8 Best Places to Live in Delaware for Families

Written By Emma Johnson

Planning to move to Delaware with your family and cannot decide where to live? Here are some of the best places to live in the state to consider.

1. Delaware – The First State

Delaware, also known as the First State, was the first state to join the Union on December 7, 1787, by ratifying the U.S. Constitution. 

This state is located in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States, bordering Maryland in the south and the west, New Jersey (and the Atlantic Ocean) to the east, and Pennsylvania to the North.

The town is named after the Delaware River and is known for its vibrant and charming cities and towns, filled with rich rural communities.

The smallest state in the US, Delaware, has only three counties (Castle, Kent, and Sussex). The state’s economy relies heavily on chemical manufacturing, including pharmaceuticals, industrial chemicals, and plastics; Delaware is also the Chemical Capital of the World. 

2. Which Are the Ideal Places to Live in Delaware?

Wilmington is one of the best places to live in Delaware. There are 12 great locations in Wilmington, making it the number one choice for families. Newark, Dover, Lewes, Middletown, Lewes, Rehoboth Beach, and Bellefonte are great places to live.

Here is the final list of the best places to live for families in Delaware:

2.1 Wilmington 

  • Median home price: $173,500
  • Median rent: $1030
  • Population: 70,655
  • Median household income: $45,139
  • Owned to rented homes ratio:  44:56

About Wilmington: 

Wilmington is the largest, most populous city in Delaware. The city is nestled at the Christina River and Brandywine River confluence. With a population of 69,293, Wilmington is densely populated, with 6,355 people per square mile. The county seat of New Castle offers a wide choice of more than 50 distinct neighborhoods and no less than nine designated historic districts to live in. 

Wilmington consistently ranked for most criteria because of the options available in locations with great amenities. The Triangle, The Highlands, Forty Acres, Wawaset Park, Pike Creek, Trolley Square, Lower Highlands, Happy Valley, Midtown Brandywine, Little Italy, and West Hill ranked as the most sought-after places to stay with low crime rates.

Wilmington ranked highly on the list of safest places to stay in Delaware, as well as locations with the best schools and colleges, good healthcare, and affordability.  It was # 1 on the list regarding best schools and affordable living. 

Here’s a list of the top schools, colleges, and hospitals in Wilmington:

Top Schools in WilmingtonTop Colleges in WilmingtonTop Hospitals in Wilmington
Charter School of WilmingtonDrexel UniversitySelect Specialty Hospital
Cab Calloway School of the Arts University of DelawareSt. Francis Hospital
Conrad Schools of ScienceGoldey-Beacom CollegeWilmington Veterans Affairs Medical Center
Mot Charter SchoolNemours Children’s Hospital
Mount Pleasant High School 
Concord High School 

According to several publications, Wilmington is one of the top cities in the United States for retirees. This location is ideal for walking, hiking, and biking, with many parks. Alapocas Run State Park is ideal for camping adventures. Then there’s Brandywine Zoo, two theaters, and several museums for those looking for more entertainment. 

Wilmington Riverfront is a popular destination for entertainment, cultural events, and nightlife. 

Let’s look at the best places to stay for families in Wilmington.

2.1.1 Forty Acres

  • Median Home Price: $401,648
  • Median rent: $1,761
  • Median Household income: $128,864
  • Population: 1,649
  • Owned to rented homes ratio: 3:1

Considered one of the best locales to live in Delaware, Forty Acres is a small neighborhood with a population of 1,649 and a dense suburban feel.

Up to 75% of homes are owned, and only 25% are rented in Forty Acres. Most residents tend to lean liberal, and the area boasts many bars, restaurants, coffee shops, and parks.

The median home price here is $401,648, while the median rent is $1,761. Though the prices are slightly higher, the extensive attractions make it a worthwhile investment.

Crime, unemployment, and poverty are almost nonexistent here in Forty Acres. In addition, schools are excellent in this neighborhood.

The average median income is $128,864, and the location has great access to many amenities, including safe streets, shopping, and good nightlife. Being a small place, the community is understandably close-knit but welcoming.

