The 10 Best Places To Live In Delaware For 2024

The best places to live in Delaware for 2024 are Ocean View, Lewes, and New Castle. Find out where your city or town ranks.

Welcome to the best places to live in Delaware.You could throw a dart at any of these places and be happy to live wherever it landed.

Needless to say, it wasn’t easy to narrow down the top ten best places to live in The First State.

But we did it.

How’d we do it?

We consulted Census, FBI, and Zillow data around important factors like cost of living, crime, unemployment rates, rent, and median home values for every place with over 2,000 residents. In total, we analyzed 21 cities in Delaware.

It turns out cities like Wilmington, college towns like Dover, and environmentally conscious towns like Newark didn’t even crack the top ten.

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

The 10 Best Places To Live In Delaware For 2024

  1. Ocean View
  2. Lewes
  3. New Castle
  4. Milton
  5. Clayton
  6. Townsend
  7. Newark
  8. Millville
  9. Selbyville
  10. Smyrna

What’s the best place to live in Delaware for 2024? The best place to live in Delaware is Ocean View based on the most recent data.

To see how your city compares, look at the list below. And if you are still looking for your favorite there, head down to the bottom for a complete ranking of every place in Delaware.

For more reading, check out:

The 10 Best Places To Live In Delaware For 2024

Best Places To Live In Delaware Map

1. Ocean View

Ocean View, DE

Source: Public domain
Stat Ocean View Delaware
Population 2,660 993,635
Rank Last Year 1
Median Home Value $522,372 $373,328
Median Income $88,004 $79,325
Unemployment Rate 1.5% 5.4%
Crime Per Capita 0.0071 0.0238

More on Ocean View: Crime | Real Estate

We’re driving back down south along the coast to reach our best place in Delaware, Ocean View. A neighbor of Bethany Beach, Ocean View gets all the perks of having a seaside resort next-door with none (or at least fewer) of those pesky summertime tourists. Home to art studios, farm stands, and more historical buildings than you can shake a stick at, Ocean View is your quintessential Delawarean small town. Oh, and as the name implies, you get a pretty sweet view of the ocean here, perhaps nowhere better than the James Farm Preserve on Indian River Bay.

A place can have a charming veneer with a dark underbelly, but that’s not the case in Ocean View, the safest place in Delaware with a crime rate less than half the national average. Poverty and unemployment rates in Ocean View both rank in the top ten statewide and only 0.4% of folks require food stamps to get by, the lowest rate of places covered on this list.

Nearly 90% of folks in Ocean View decide to buy rather than rent, and who can blame them for being 100% positive they scored an awesome “Place to Come Home To”; it is the town’s motto after all. Homes in Ocean View are the 4th costliest in the state at $522,372, but we’re sure most residents would agree it’s worth every penny.

Lewes, DE

Source: Wikipedia User Tim Kiser (w:User:Malepheasant) | CC BY-SA 2.5
Stat Lewes Delaware
Population 3,339 993,635
Rank Last Year 3
Median Home Value $574,392 $373,328
Median Income $87,458 $79,325
Unemployment Rate 1.0% 5.4%
Crime Per Capita 0.0138 0.0238

More on Lewes: Data | Crime | Real Estate

Lewes is used to coming in first; it brands itself as “The First Town in The First State” and it’s now come first on our tally of best places to live in Delaware for the second year running. Situated where the Atlantic meets Cape Henlopen, Lewes is a walking town replete with historically-rich architecture, museums, boutique-lined streets, and waterfront dining. It’s both a hidden treasure and perhaps the most beloved place in Delaware, for locals and tourists alike. Between taking a seabound adventure on the Cape May-Lewes ferry and staying closer to home at the gorgeous Cape Henlopen State Park, there’s no shortage of activity in Lewes.

On the statistical side of things, Lewes shines in several ways. The city has the lowest unemployment rate and 5th lowest poverty rate in Delaware at 1.0% and 5.8% respectively. And it’s not like people are just getting by in Lewes either; we did, after all, name it the richest place in Delaware. Folks here earn the 7th highest median household income in the state at $87,458/year. Which is good when you’re also paying the highest median price for homes at $574,392. On the bright side, property taxes in Lewes are relatively low and both income and property value have risen by roughly 8% in the last year.

With a median age of 66, Lewes’s population is definitely on the older side. It’s one of Delaware’s best retirement cities after all. And with a whopping 98.7% of residents having health insurance, the highest rate statewide, you won’t have to worry about being buried in medical bills here. Just because Lewes is on the older side, it doesn’t mean they don’t take care of the youth. Lewes spends more than twice as much per student as the Delaware average and it pays off with award-winning schools, higher test scores, and greater rates of graduation.

