At just 2,488 square miles, Delaware is easily one of the smallest states in the U.S. Packed within an area essentially the size of four Houstons side by side are some of the Diamond State’s metropolitan gems. Places such as New Castle, Pike Creek, and—best of all—Newark are what make Delaware the Small Wonder that it is. Residents have known of the charm of these places for years, but at Movoto Real Estate, we like to work with numbers. So, for our latest ranking, we set out to find the 10 best places in Delaware. We based our research on the facts: things like education, income, and weather. More on that in a moment; for now, here are the 10 best places in Delaware:

1. City of Newark
2. City of Dover
3. CDP of Hockessin (tie)
4. City of New Castle (tie)
5. CDP of Pike Creek
6. Town of Elsmere (tie)
7. CDP of Edgmoor (tie)
8. CDP of Glasgow (tie)
9. CDP of Wilmington Manor (tie)
10. CDP of North Star (tie)

Normally top 10 lists tend to go from one to 10, but in the case of Delaware, it’s really no surprise that there are so many ties; the state is just so tiny that many of the places had similar information. We’ll talk more about that soon, along with why each of these places are a cut above the rest in the Diamond State. First, let’s discuss how we made this ranking.

How We Did It

The First State of affairs in finding these rankings was to gather up all of the places in the state with populations larger than 5,000 residents, which left a rather small list of 19 places to work with. From there, we applied the following seven criteria to each place:

  • Total amenities
  • Quality of life (cost of living, median home price, median rent, median household income, and student-to-teacher ratio)
  • Total crimes
  • Tax rates (sales tax and income tax)
  • Unemployment
  • Commute time
  • Weather (temperature and air quality)

We ranked each place from 1 to 19 in each of the criteria above, with 1 being the best possible score. After that, we averaged each ranking for an overall Big Deal Score, with the lowest score being the winner. As mentioned above, usually our lists look a little bit more sequential. Because Delaware is so small, many of the places on our list had overlapping information; for example, the unemployment rate is pretty similar across the board, and as far as weather goes, well, that was almost a 19-way tie. So, if your place of residence tied for a spot on our list, never fear, it’s just because your entire state is just so excellent. For a complete list of rankings, you can head to the bottom of the post. Otherwise, we’ll take a closer look at each of our 10 winners, starting with No. 1, Newark.


1. Newark

Newark, DE

Source: Flickr user Bragadocchio

Home of the University of Delaware, and, perhaps more importantly, the famous Delaware River Mud at UDairy Creamery, Newark came in at the top of our list for a number of reasons (ice cream aside). With a population of 32,367, it may be no surprise that Newark ranked well for its high number of amenities; but it also ranked well in overall quality of life. That’s because Newark has one of the lowest student-teacher ratios (15 to 1), and some of the highest median home and rent prices in the state, indicating the area’s desirability. Plus, with a crime rate of just 3,399 crimes per 100,000 people, it’s easy to see why students, families, and people from all walks of life find Newark so desirable (and are willing to pay the price in rent).

2. Dover

Dover, DE

Source: Flickr user Jeffrey

If we were measuring places based on charm, Delaware’s capital city would have gotten some major points for its historical district, the Sewell C. Biggs Museum of American Art, the State Museum, the Children’s Theater, and, of course the residents. Even so, Dover did well enough in our ranking to snag the No. 2 spot, mostly for its low commute time, low unemployment rate, and high number of amenities. To expand on that briefly, Dover’s average commute time of just 21 minutes was one of the shortest in the state. Yes, even as small as Delaware is, residents in places like Middletown and Northstar have commutes over half an hour on average. Dover’s unemployment rate was just 6.8 percent. Of course, in 17 of the 18 other places on our list, it was 6.9 percent, but in a state this small, even the tiniest of percentages makes a difference.

3. Hockessin (tie)

Hockessin, DE

Source: Flickr user diaper

This New Castle County place gets its name from the Lenape word hokesa which means “pieces of bark,” although according to our analysis, you’d think it meant “pieces of paper,” as in money. That’s because Hockessin’s overall quality of life score was through the roof, with its median annual income of $125,319, its median home price of $445,900, and rent price of $2,350, the highest in the state. Hockessin’s crime rate was also worth bragging about, just 2,040 crimes per 100,000 people, making it the second-safest in this analysis.

4. New Castle (tie)

New Castle, DE

Source: Flickr user Ron Cogswell

This city of just 5,373 residents scored major points in our analysis for its high number of amenities—places like Ioannoni’s Bullroasters, where, let’s be honest, the Italian roast pork sandwich is reason enough to move to new Castle. Delicious, tender pork aside, New Castle scored well over all for its quality of life, specifically, for its high median income of $57,693 and student-teacher ratio of 16 to 1. Of course, all of this, plus living among some of the most beautiful, historical sites in the state, comes at a price, and in New Castle, that price is in the cost of living: 102, where the national average is 100.