2.1.2 Wawaset Park

  • Average home price: $399,333
  • Median rent: $1,774
  • Median household income: $141,645
  • Population: 472
  • Owned to rented homes ratio: 91:9

A planned community with a park-like setting, and a national historic district, Wawaset Park is located on the western edge of Wilmington. The area has single-family houses, semi-detached, and row houses. It has 321 contributing buildings (a contributing property is any structure that adds to the architectural qualities or historical integrity that make the historic district significant), of which 110 are garages, and 1 is a contributing structure. 

This neighborhood is rated highly and is one of the best neighborhoods in Wilmington to raise a family. Wawaset Park is a small community of 472 people with a non-existent crime rate. The residents have a median income of $141,645.

Regarding real estate, the average home price in Wawaset Park is $399,333. With curvilinear streets and ample lawns, Wawaset Park has a suburban feel within the city. Its architecture boasts Georgian mansions and Tudor cottages with elements of the Picturesque and Gothic styles.

There are a lot of parks here. Young professionals and retirees abound in this area, and residents tend to lean conservative. 

Public schools in Wawaset Park are highly rated, including Cab Calloway School of the Arts, Conrad Schools of Science, and Alexis L. du Pont High School. Location-wise, Wawaset Park is a quiet place. It is far from the hobnob of downtown’s commercial area, and the neighborhood is essentially residential. With an A+ safety ranking, it is also known to be one of the safest neighborhoods in Wilmington.

2.1.3 The Highlands

  • Median home price range: $444,294
  • Median rent: $1,365
  • Median household income: $94,704
  • Population: 825
  • Owned to rented homes ratio: 84:16

Located between Pennsylvania Avenue and Delaware Avenue and centered on 18th Street southeast of Rockford Park, the Highlands is an upscale community.

It is the perfect mix of recreation, shopping, and art. The neighborhood is well known for the Delaware Art Museum, home to the world’s most extensive collection of pre-Raphaelite art. Plus, the residents here love to spend time at Rockford Park and Ciro Forty Acres. 

The location has only a few newer constructions. It primarily showcases brick townhouses built in the 1890s and grand stone homes from the 1920s. You will find a wide range of homes here, from mid-$300,000s for a semi-detached house to stately mansions priced at more than $2 million. 

Most destinations in this neighborhood are easily reachable on foot or by bike.

In addition, the Highlands has a combination of good restaurants, beautiful trails, and parks and has easy access to major metropolitan areas. Schools serving the area include Highlands Elementary School, Brandywine Springs School, Tower Hill School, and duPont Middle School. 

2.1.4 Trolley Square

  • Median Home Price: $337,684
  • Median rent: $1,324
  • Median household income: $81,995
  • Population: 487
  • Owned to rented homes ratio: 32:68

Trolley Square is a close-knit, friendly community ideal for families and young professionals. 

Although it is an old neighborhood northwest of Wilmington’s central business district, Trolley Square is a millennial hotspot. 

It lies between Pennsylvania Avenue, Harrison Street, Lovering Avenue, and the CSX Transportation railroad tracks. Trolley Square has easy access to the attractions of Wilmington and good job opportunities. 

Housing is affordable, and the location has a dense urban feel. Most residents here rent their accommodation, and there are many restaurants, bars, coffee shops, and parks; literally, everything is within walking distance. There is good public transportation to downtown Wilmington, just a 5-minute drive.

In addition, Philadelphia is a 30-minute drive, or you can also go via the nearby Amtrak station. 

Trolley Square is Wilmington’s hub for nightlife and entertainment and is an all-day gathering place for people living in the city. Trolley residents are blessed with peace and safety.

Source: 1

The public schools serving Trolley Square are highly rated. These include Cab Calloway School of the Arts, Conrad School of Science, Alexis l. Du Pont High School, Skyline Middle School, and Highlands Elementary School.

2.1.5 Lower Highlands

  • Median Home Price:  $356,401
  • Median rent: $1,366
  • Median Income: $112,073
  • Population: 1,668
  • Owned to rented homes ratio: 68:32

Home prices in Lower Highlands may be steep, but it’s worth every penny. With a booming job market and a median income of $112,073, servicing a mortgage or rent payment doesn’t seem too difficult here. In addition, Lower Highlands has an excellent range of amenities offering great recreational pursuits.