New Castle, DE

Source: Wikipedia User Ataraxy22 | CC BY-SA 3.0
Stat New Castle Delaware
Population 5,523 993,635
Rank Last Year 7
Median Home Value $256,759 $373,328
Median Income $95,884 $79,325
Unemployment Rate 1.3% 5.4%
Crime Per Capita 0.0402 0.0238

More on New Castle: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

New Castle is a historic city located just 15 minutes south of Wilmington’s downtown Rodney Square. A key part of Delaware’s (and America’s) past, New Castle’s cobblestone streets and stately townhouses work to imbue the place with a Colonial charm that makes for a memorable day out strolling and shopping. Pay a visit to the First State National Historical Park to brush up on your history or just enjoy the lovely green spaces. And if you’re around in May, make sure you’ve got some old-timey clothes so you can participate in A Day in Old New Castle, an exploration of the many homes, gardens, and historic public buildings, as well as a series of reenactments and period-appropriate children’s games. It’s things like this that landed New Castle at the top of our list of Delaware’s best family cities.

As for statistics, New Castle has low unemployment and poverty rates, a high rate of residents with health insurance, and some great public schools. Additionally, the cost of living is actually slightly lower than your average city in Delaware, with housing costs about 10% cheaper. Rent is a bit pricier at $1,525/month, but homes are among the cheapest on this list at $256,759.

Milton, DE

Source: Wikipedia User Tim Kiser (w:User:Malepheasant) | CC BY-SA 2.5
Stat Milton Delaware
Population 3,349 993,635
Rank Last Year 4
Median Home Value $451,950 $373,328
Median Income $67,763 $79,325
Unemployment Rate 7.4% 5.4%
Crime Per Capita 0.0060 0.0238

More on Milton: Data | Crime | Real Estate

Located a short drive inland from Lewes, Milton is a town of 3,349 in the rapidly-expanding Cape Region. Just because Milton isn’t right on the coast, it doesn’t mean you’ll be short on entertainment. Beer-lovers will want to check out the Dogfish Head Brewery, the local pride and joy of Milton, while those looking for an arts scene will find what they’re looking for at the Milton Theatre. Outdoorsmen and women will love exploring the Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge and the more romantic types will positively melt once they lay their eyes on Lavender Fields Farm. I won’t even get into all the annual events that Milton puts on.

About a third of Milton’s population chooses to rent instead of buy and it’s easy to see why. The median rent in Milton is only $1,215/month, which is slightly lower than the statewide average. Homes, on the other hand, are the 5th priciest in Delaware, with a median price tag of $451,950. It shouldn’t be hard to come up with the cash though, seeing as Milton’s unemployment rate is the 16th lowest in the state at 7.4%. And you don’t have to worry about getting carjacked on the way to work, seeing as Milton also has the lowest total crime rate in Delaware, as well as the 4th lowest amount of violent crime.

Clayton, DE

Source: Wikipedia User Elemenel | CC BY-SA 3.0
Stat Clayton Delaware
Population 3,978 993,635
Rank Last Year 2
Median Home Value $369,829 $373,328
Median Income $98,367 $79,325
Unemployment Rate 2.3% 5.4%
Crime Per Capita 0.0083 0.0238

More on Clayton: Data | Crime | Real Estate

Clayton sits around the mid-point between two of Delaware’s two most important cities. A 45-minute drive north will take you to Wilmington, the state’s largest population center. Head a half hour south and you’ll arrive at the state capital of Dover.

More than just a stopover between more famous locations, Clayton has a lot to offer on its own. For instance, the town’s crime rate sits nearly 50% below the national average and it boasts an above-average school district.

The main draw, though, is economic. The 3,978 residents of Clayton enjoy a median income of $98,367, the 2nd best level in Delaware. Homes in the area represent a good investment as well. Median home values sit at $369,829.

Clayton also provides easy access to some of the most beautiful spots in Delaware. The Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge sits a short drive to the east.

6. Townsend

Townsend, DE

Source: Wikipedia User Smallbones | CC BY-SA 3.0
Stat Townsend Delaware
Population 2,728 993,635
Rank Last Year 5
Median Home Value $451,746 $373,328
Median Income $147,917 $79,325
Unemployment Rate 2.5% 5.4%
Crime Per Capita 0.0455 0.0238

More on Townsend: Real Estate

Townsend, Delaware, may seem like an unassuming town of 2,728 residents. But this quaint community isn’t your average burb. It’s the number 6 best place to live in the state.

With good schools and quick access to nearby commercial hubs, Townsend acts as a magnet for young professionals. The city has a median income of $147,917, putting it 1st in the state in that category. Home values are high as well, with a median home value of $451,746.