5. Pike Creek

Pike Creek, DE

Source: Google Maps

Pike Creek scored well in our analysis for its high quality of life score; the highest on our list, in fact. What’s so great about living in here? As residents would surely tell you, it’s not the cost of living (117, where the national average is 100), but it’s the low student-teacher ratio of just 16 to 1, the high median household income of $106,111, and the crime rate of just 2,335 crimes per 100,000 people. All of this certainly explains the high median home and rent prices, $339,100 and $1,538 respectively. It’s clearly worth the price.

6. Elsmere (tie)

Elsmere, DE

Source: Google Maps

From Easter egg hunts, parades, fireworks, a Christmas tree lighting and other holiday events to movies in the park in the summer, Elsmere is one of the most welcoming and family friendly places on our list. In our analysis, it may not have had the highest overall score for quality of life (due to the median household income and home price), but it more than made up for this with its lower than average cost of living, a 98, which is even low for New England standards. This certainly helped its ranking in the top 10; but where it really excelled was in its low commute time, an average of 23 minutes, and a crime rate of just 3,955 crimes per 100,000 people. So sure, perhaps it wasn’t within the top 10 for its quality of life in terms of numbers, but if we’d based our analysis off of parades, fireworks, and family fun, Elsmere would have taken the cake (probably the Halloween Spooktacular event’s cake). Why live elsewhere?

7. Edgmoor (tie)

Edgmoor, DE

Source: Google Maps

While this Census Designated Place may be seriously lacking in amenities, it made up for it for scoring well in quality of life overall. Besides, it’s practically in Wilmington, where there is plenty going on. As far as quality of life goes, Edgemoor scored well for its low cost of living—a 100 where the national average is 100 and the state’s average is 104. It also had a student-teacher ratio of just 16 to 1 and a high median rent price of $971, which shows us how desirable the area is.

8. Glasgow (tie)

Glasgow, DE

Source: Flickr user PhilyFn

While Glasgow had one of the highest costs of living in our analysis at 108, it still managed a very high score in quality of life overall. That’s because even though it is expensive with median home and rent prices of $273,700 and $1,163, respectively, residents here also get paid more than your average First Stater, with a median household income of $88,535—something that no doubt comes in handy each week at the Glasgow Farmer’s Market at the crown jewel of the city, the Glasgow Park. You can also rest easy spending your summers soaking up the sun or your winters sledding down Bear Mountain at the park, because Glasgow’s crime rate was way lower than average, with just 4,245 crimes per 100,000 people.

9. Wilmington Manor (tie)

Wilmington Manor, DE

Source: Google Maps

We’ll just pretend that Juliana’s Kitchen’s ceviche or the blackberry pancakes at Fresh Thymes Cafe are not reason enough to move to Wilmington Manor, so that we can go ahead and discuss our analysis. Just so you know, they are worth—if not moving for—at least paying a visit. Fresh fish and warm, gooey pancakes aside, Wilmington Manor’s 8,562 residents had a quality of life score high enough to rank it among the top 10, mostly due to its low cost of living of 98, where the national average is 100 and its median household income of $53,534. Of course, that’s no North Star income (which we’ll see in just a moment), but $53,534 is nothing to sneeze at—the median household income for the nation is $52,328. Wilmington Manor also scored well for its lower than average commute time, just 23 minutes, leaving our other No. 8 places in the dust.

10. North Star (tie)

North Star, DE

Source: Google Maps

Like many of the other small places on our list, North Star didn’t exactly win us over with its number of amenities—or, for that matter, for its high cost of living of 109. Where it did grab our attention (and that of our calculators, of course), was in its high quality of life score. To break this down for you, North Star had the highest median household income and median home price in our analysis, at $136,932 and  $449,500, respectively. Interestingly enough, while the home prices in North Star were through the roof , the rent prices were not very impressive, leaving us to believe that this family friendly, low crime (the lowest in our analysis) place is just more of a home buyer’s community.

Shine Bright Like Delaware

They don’t call Delaware the Diamond State for nothing. As we discovered in our latest analysis, there are plenty of gems throughout its admittedly small 2,488 square miles. With places like New Castle, Pike Creek, and Newark, it’s no (small) wonder that people are flocking to the Blue Hen State. Wow, for a state so small, you guys sure do have a lot of nicknames. Best Places In Delaware Featured Image Source: Bob Mical Like This Post? You’ll Definitely Love These: