Is Delaware a Good Place to Live? (21 Pros and Cons)

Vital Things To Know Before Moving To Or Retiring In Delaware

Are you interested in the pros and cons of living in Delaware? By examining the facts about Delaware living, you can learn the answer to the critical question, “Is Delaware a good place to live?”

Let’s get moving and hit that question head-on, followed by all the pros and cons.

Is Delaware A Good Place To Live?

Excellent job opportunities, attractive tax breaks, access to healthcare services, ocean beaches, nightlife, culture, and history make Delaware a good place to live, work, and retire.

According to, Delaware is a small but diverse state, including urban cities and rural communities, beaches, forests, farms, and emerging industries. Known as a state of neighbors, families enjoy access to world-class education, museums, parks, art, theaters, and festivals.

Local real estate agent Mike Riches says Delaware is known for its small, tight-knit communities, being tax-friendly, and its convenient access to beaches and nature (source).

However, before deciding to move to or retire in Delaware, I recommend considering all the pros and cons.

Pros And Cons Of Living In Delaware: Head To Head Comparison

Living in Delaware ProsLiving in Delaware Cons
1. Lots of good jobs13. Population density
2. Nice for retirement14. Urbanization
3. No sales tax15. Bad traffic
4. Tax breaks for seniors16. Lack of public transit
5. Low real estate taxes17. No international flights
6. Quality private schools18. High crime rate
7. Excellent universities19. Sub-par public schools
8. Lovely ocean beaches20. Risk of hurricanes
9. Plenty of nightlife21. Rising cost of living
10. Culture and history
11. Close to major metros
12. Access to healthcare
Table 1: Living or retiring in Delaware pros and cons

Next, I will review Delaware’s pros and cons, one at a time.

Delaware state sealPin

Pros Of Living In Delaware

1. Living In Delaware Means Access To Great Jobs And Employers

Delaware attracts both large and small employers. Good jobs are plentiful.

Several large employers with operations in Delaware include:

  • Dover Air Force Base
  • Christiana Health System
  • Astra Zeneca
  • Dupont De Nemours Inc.

You will also find many smaller businesses and startups operating in the state. The business-friendly environment makes it easy for small companies to get started here.

2. Retiring In Delaware Has Some Big-Time Advantages

Delaware is an excellent retirement destination. Seniors like the low taxes, nice weather across this state, and abundant recreational activities attract them.

Roughly 20% of Delaware’s population is age 65 or older. Thus, making like-minded friends after retiring in Delaware is much easier than in other locations.

Next, one of the biggest advantages of moving to Delaware is the state’s great tax benefits.

tax benefits of living in DelawarePin

Here are several examples of Delaware’s tax perks.

3. You Don’t Have To Pay To Play In Delaware: No Sales Tax

Delaware is one of only four states with no sales tax. Not paying sales tax saves on everyday purchases and when buying a big-ticket item.

The other states that do not charge a sales tax include the nearby New England state of New Hampshire. Montana in the west and Oregon on the Pacific Coast.

4. Seniors Love The Retirement Income Tax Savings And Lack Of “Death Taxes”

Delaware does not tax Social Security retirement benefits. Furthermore, residents age 60 or older are entitled to exclude $12,500 from other retirement income sources (eg. pensions and retirement accounts) on their tax returns.

Finally, Delaware does not impose a separate estate tax. Nor does it have an inheritance tax. They are sometimes referred to as death taxes.

5. More Savings: Low Real Estate Taxes And No Personal Property Tax

Delaware’s real estate taxes are very reasonable. The state has one of the top 10 lowest real estate tax rates in the U.S.

Delaware does not impose taxes on personal property. For example, some states tax vehicles, boats, and equipment registered within their boundaries.

To sum up, this state offers generous tax benefits for workers and retirees choosing to live in Delaware.

Next, here is another reason to move to Delaware.

6. Hit The Books: Outstanding (but expensive) Private Schools

Delaware is a popular state for parents who desire the best private schools for their kids.

One of Delaware’s top private schools is Tower Hill School in Wilmington. Tower Hill serves grades pre-K through 12th grade. The school provides an American education with a strong international focus.

Other excellent private schools in Delaware include:

  • St. Andrews School
  • Wilmington Friends School
  • The Tatnall School.

More reading: Key points about every state

7. Living In Delaware Means Excellent Higher Education Options

Delaware’s state university system includes Delaware State University and the University of Delaware.