Townsend is situated in the northern part of the state. A quick trip down the road will take you to Wilmington, Delaware’s biggest city. It also sits a little more than an hour outside of Philadelphia.

In terms of local amenities, you can tour the picturesque Townsend Historic District, with more than 200 charming buildings. Meanwhile, a 20-minute drive will take you to the Delaware River and access to robust outdoor activities at places like the Augustine Wildlife Area.

Newark, DE

Source: Wikipedia User | GFDL
Stat Newark Delaware
Population 30,655 993,635
Rank Last Year 8
Median Home Value $333,102 $373,328
Median Income $67,738 $79,325
Unemployment Rate 7.0% 5.4%
Crime Per Capita 0.0242 0.0238

More on Newark: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

Delaware’s third biggest and 3rd most densely-populated city, Newark, comes in as the 7th best place to live. Being home to the University of Delaware helps explain Newark’s status as the youngest place on this list, with a median age of 22. It also explains why about half the population has a college degree and a quarter have a master’s degree or higher. The importance of education runs from top to bottom in Newark, because public schools here spend nearly twice as much per student as the statewide average and have the 3rd lowest high school dropout rate in Delaware.

Being a college town comes with other perks, like being the Delaware’s best city for singles. Evidently, people are copping on to the awesomeness that is Newark, because the city has grown by about 7% since 2010. While the median income in Newark is the lowest on this list at $67,738/year, the fact that students aren’t usually known for being big-earners may account for the gap. In any case, you don’t need to be loaded to enjoy the hiking, biking, and fishing at White Clay Creek Park.

The cost of living in Newark is slightly higher than your average city in Delaware, with housing costing about 15% more on average. A home in Newark will set you back around $333,102 while a typical rental will cost about $1,482/month.

8. Millville

Millville, DE

Source: Wikipedia User Famartin | CC BY-SA 4.0
Stat Millville Delaware
Population 2,052 993,635
Rank Last Year 0
Median Home Value $526,843 $373,328
Median Income $92,961 $79,325
Unemployment Rate 2.3% 5.4%
Crime Per Capita 0.1365 0.0238

More on Millville: Real Estate

You won’t have to grind my gears to get me to move to Millville.

Millville is a thriving community with a rich, milling history and small-town feel. Since its 1906 incorporation, the population has grown, and its location near the Atlantic Ocean and Indian River Bay, along with nearby Delaware beaches, makes it perfect for outdoor enthusiasts.

In Sussex County, Millville is well-connected via Delaware Route 26 and Route 17, promoting easy commuting. The town has a low 2.3% unemployment rate and an attractive housing market, indicated by its 3rd highest median home values.

9. Selbyville

Selbyville, DE

Source: Wikipedia User Don Woods | CC BY-SA 3.0
Stat Selbyville Delaware
Population 2,907 993,635
Rank Last Year 11
Median Home Value $555,892 $373,328
Median Income $93,971 $79,325
Unemployment Rate 3.4% 5.4%
Crime Per Capita 0.0227 0.0238

More on Selbyville: Crime | Real Estate

Selbyville, located on the Maryland border in southeast Delaware off of Route 113, finds itself on our list of the best places to live in Delaware. Some of the things that make Selbyville a great place to live include Freeman Arts Pavilion for some outdoor theater fun, Synergy Cafe where they make you feel like family, and La Sierra where you can grab some high quality mexican food.

On the numbers side of things, the town has some of the best economic indicators you could ask for in a place to live. The unemployment rate is the 7th lowest in Delaware per the latest Census data. Median incomes rank 4th in Delaware and home prices rank 2nd. Those home values indicate that Selbyville is a place where a lot of people want to be — and are willing to pay for it.

Smyrna, DE

Source: Wikipedia User Tim Kiser (w:User:Malepheasant) | CC BY-SA 2.5
Stat Smyrna Delaware
Population 12,870 993,635
Rank Last Year 12
Median Home Value $381,842 $373,328
Median Income $68,260 $79,325
Unemployment Rate 6.1% 5.4%
Crime Per Capita 0.0277 0.0238

More on Smyrna: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

Smyrna is a historically rich town in Kent County. Its residents benefit from a $381,842 median income that ranks 7th statewide and complemented by a 68,260 median income in Delaware’s top 10. Smyrna’s 12,870 people have quick access to routes 120, 301, and 302, contributing to an average 31 minute commute time.

Safety is a priority, as evidenced by low 0.0054 violent and 0.0223 property per capita rate, making it one of the safest areas in the state.

