10 Best Places to Live in Delaware for Families

10 Best Places to Live in Delaware for Families

Delaware isn’t the most well-known state in the U.S. for several reasons. It’s the second smallest state by area, and the seventh smallest by population. It’s located along the Mid-Atlantic coast tucked between better-known states like Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Maryland. It is only divided into three separate counties, and its highest point is less than 500 feet above sea level. As far as states go, Delaware may be the most unassuming of them all.

Despite its lack of notoriety, Delaware has a proud history and many interesting distinctions to its name. Officially known as “The First State,” it was ahead of all others in ratifying the constitution back in 1787, and thus is given the first position in congressional votes. It’s also one of only five states that do not charge consumers a sales tax on regular purchases. The state income tax is lower than the national average too.

Furthermore, Delaware has loads of opportunities as a hotbed for big business. There are more corporate entities in the state than citizens, and around two-thirds of Fortune 500 companies are based there.

With its proximity to some popular large eastern cities and abundance of suburban neighborhoods, Delaware is a nice state for families to settle down. Many of its towns and cities offer safety, good public schools, a relatively affordable cost of living, things to do, and access to strong amenities like health care. Taking these factors into consideration, here are 10 of the best places to live in Delaware for families.

1. Hockessin

live in Hockessin

Hockessin is located in northeast Delaware, close to the convergence of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Maryland. It’s considered one of the best places for families in the state. While Delaware overall holds a crime rate relatively close to the national average, Hockessin is a haven for parents to allow their kids to explore. Its crime rate is 62% lower than the state overall.

The town retains the feel of a small, close-knit community because nearly 90% of the residents own their homes and everyone can get to know their neighbors. The one drawback to that is that median home values are around $456,100, which is much higher than the national average. That could push Hockessin out of reach for some families.

The public schools are highly-rated, but there are also some private schools in the immediate areas for families who may want to take that route. There are also plenty of health facilities in town, ensuring that all citizens have the access they need to education and health.

Hockessin has a rural feel, so nature-loving families will want to give it a closer look.

2. Pike Creek

Located just to the south of Hockessin, Pike Creek is a slightly more affordable suburb, where crime is still 55% lower than the national average. With a relatively small population of 8,466, you’ll still get to know your fellow residents here.

Like in Hockessin, most people own slightly more affordable homes that average about $335,700. Plenty of employment opportunities abound here, and the median household income is $109,000.

It’s easy to find health care here, with multiple family practices, a rehab center, and urgent care facility. The schools do well here and are highly respected. Goldey-Beacom College is also here in town, providing a popular spot for higher education.

One unique part of Pike Creek is Camp Wright, a long-abandoned summer campground where generations of young people have spread rumors of hauntings. It is now being converted into an area of public walking trails and parks.

3. Lewes

Beach lovers rejoice! Lewes is located in the eastern part of Delaware where the bay meets the greater Atlantic. Families flock here to enjoy the popular beaches such as Johnnie Walker Beach, Savannah Beach, Lewes Beach, Cape Henlopen State Park Public Beach, and the Beach Plum Island Nature Reserve. Lewes is one of the most desirable coastal cities on this list.

While crime rates 53% lower than the state average makes this a safe beach town for families, the problem is the sky-high real estate prices. The median home value here is $612,700. It’s over 100% higher than the average for the rest of the state.

Still, with a tiny population of 3,286, families can get the feeling of living in a tight-knit community. The kids will be well-educated too. The Cape Henlopen School District is considered the best in the state, led by Sussex Academy, one of the higher-performing charter schools in the entire region.

After a day at the beach, families will want to take a ride to Hopkins Farm Creamery, a local favorite that serves some great ice cream.

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4. Clayton

Clayton City

Crime is virtually nonexistent in Clayton, with rates estimated to be 74% lower than the national average! It also happens to be a place with affordable housing for families. The median home value is overall lower, standing at about $256,300. The cost of living overall is also lower than the state average. With its proximity to the capital Dover, the largest employer in Clayton is the state of Delaware itself.

The downside of affordability is that unemployment and poverty are both slightly higher than the national average in Clayton, even with a slightly higher median household income. Families will want to do their due diligence when choosing neighborhoods in Clayton.

According to test scores, Clayton schools tend to perform slightly better than the average American school. For the non-traditional route, they also have a military academy.

Clayton is home to the state’s only rescue zoo, whose claim to fame is being the home of Delaware’s only alligator, eastern coyote, and silver foxes! Thousands of families from multiple states come to see them each year.