While the unemployment and poverty rates are negligible, crime rates are low in this neighborhood. Families with children can find good schools here in Lower Highlands. 

Public schools servicing this location include Cab Calloway School of the Arts, Conrad Schools of Science, Alexis I. DuPont High School, Skyline Middle School, and Highlands Elementary School. Private schools include Tower Hill School, Wilmington Friends School, Archmere Academy, Sanford School, and The Tatnall School.

Renters may find it challenging to search for a home in Lower Highlights, as only 27 percent of homes are rented out.

2.1.6 Happy Valley

  • Median home value: $212,484
  • Median Rent: $1,099
  • Median income: $70,408
  • Population: 444
  • Owned to rented homes ratio: 31:69

Happy Valley is close to Wilmington and has easy commuting access to amenities like top-rated schools, bars, restaurants, coffee shops, and parks. The streets are safe and clean. 

Think of this place as a small collection of late 19th-century row houses on the southeastern slope of Brandywine Park. The neighborhood lies between Adam’s Street, Van Buren Street (I-95), Wawaset Street, and Gilpin Avenue and has modern townhouses built in the 1970s.

Source: 2, 3

If you want a large home, you may find this area pricey as the mid-sized homes here are competitively priced. All the same, Happy Valley is attracting a lot of interest from buyers. 

You will find small (studio to two-bedroom) to medium-sized (three or four-bedroom) apartment complexes/high-rise apartments and townhomes in Happy Valley. It should be easy for renters to search for homes here as 69% of them are rented out. 

Schools serving this neighborhood include Lewis (William C.) Dual Language Elementary School, Dupont (Alexis I.) High School, Skyline Middle School, and Shortlidge (Evan G.) Academy.

2.1.7 Midtown Brandywine

  • Median home price: $261,502
  • Median rent: $970
  • Median income: $48,837
  • Population: 762
  • Owned to rented homes ratio: 27:73

One of the most affordable places in Delaware, Midtown Brandywine is a highly desirable little neighborhood. The location is blessed with a low crime rate. It has a diverse community and a total population of 762. Midtown Brandywine has excellent commuting access, and the prices of homes here are rising. 

This small, tight-knit community with Victorian-era brick homes is near Wilmington Hospital. Most amenities are within walking distance. 

If you enjoy the charm of an old home, this is the place for you – full of architectural delights such as interior transom windows, arched doorways, carved wood corbels, not to mention homes with small enclosed courtyards.

Situated on the banks of Brandywine River, this neighborhood is bordered by North Washington Street, North French Street, East 11th Street, and South Park Drive. Midtown Brandywine is surrounded by the Hercules building, a neighborhood-adopted pocket park, Brandywine Park, and Fletcher Brown Park. Several popular restaurants and eateries are located in this neighborhood. It is also home to the famous Little Church (The Old Presbyterian Church).

Renters will find it easy to search for homes here as 73% of homes are rented out. 

Job opportunities are good, and the area is generally safe and clean. Its top public schools and low crime rates make Midtown Brandywine the ideal place for families with children. This location is more family-friendly than 96.3% of neighborhoods in the entire state of Delaware. 

Source: 4

2.1.8. Highland

  • Median home price: $414,000
  • Median income: $78,194
  • Population: 1,203

Not to be confused with The Highlands mentioned earlier, residents in Highland boast of the best quality of life in the state. In addition, it has a low crime rate and some excellent schools. 

No wonder homes are priced a little higher, with the median home price being $414,000. Highland has a below-average rate of unemployment and poverty and a rich and diverse job market.  Most households here have a comfortable median income of $78,194, considering that the national average is just $55,322.

2.1.9. Little Italy

  • Median Home Price:  $180,731
  • Median rent: $1,126
  • Median income:  $60,045
  • Population: 970
  • Owned to rented homes ratio: 47:53

Little Italy is characterized by a low crime rate and access to excellent schools such as Conrad School of Science and Cab Calloway School of the Arts. It has an urban-suburban mix feel and is an excellent place for families.

Its name comes from the fact that quite a few Italians who migrated to the United States between 1880 to 1924 settled in this location. So Little Italy is a close-knit community of second and third-generation Italian-American families. Little Italy borders 4th Street, Pennsylvania, Union Street, and Clayton Street. 

The tree-lined streets showcase colorful row houses with window awnings and porches. With a spate of restaurants that serve good Italian food, you can’t go hungry in this neighborhood.

The location has a low unemployment rate, and households here have a median income of $60,045, which is decent considering that housing is extremely affordable here, with the average cost of a home being $180,731. Renters will find it relatively easy to find homes since 53% of homes are rented here.

2.1.10. West Hill

  • Median Home Price: $194,585
  • Median Rent: $1,164
  • Median income: $54,973
  • Population: 1,802
  • Owned to rented homes ratio: 44:56

A neighborhood with a dense urban feel, West Hill is an affordable place for young professionals and families to invest in a decent-sized home. Though the median household income is only $58,705, the median home price is also on the lower side at $194,585, so paying a mortgage should not be a problem. Renters won’t find it challenging to find a home here, as 56% of homes are rented out. 

Those living in West Hill are within walking distance of restaurants, bars, coffee shops, and parks. This neighborhood is one of the most diverse in Wilmington and one of the best areas to buy a home in Delaware. This is a good place for families as some highly-rated public schools serve this area, such as Cab Calloway School of Arts, Conrad School of Science, Henry B. du Pont Middle School, Alexis L. du Pont High School, and Skyline Middle School.

Source: 5

2.1.11 The Triangle

  • Median Home Price: $268,232
  • Median Rent: $685
  • Median income: $67,822
  • Population: 2,401
  • Owned to rented homes ratio: 42:58

A nice mix of tidy, semi-detached homes, often in red brick or stone, The Triangle is a place with a diverse community. The Triangle gets its name because it is a group of homes built in the 1920s. The corresponding streets are along I-95, Baynard Boulevard, 18th Street, and Concord Avenue, loosely forming a triangle.

Though the median home price is $268,232, home prices here range from $230,000 to  $475,000, offering a wide range for people from different income backgrounds.

Between Brandywine Park and Route 202, the Triangle offers residents an urban feel with many coffee shops, restaurants, bars, and parks.

Residents tend to be liberal, with many young professionals and retirees living in the Triangle. The public schools serving the Triangle are highly rated. They include Cab Calloway School of Arts, Conrad School of Science, Lombardy Elementary School, Springer Middle School, and the John Dickinson School.

Also read: Freehold Vs Leasehold Property

2.2 Newark

  • Median home price: $277,700
  • Median rent: $1,282
  • Median income: $50,76
  • Population: 33,822
  • Owned to rented homes ratio: 53:47

Though Newark is Delaware’s third-largest and 4th most densely-populated city, it is one of the safest places to live. Newark is an education hub with a very young population considering it is home to the University of Delaware. This makes it the ideal place for singles and families with school-going children.

Some highly-rated public schools spend twice per student compared to the statewide average, including Newark Charter School, West Park Place Elementary School, John R Downes Elementary School, R. Elisabeth Maclary Elementary School, and Newark High School. It’s a college town where you can enjoy hiking, biking, and fishing at White Clay Creek Park. 

Compared to the Delaware average, the cost of living is high, and the median house costs $277,700. The median rent here is $1,282. Renters will not find it difficult to find a home here 47% of homes are let out. 

Newark has good healthcare with Christiana Care Hospitals, Bayhealth Kent General Hospital, and Rockford Center.

Source: 6, 7

The city has grown by about 7% since 2010 because of the massive demand for its educational facilities. Don’t be misled by the lower median household income since the median age here is 24, and most residents are students.

There are around seven elementary schools, a couple of middle schools, and three high schools serving Newark, in addition to Delaware School for the Deaf and the Newark Charter School.

Newark has great accessibility and is well-connected, considering several highways pass through the area. I-95 passes south of Newark on the tolled Delaware Turnpike and is the main highway through the northeast urban seaboard corridor.