Mapping The Best And Worst Places To Live in Delaware

Best Places To Live In Delaware Size Requirement

Before we even started to collect data on the best places to live in Delaware, we had to answer a tough question: Is it fair to pit Dover, with a population of 38,879, against places with a population of 18?

We firmly decided no, that just isn’t fair.

So, to create our ranking, we broke the best places to live into three tiers:

  • Cities — Populations over 2,000
  • Towns — Populations between 1,000 and 2,000
  • Small Towns — Populations below 1,000

This filter left 21 cities, 31 towns, and 25 small towns.

We then decided no matter how much anyone loves their town, the best cities to live in Delaware have more of everything, and therefore, you need over 2,000 people to truly be ‘the best.’

Methodology: How We Calculated The Best Cities To Live In Delaware

Now that we had our set of the best possible cities, it was time to rank them using Saturday Night Science.

We ranked each place in Delaware across a number of criteria from one to 21, with one being the best.

We then took the average rank across all criteria, crowning the city posting the lowest overall score, the “Best Place To Live In Delaware.”

The criteria we looked to determine the best places were:

  • Median Home Values
  • Median Income
  • Population Density (Higher is better)
  • Unemployment Rate
  • Commute Time
  • Crime
  • Education Levels
  • Health Insurance Coverage
  • Poverty rates

Sources of criteria include the New Census Data, FBI Crime Data, and Zillow. We updated this article for 2024. This report is our tenth time ranking Delaware’s best places to live.

If your city or town isn’t among the top 10, jump down to the bottom of the post to see a detailed chart of the best places in Delaware. Otherwise, buckle up for a ride down good living lane with Ocean View at the end of the cul-de-sac.

Summary: The Best Places In Delaware

If you’re looking at areas in Delaware with the best economic situations, where there’s lower than average crime, and a lot to do, this is an accurate list.

The best places to live in Delaware are Ocean View, Lewes, New Castle, Milton, Clayton, Townsend, Newark, Millville, Selbyville, and Smyrna.

Ocean View made a strong showing to take in the overall number one spot for the best place to live in Delaware for 2024.

If you’re curious enough, here are the worst places to live in Delaware according to the data:

  1. Milford (Pop. 11,714)
  2. Seaford (Pop. 8,055)
  3. Laurel (Pop. 3,954)

For more Delaware reading, check out:

Best Places To Live In Delaware Table

Rank City Population Unemployment Rate Home Value Median Income Rent Crime Per Capita
1 Ocean View 2,660 1.5% $522,372 $88,004 $2,038 0.0071
2 Lewes 3,339 1.0% $574,392 $87,458 $1,354 0.0138
3 New Castle 5,523 1.3% $256,759 $95,884 $1,525 0.0402
4 Milton 3,349 7.4% $451,950 $67,763 $1,215 0.0060
5 Clayton 3,978 2.3% $369,829 $98,367 $1,539 0.0083
6 Townsend 2,728 2.5% $451,746 $147,917 $988 0.0455
7 Newark 30,655 7.0% $333,102 $67,738 $1,482 0.0242
8 Millville 2,052 2.3% $526,843 $92,961 $2,066 0.1365
9 Selbyville 2,907 3.4% $555,892 $93,971 $1,527 0.0227
10 Smyrna 12,870 6.1% $381,842 $68,260 $1,396 0.0277
11 Millsboro 6,876 3.6% $370,896 $64,622 $1,156 0.0303
12 Camden 3,914 3.5% $362,602 $60,549 $1,593 0.0669
13 Elsmere 6,194 5.2% $211,158 $70,773 $1,242 0.0168
14 Harrington 3,770 5.0% $243,428 $63,814 $1,123 0.0279
15 Bridgeville 2,590 7.6% $313,458 $61,523 $854 0.0236
16 Wilmington 71,034 8.6% $294,430 $54,731 $1,157 0.0455
17 Delmar 2,398 5.2% $303,261 $55,625 $939 0.0225
18 Dover 38,879 8.7% $307,836 $54,438 $1,165 0.0529
19 Milford 11,714 6.1% $325,839 $53,472 $1,109 0.0486
20 Seaford 8,055 11.5% $284,380 $49,469 $1,064 0.0764
21 Laurel 3,954 13.9% $279,527 $42,710 $883 0.0582

About Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar has been in the real estate business for almost ten years now. He originally worked for Movoto Real Estate as the director of marketing before founding HomeSnacks.

He believes the key to finding the right place to live comes down to looking at the data, reading about things to do, and, most importantly, checking it out yourself before you move.

If you've been looking for a place to live in the past several years, you've probably stumbled upon his writing already.

You can find out more about him on LinkedIn or his website.