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5. Newark

Not to be confused with the better-known city in New Jersey, Newark is considered a suburb of Philadelphia and borders Maryland. As a central location, it has a higher population of 32,822. So, families looking for a bit more excitement might find it here.

Though it isn’t quite as safe as some of the other entries on the list, crime is still 11% lower than Delaware’s average. There’s a lot of opportunity for careers, as it is the home of the University of Delaware. The University serves over 23,000 students and is consistently considered one of the top 50 institutions for higher education in the country.

Even with the school in town, the median home is relatively affordable at $291,900, leaving families with more income to enjoy some of the areas, with its easy access to Philadelphia. Staying right in town is enjoyable too. Newark leadership has committed itself to maintain the quaint downtown area for decades now, keeping it a nice little haven for all who live and visit here.

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6. Townsend

Visit Townsend

Townsend isn’t as exciting as the college town of Newark, but it’s a desirable location for families just the same. The population is under 3,000. Crime rates here will help residents feel safe, at 65% of Delaware’s average. The rural area boasts many local farms that produce fresh food for all of the neighbors.

The median home value in Townsend is $334,400, and with a strong median household income of $137,856, the people who live here tend to live comfortably. The schools here consistently rate in the top 5 in the state.

While there isn’t much in the way of nightlife, the locals are known to be quite friendly and welcoming toward visitors and new neighbors. They are civic-minded and take great pride in the preservation of their town.

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7. Middletown

living in Middletown

Middletown is another place for families seeking a suburban feel. It has a population of 22,350 and 12% lower crime rates than the rest of Delaware. Even though the crime rates aren’t as low, the number of violent crimes is within an extremely safe range.

More people tend to rent rather than own homes in Middletown than in the rest of this list. It has a $294,800 median home value.

Schools in Middletown tend to be high performing, and the students are rewarded with lots of things to do. There are parks, coastal areas, and even a haunted carnival attraction. Residents enjoy easy access to healthcare too.

Middletown is known as “The Diamond Town of the Diamond State,” owing to how its original borders were set during the original founding.

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8. Selbyville

Selbyville

The small Selbyville, with a population of about 2,500, keeps its residents happy with its highly regarded schools, and the crime rates are still 14% lower than the Delaware average. The biggest draw of Selbyville is that it is just about a 20-minute drive to the famed Ocean City Beaches of Maryland.

Median home values here come in a bit higher due to that central location. They are about $322,400. Renting a home here is extremely affordable, however.

Selbyville is largely agricultural. It was known as the primary strawberry supplier for the entire east coast in the early 1900s. They still produce a large number of chickens, hogs, soybeans, and corn, something the farmers take great pride in.

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9. Rehoboth Beach

Rehoboth Beach is the definition of a vacation town. The permanent population is counted at under 2,000 during the fall and winter months. In the summertime, however, the coastal haven can have as many as 25,000 people living there. Even President Joe Biden has a summer home in Rehoboth Beach.

A town like this has its drawbacks of course. The median home price is a jaw-dropping $1,147,600. It follows that most families who live here would be well-off. Due to the demographics, there are many restaurants and other aspects of social life to be found here.

Schools are highly-regarded here, but crime rates tend to be a little bit higher than in most towns in Delaware. This is mainly due to the thriving nightlife scene.

The beaches here are some of the most popular around. Delaware in general has supremely high water quality at its coastline, and Rehoboth Beach has some of the best water in Delaware. This could be a highly enjoyable destination for the right family.

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10. Milton

living in Milton

Another tiny town of under 3,000 residents, Milton is marked by its classic architecture. It’s extremely safe, with crime rates 54% lower than Delaware’s average, so parents and children can feel confident they are living in the right community.

The classic homes here run a little higher than average, at $301,800. These homes tend to be located in small, quiet neighborhoods. These areas are popular among retirees but are perfect for young professionals and families as well.

Milton schools consistently rank in the top half of the schools in Delaware. There is some great sightseeing to be had driving along the Broadkill River. Shipbuilder’s Village is considered one of the top neighborhoods in Milton. It is conveniently located by the retail center of town as well as multiple medical facilities.

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Conclusion

Delaware is a hidden gem of a state for families looking for a high quality of life in an east coast setting. It has more than its fair share of nice little cities and towns while also being so close to popular larger ones just outside its borders. It’s easy to get to all of those places. Multiple interstate highways go through the small area, making it simple to travel by car.

There is also ample access to Amtrak services and the DART public transit system. Public education matters here too. Delaware was the first state to install internet access in every school back in 1999. For families looking for new enjoyable places to live, Delaware is a great landing spot.

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