Delaware Route 896 is the main north-south route, bypassing the University of Delaware campus to the west.

Delaware Route 72 runs north-south and bypasses Newark to the east, while other significant highways touching or passing through Newark include Delaware Route 273, Delaware Route 2, Delaware Route 4, and Delaware Route 279.

2.3 Dover

  • Median Home Price: $182,100
  • Median Rent: $1,066
  • Median income: $ 48,500
  • Population: 37,872
  • Owned to rented homes ratio: 48:52 

Dover is situated by the St. Jones River and is the Capital of Delaware. One of the safest areas to live in, given its low crime rate, it has some of the best schools, colleges, and hospitals in Delaware. Not to mention the affordable housing, with a median home price of $182,100. 

This, coupled with a low cost of living and a low employment rate, makes Dover an excellent place for families and one of the fastest-growing areas in the state. The state government is the largest employer here, and Dover has many amenities, such as good nightlife, a casino, great shopping locations, public parks, and multiple independent restaurants. 

There are many museums and even a children’s theater. Accessibility is good with a dependable public transportation system.

Home to Delaware State University and four other colleges, Dover has 37,872 residents. 

The average commute time is low at 20 minutes, making it an attractive place to live for families. 

Source: 8

2.4 Middletown

  • Median home price: $294,800
  • Median Rent: $1,311
  • Median income: $91,663
  • Population: 22,350
  • Owned to rented homes ratio: 77:23

A pedestrian-friendly locale, Middletown has homes built in the Victorian era. Everything is available in the immediate area. 

Middletown is a fast-growing area in Delaware. Many people from Wilmington, especially from nearby Philadelphia, are attracted to the many affluent housing developments around the town’s center. Significant events in Middletown include the Olde Tyme Peach Festival, the M.O.T. Big Ball Marathon, and the annual Hummers Parade. 

A low crime rate and excellent schools make it a great place for families with kids. Mot Charter School ranks 5th, and Appoquinimink High School ranks 8th among the top schools in Delaware. Health care is good, too, with Encompass Health Rehabilitation Hospital in Middletown being considered one of the best hospitals in Delaware. The Christiana Care Health System runs the Middletown Free-standing Emergency Department, which offers 24-hour emergency care.

The median household income of $91,663 makes the housing affordable – the median home price here is just $294,800.

2.5 Rehoboth Beach

Rehoboth Beach

  • Median home price: $1,147,600
  • Median rent: $1,269
  • Median income: $117,083
  • Population: 1,588
  • Owned to rented homes ratio: 82:18

Rehoboth Beach is one of the main cities of Delaware’s Cape Region. It is a small yet highly desirable neighborhood. 

The consistently calm weather and an excellent beachfront location result in some gorgeous scenery, not to mention the 5-star water quality rating for Rehoboth Public Beach. Add to that a range of retail outlets and cultural activities that attract home buyers despite the astounding median home price of $1,147,600. 

Rehoboth Beach ranks high when it comes to education and low unemployment rates. One of the safest places in Wilmington, this is a great place to live for families.  It has a great job market for young professionals.

Visitors flock here every year, with Rehoboth Beach accommodating some 25,000 visitors with the help of its many top-quality parks, a charming boardwalk, and the Funland amusement park. 

There is some great dining and live entertainment available downtown too.

This neighborhood is popular among retirees, with a median age of 64.

60% of residents here have a college degree, and over a quarter have a master’s degree or higher. Understandably, the unemployment rate here is a mere 2%, while the poverty rate is at 5.1%.

The crime rate is slightly concerning, though, with Rehoboth Beach clocking 187% above the national average. Violent crimes are 15% above the national average here. The silver lining is that the crime rate is down 25% yearly, and the situation is improving.

2.6 Lewes

Lewes- The best place to live in Delaware
  • Median home price: $612,700
  • Median rent: $1,099
  • Median income: $88,984
  • Population: 3,266
  • Owned to rented homes ratio: 86:14

The median home price of $612,700 is more than justified in Lewes, considering it is one of the most sought-after places to live, with reliable healthcare facilities and a good job market. It has everything you require within walking distance.