The University of Delaware is known for its highly regarded research and business programs. Fortune 500 companies recruit heavily at UD.

UD also offers tuition-free courses and degree programs for those 60 and older. This is a nice perk for seniors living in Delaware, and another vote for Delaware being an attractive place to retire.

I know at least one other state offering seniors free college tuition. It is South Carolina, another popular retirement destination.

Okay. Onto more of the best things about Delaware living for those who want to work and play hard. Or if you want plenty of entertainment options during your retirement years.

8. You Will Love The Access To The Ocean & Beautiful Beaches

Delaware borders the Atlantic Ocean. As a result, the state has many clean, beautiful beaches along the ocean coast!

Delaware’s coastline starts at the southern town of Fenwick Island. But don’t let the name fool you. Fenwick, Delaware, is not a real island. The state’s coast stretches north to Rehoboth Beach.

The coastline totals less than 30 miles. However, the scenery and fun activities around the ocean make up for the small size.

Part of this strip of beaches from Fenwick Island up to Rehoboth Beach is known as Rehoboth Bay. There are beaches and waterfront property here on Delaware Bay. This bay stretches almost to the northernmost tip of the state before connecting with the Delaware River.

If you still need more beach action, cross the state’s southern border and travel into Maryland. You can check out the popular beach town Ocean City. Head a little farther south on your way to the barrier islands off another great coastal state of Virginia.

But there’s much more to like about Delaware if you want to get out and go.

9. Enjoy The Night Life When Living In Delaware

Delaware’s Rehoboth Beach is the state’s nightlife hub. The boardwalk has several bars, restaurants, and live music venues.

Lewes, Delaware, has some great places for entertainment, too. Plus, there is the Cape May-Lewes Ferry. The boat will transport you and your car across Delaware Bay to New Jersey.

Finally, it is also fun to stroll down any of the state’s ocean boardwalks. Go window shopping and explore the quaint seaside towns.

Regardless of your interests, there are many options for entertainment in this state. Here is some more good stuff about Delaware…

10. Delaware Has Many Cultural And Historic Attractions

interesting facts about DelawarePin

Delaware has some interesting and enjoyable cultural attractions.

The Delaware Art Museum is located in Wilmington.

Delaware’s Historical Society showcases the state’s rich history.

The Chesapeake & Delaware Canal is located in New Castle County and connects the Delaware River with the Chesapeake Bay. The canal is a significant landmark and historical boundary separating the urbanized north from the more rural southern portion of the state.

Finally, Delaware stands out for its breadth of things you can find to do, including:

  • Small art galleries
  • Historic museums
  • Vibrant fairs and festivals
  • Small theatres
  • Beautiful state parks
  • Historical landmarks
  • Pristine botanical gardens
  • Lovely estate homes

These attractions are wrapped in its family-friendly, small-town feel. Delaware is a state with a culture all its own.

But, when you just have to have access to the big city, check out this next good thing about living or retiring in Delaware.

11. Living In Delaware Means Proximity To Major Metro Areas

pros and cons of living in DelawarePin

Delaware is close to more than one state with major metropolitan areas. So, when you want to go on an urban getaway easily, Delaware is a good place to live.

Using Dover, the state capitol, as a starting point from central Delaware:

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – 80 miles

Baltimore, Maryland, or Washington D.C. – 90 miles

New York City – 170 miles

Pennsylvania is just across the border from Wilmington, Delaware, in the northern part of the state. Thus, Philadelphia and New York City are only 40 and 125 miles away, respectively.

12. High-Quality Health Care System

Delaware has highly regarded healthcare options. So, put another check in the box that makes Delaware a great place to retire.

U.S. News ranks the state’s healthcare system in the top one-third of all states nationwide. The rankings are based on ease of access and the quality of facilities and services.

For example, quality medical care institutions in Delaware include:

  • Christiana Care Health System
  • Wilmington Hospital.

These hospitals are part of the Medical Society of Delaware. The society is a large member-only physicians’ group that advocates for improvements in health care policy.

Despite Delaware’s success in delivering quality healthcare outcomes, the state faces a shortage of primary care physicians.

