tuition for some of those private schools is more than what people pay for a year in colleges. Moreover, catholic schools are great and somewhat cheaper.
One of the best schools in the area is the Charter School of Wilmington, which functions as a public school. However, one has to be super-smart to join this institution since just about everybody in New Castle County attempts to get in there.
Any expat looking to advance their education in Delaware can choose from Delaware State University, University of Delaware, Delaware College of Art and Design, Delaware Technical Community College, Goldey-Beacom College, Wesley College, Widener University School of Law and Wilmington University.
According to Livability.com over 31.10% of Delawareans have high school diplomas, 17.80% hold a college degree and 12.20% have completed a postgraduate degree program.
So, how do people get around in Delaware? Delawareans move from point A to B by car, train, bus or plane. The highways in the area are accessible to the Pennsylvania and NJ Turnpike. Additionally, there’s a vehicle ferry linking Cape May, NJ to Lewes, DE.
Airports serving the area are Baltimore Washington International Airport, Philadelphia International Airport and Reagan National Airport. Rail services are offered by Amtrak and SEPTA. The bus lines in this state are Greyhound, DART First State and New Jersey Transit.
When it comes to fun things to do, Delaware’s social life is relatively lively. The state is home to a number of distilleries and breweries, cool art festivals, and delicious food. In addition to that, it offers one-of-a-kind hotels, pristine beaches and classic estates.
Living in Delaware Pros and Cons
- Delaware offers access to many good job opportunities for a variety of careers including business analyst, HVAC technicians, medical workers and electricians.
- The housing costs in the area are reasonably affordable for an average family.
- Delawareans enjoy many tax benefits such as:
· No sales tax.
· Low real estate taxes.
· No social security taxes.
· No inheritance tax.
· School tax credits
· No personal property taxes.
· Retirees above 60 years can exempt $12,500 of their pension from the state taxes.
- Delaware’s centralized location offers easy access to the coast and many of the larger metropolitan areas.
- The state has a diverse collection of excellent public and private educational centers from which to choose.
- It’s an excellent retirement destination because of the high-quality healthcare facilities, a wide range of outdoor activities and financial benefits.
- The beaches in the area are clean and beautiful. Dewey Beach and Rehoboth Beach regularly receive five-star ratings for their cleanliness and easily-accessible amenities.
- Delaware has numerous cultural offerings such as theatres, small art galleries, museums, state parks, and yearly festivals.
- Good dining is available around the beach.
- The nightlife in Delaware is great from March to October.
- In spite of being the second-smallest state in the US in terms of the landmass, Delaware is home to nearly one million residents. That means one has to contend with a high population density.
- While there’s access to high-quality healthcare facilities, Delaware is facing a shortage of doctors. It’s not uncommon for a primary care physician to have their medical practice filled to the brim in less than half a year.
- Although the home prices are reasonable and there’s no sales tax, Delaware’s cost of living is around 10% higher than the national average.
- More people are migrating to this state to enjoy the benefits it has to offer. As a result, home prices and rents have been increasing every year. The increase of 6%-11% can be problematic to those trying to buy a home for the first time.
- People living in Delaware have to go outside of the state to get an international flight. New Castle Airport is the main airport in the area, but they only offer a handful of destination options in the U.S.
- For those who cannot drive, living in Delaware can be a challenge because public transport choices are minimal.
- The risk for hurricanes is high in Delaware.
- It has a limited selection of higher education institutions.
- The state lacks sufficient infrastructure, especially at the beaches for such a rising population.
- Some of the public schools in Delaware do not meet the best standards.
Is Delaware a good place to work?
Some of the largest corporations in the country, particularly banking and financial services firms have major offices in Northern Delaware. That’s because of the state’s lenient laws on business taxation and practice.
Since the nineties, the finance and insurance industries have become increasingly essential for employment and income and currently dominate Delaware’s economy. But the agriculture and manufacturing sectors are still significant.
All in all, the manufacturing, banking, insurance and credit card industries are mostly concentrated in the north, whereas farming is largely practiced near the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal.
Some of the most popular employers in the area include J.P Morgan Chase & Co., E.I. Du Pont De Nemours & Co., State of Delaware, University of Delaware, Bank of America Corp., Capital One Financial Corp., and Citibank.
Employment opportunities in Delaware are in plenty. The unemployment rate stood at 3.2% in June 2019 according to Ycharts.com.
The salaries are good too. Data provided by PayScale.com shows that the average wage in this state is $62,000. Software engineers earn $79,473 on average; project managers earn $75,261, while administrative assistants make $38,754 on average.
Is Delaware a good place to buy a house?
When it comes to purchasing a home in Delaware there are many excellent neighborhoods to choose from. Niche.com reports that some of the best places to buy a house in this state include:
· Forty Acres
· Pike Creek
· Highland Acres
· North Star
· Happy Valley
· Lower Highlands
· Midtown Brandywine
· Delaware Avenue.