Known as the First Town in the First State, Lewes has a relaxed feel. The amenities include a library, Station on Kings, Agave, Raas, Puzzle Store, Canal Front Park, and Lewes Farmers Market. In addition, there is a local post office, award-winning restaurants, scenic waterways, still-quiet beaches, beautiful coastal state parks, Gordon’s Pond and Junction, and Breakwater trails.

Though 86% of the homes in Lewes are owned, the real estate inventory here is limited. Finding a home to rent would be even more difficult, considering only 14% availability. The median home price is more than half a million, but if you want restored homes, you must shell out a good million or more.

With a low unemployment rate (second lowest in the state) and low poverty rate, Rehoboth Beach is an ideal place for families that can afford this lifestyle. 

The education is top quality, with schools here spending twice as much per student as the Delaware average – resulting in award-winning schools, excellent test scores, and a higher graduation rate. 

2.7 Bellefonte

Bellefonte- The best place to live in Delaware
  • Median home value: $226,400
  • Median rent: $1,225
  • Median income: $78,167
  • Population: 1,109
  • Owned to rented homes ratio: 75:25

Wilmington’s quirky little sister, Bellefonte, was once connected to Wilmington by a trolley line and is situated roughly at the intersection of Brandywine Boulevard and Bellefonte Avenue. 

This is a close-knit community with a population of just 1,109. Renting a home can be difficult due to a low 25% availability rate.

Low taxes and affordable housing make Bellefonte attractive for families since the median home price is $226,400. Looking around, you can find some decent deals for about $120,000. 

Despite the affordability, Bellefonte does not compromise on safety or livability. The crime rate is low, and this is one of the safest places in Delaware

Some excellent schools serve Bellefonte, including Mount Pleasant High School, Pierre S. Dupont Middle School, and Mount Pleasant Elementary School. The job market is good, and the median household income is $78,167. 

In addition, there are many local amenities here, such as an art store, a cafe, few family-owned businesses that sell new and vintage items. Bellefonte was voted the second-best to buy a house in Delaware recently. 

2.8 Pike Creek

Pike Creek - The best place to live in Delaware
  • Median home price: $335,700
  • Median Rent: $1,798
  • Population: 6,987
  • Median Income: $121,750
  • Owned to rented homes ratio: 86:14

Pike Creek has a rural-suburban feel where most residents own their homes and have moderate political views. 

The total population of this location is a mere 8,740 making it a close-knit and welcoming community. Renting a home can be difficult due to a low 14% availability rate.. 

Pike Creek has excellent amenities and public services, making it one of the best places for families. For those with children, the public schools in Pike Creek are highly rated, with the top three schools in the district having an A ranking. Public schools serving Pike Creek include Cab Calloway School of Arts, Linden Hill Elementary School, Henry B. du Pont Middle School, Conrad School of Science, and North Star Elementary School. 

Based on crime maps, Pike Creek, one of the safest places in Delaware, is just an hour’s drive from Philadelphia. In addition to being safe, the city is much more affordable than most other areas in Delaware. Another attractive feature for families is the booming job market, resulting in a median household income of $121,750.

📖Also read: Worst Places to Live in Delaware

Final Thoughts

Wilmington seems to be one of the best places to live in Delaware for families, considering there are so many good neighborhoods in this city. 

Though the crime rate in some of these neighborhoods in Delaware has been a matter of concern, things have been improving over the years. 

Depending on your priorities – whether it is good healthcare, excellent schools, a good job market, or just a good place to retire, we hope you can make an informed decision based on the information provided. If you’re still wondering whether it’s a good idea to move to Delaware, then you should. Jobs in Delaware have increased by 2.4% over the last year, and employment growth over the next decade is projected to be 34%.

In addition, Delaware’s income tax is low, ranging from 0%-6%, and there are no sales taxes in Delaware. So what are you waiting for? Happy house hunting in Delaware!

Written By:

  • Emma is a residential and commercial agent in Delaware, known for her sharp negotiating skills & deep market knowledge. Off duty you will find her buried in novels and playing handball with her kids.

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