Okay. That concludes my top reasons to live in Delaware. But, the pros and cons of Delaware would not be complete without reviewing the disadvantages of living in Delaware, too. Let’s do that next.

advantages and disadvantages of living in DelawarePin

Cons Of Living In Delaware

13. Population Density Is A Problem When Living In Delaware

Delaware is one of the smallest states based on land area. However, the population consists of nearly 1 million people.

Many people residing in the second smallest state (sometimes called “The Small Wonder”) means high population density.

Delaware is denser than 75% of all other states in the country. And almost the opposite of living in a state like Alaska.

So, if you do not like crowds and plenty of people around, Delaware may not be for you.

Here is another one of the worst things about Delaware.

14. Negative Impacts Of Delaware’s Urban Jungle

Delaware residents are feeling the negative effects of urbanization. Visitors are noticing the problem, too.

For example, you can observe the negative effects of urbanization in Delaware in the following ways:

  • Congestion
  • Pollution
  • Overbuilding
  • Too many strip-malls
  • Environmental deterioration
  • Higher cost of living

These issues are starting to detract from the overall high quality of life in Delaware, leading me to another essential point.

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15. Heavy Traffic And Bad Drivers Living In Delaware

Living in Delaware means dealing with heavy traffic congestion.

Even the state’s medium-sized and small towns have bad traffic. So, you should avoid moving to Delaware if you tire of sitting in traffic.

The roads feel like war zones during peak travel times. So, be careful and allow extra time to get to your destination.

Unfortunately, stressed drivers have bad driving habits. As a result, Delaware drivers are known to be lousy.

Here is another disappointing point about getting around Delaware.

16. Lack Of Public Transportation: Cars Required

Delaware has limited public transportation options.

You can’t consistently depend on buses or trains to get around. The closest thing to public transportation is Uber and Lyft.

The only reliable way to get around is by car. More cars lead to traffic congestion and the bad driving habits I discussed.

More reading: Living out west-Wyoming

17. Moving To Delaware Makes International Travel Difficult

Delaware has few, if any, departing international flights

So, if you are ready to retire and travel the world. Or, if you need to travel internationally for business, you will be inconvenienced after moving to Delaware.

I recommend Philadelphia International Airport in Pennsylvania versus Delaware’s largest airport in Wilmington.

This is a big contrast compared to living in a state like Georgia. The state has one of the busiest international airports in the world.

Next, I have another one of the downsides of living in Delaware.

18. High Crime Rates Plague The State

crime ratesPin

Delaware ranks near the top of “crime rate” lists. The overall statistics do not lie. The state consistently ranks in the upper third of all states for high crime.

Yes, there are plenty of safe neighborhoods in Delaware, too. So, it isn’t fair to paint a broad brush concerning property crimes and home invasions happening all over the state.

Before moving, do your homework and choose your exact location wisely.

More reading: Southern living in Arkansas

19. Sub-Par Public Schools If You Have School-Age Children

Delaware’s K-12 public schools are not highly rated. They fall in the middle of the pack versus other states in America.

High teacher turnover rates, student-to-teacher ratios, and a lack of funding for educational initiatives are some of the problems.

Thus, consider paying for private school. Or, be selective about the area and specific school district where you choose to settle down.

Here’s another concern about life in Delaware.

20. Delaware Has The Annual Threat of Hurricanes

Delaware living opens up residents to the risk of Hurricanes.

The state does not typically take direct hits from these violent storms. On the other hand, strong winds, rain, flooding, and collateral damage are possible when a hurricane hits another part of the East Coast.

In Delaware, August, September, and October are the most vulnerable months for hurricanes and severe ocean storms

Next, I’d like to make another point before I wrap up…

21. Rising Cost of Living In Delaware

cost of housingPin

Delaware’s price of living is higher than average costs across the U.S., including the state’s median home value.

The price of living has been rising because of inflation and the state’s popularity. Real estate market prices for housing have increased significantly in recent years.

Okay. That’s all I have. Please allow me to wrap up.

Pros And Cons Of Living In Delaware – It Is A Good Place To Live

I hope this article has helped you learn about the pros and cons of moving to Delaware. There’s a lot to like about living in the state, whether you intend to retire in Delaware or work a job.

Best of luck no matter where you choose to settle down.

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Author Bio: Tom Scott founded the consulting and coaching firm Dividends Diversify, LLC. He leverages his expertise and decades of experience in goal setting, relocation assistance, and investing for long-term wealth to help clients reach their full potential.

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The Pros And Cons Of Living In Delaware Explained