The median cost of a home in Delaware is roughly $237,100. A property with three bedrooms can come at a price of $134,900 while a five-bed house can set one back by $299,900.
For those who want to rent a home in Delaware, a 1-bedroom home costs $929 per month whereas three-bedroom homes have a rent of $1504 monthly. A larger property with five bedrooms can rent for $4,995 a month.
Delaware is home to numerous credit institutions and mortgage lenders. The average mortgage interest rate for a 30-year fixed plan is 4.05%. A 15-year plan has an interest rate of 3.39% on average.
Is Delaware a good place to retire?
Delaware is without a doubt an attractive retirement destination. Its closeness to major Northeastern metro areas and low taxes make this state one of the best places for pensioners.
In Delaware, anyone aged 60 years and above is permitted $12,500 tax exclusion for eligible retirement income. Additionally, this state doesn’t levy taxes on one’s Social Security benefits or railroad retirement benefits. Delaware’s state income ranges between 2.2% and 5.55% for income below $60,000. For an income of at least $60,000, the rate is 6.6%. Additionally, Delawareans do not pay for a sales tax.
Delaware is undoubtedly a tax-friendly retirement state for those who want to live in the Northeast instead of in the more affordable Southern/Western states. Senior homeowners who are at least 65 years old also qualify for a maximum tax credit of $400 on their main residences. However, they only qualify if their house tax payments are current.
Other than the numerous tax benefits, Delaware also offers plenty of things to do. Although the whole state is just 96 miles long, it offers 28 miles of beaches. The area boasts a vibrant cultural and restaurant scene along with scenic museums and concerts.
The presence of nature reserves and parks allows retirees to lead an active lifestyle. They can hike, bike, ride horses or take a walk on the beach.
Delaware is also worth considering a retirement place because of the retirement home options. Senior communities are in plenty within the state. Some of the highly-rated senior care centers are Delmar Nursing and Rehabilitation, Heritage Shores, Noble’s Pond Hoes, State Street Assisted Living, The Summit, Westminster Village at Dover and the Mooring at Lewes.
The median price of nursing home facilities is $107,310 yearly in Delaware. The costs typically range between $6,450 and $9,330 per month. That is higher than the national monthly cost of $6,360.
Is Delaware a good place to visit?
While it is very small, the state of Delaware is an excellent option for a vacation. Its cities and towns have a lot of history and its beaches are fun as well. Since the major attractions are fairly close to one another, it’s easy to cover most of them in a day. All in all, Delaware is a perfect holiday destination for beach bums, outdoor enthusiasts and those who want to learn new stuff through buildings and museums.
One of Delaware’s biggest attractions is Rehoboth Beach. It gladly welcomes visitors to enjoy its oceanfront beaches, restaurants and stores. Rehoboth Beach hosts numerous weddings because of its delightful venues and opportunities for outdoor photography. Moreover, it has a small-town vibe without the inconveniences of a rural setting.
Wilmington also has a lot to offer. Visitors get to join brewery and winery tours and scenic train rides or try their like at the casinos. Additionally, Wilmington has museums and opera houses. The city has something for everybody, from solo travelers to full families. The Wilmington Riverfront is a brilliant place to take a walk while observing the city’s views and attractions. Moreover, the Delaware Children’s Museum is the perfect venue for families to spend a day gaining a cultivated learning experience.
The small town of Bethany Beach is quieter and more peaceful compared to some of the larger beaches in the region. It is a fantastic spot for families or a bunch of friends seeking to sunbathe, swim, surfboard or enjoy each other’s company in a spectacular setting. The boardwalk behind the beach offers shopping and dining opportunities. Bethany Beach itself also has many delicious dining choices where visitors can indulge in local seafood.
The Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge attracts many tourists yearly thanks to its one-of-a-kind attractions. Migrating birds along the Atlantic Coast come to this wildlife refuge to breed or rest. Most sections of the refuge are open to the public, though some areas are only open to designated people and researchers to avoid too much disruption of the wildlife’s natural habitat.
Dewey Beach is a favorite for many because it allows for wakeboarding, windsurfing, parasailing, beach volleyball and many other outdoor activities. Guests can also take snacks at the local restaurants or bars. Depending on the season, tourists visiting Dewey Beach may even be able to see dolphins swimming in the waters.
Places of accommodation for visitors are also in plenty. Some highly-rated hotels in Delaware include Ocean Glass Inn, Hotel Du Pont, Boardwalk Plaza Hotel, Avenue Inn & Spa, Dover Downs Hotel & Casino and Hotel Rehoboth.
About the author: Marta Kovachek is the author of this article. She graduated from the University of Chicago with a master’s degree in Economics. Marta enjoys writing about the current economic situation and loves helping our readers to find their next "destination". From places to live to complex social and economic topics, we always enjoy Marta's work. Please contact us in case of any questions.