Moving to Delaware

So, you're considering making the big move to Delaware? Great choice! This lovely state - affectionately known as the "First State" - will enchant you with its rich history, splendid landscapes, and a harmonious blend of charming small towns and bustling cities. As you start envisioning your new life in Delaware, you're bound to have questions and curiosities. Fear not, intrepid explorer, for our comprehensive Delaware relocation guide is here to unravel the mysteries and joys of your future home. Buckle up, and let's embark on this exciting journey together!

Moving to Delaware landscape image

What to Know Before Moving to Delaware

1. Beaches, Beaches, Beaches

One of the first things that should be mentioned about Delaware is its amazing beaches. The state, nicknamed the “Diamond State,” boasts over 30 miles of coastline along the Atlantic Ocean, with Rehoboth Beach and Dewey Beach being some of the beaches most frequented by visitors and residents, most of them pet-friendly. Even better, many are within just a short distance of Delaware’s inland cities. So whether you’re planning a day trip or living steps away from the shoreline, the beach will never be too far away.

2. It’s All About Tax-Free Living

Did someone say tax-free living?! You read that right – residents of Delaware do not have to pay any state or local sales tax on their purchases. This alone makes Delaware an attractive destination for retirees and those looking to stretch their dollar a little further. Additionally, the state has low property and income taxes, allowing residents to keep more of their hard-earned money. This tax-free lifestyle is often cited as a major factor in the decision to move to Delaware, providing the perfect shopping paradise.

3. A Rich Colonial and Early American History

If history is your cup of tea, then Delaware just might be the place for you. As one of the original 13 colonies, Delaware played a significant role in the United States’ early history. The city of New Castle, located just outside of Wilmington, holds a treasure trove of colonial-era architecture, including the Old New Castle Courthouse. Also nearby is the acclaimed Winterthur Museum, Garden, and Library, which houses one of the nation's finest collections of Americana. As the first state to ratify the U.S. Constitution, Delaware is filled with historical landmarks and attractions for both history buffs and casual explorers alike.

4. Unique Culinary Delights

Among the lesser-known facts about Delaware is some of its distinct local cuisine. Scrapple, a breakfast dish made out of pork scraps and cornmeal, is a popular Delawarean staple that originated in the mid-1800s. Another must-try Delaware dish is slippery dumplings, a variation on the classic chicken and dumplings dish popular in many parts of the country. Also, be sure to grab a soft pretzel from Philly Pretzel Factory or a stuffed pretzel from the Amish market. Let's just say that moving to Delaware will not disappoint the foodie in you!

5. A Prime Location for Day Trips and Weekend Getaways

Delaware’s location on the East Coast places it in an opportune spot for easy day trips and weekend getaways. Living in the northern part of Delaware means you're only a short drive away from cities like Philadelphia, New York City, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C. Atlantic City is also just about a two-hour drive from Wilmington, making it the perfect getaway for those looking to explore the exciting nightlife and shopping venues. The opportunities for spontaneous adventures and weekend explorations are endless when you make Delaware your home.

6. The Whispering Giants

As you make your way around the state, you may stumble upon some unique, towering wooden sculptures of Native Americans peering out over Delaware's landscape. These sculptures, known as the Whispering Giants, are part of a collection by artist Peter “Wolf” Toth, who has installed similar statues in all 50 states. In Delaware, one of these sculptures is located at the Nanticoke Indian Museum, the only Native American museum in the state. The Whispering Giants offer visitors a captivating and somewhat mysterious glimpse into the state's Native American heritage, and serve as a reminder of Delaware’s connection to its past.

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Pros and Cons of Living in Delaware

Pros of Living in Delaware

Low taxes and cost of living

Delaware is well-known for its low taxes, with no sales tax on goods and services, low property taxes, and relatively low income tax rates. This contributes to a lower overall cost of living compared to the national average, making it more affordable for residents to purchase homes and enjoy a higher quality of life.

Close proximity to major cities

Located in the northeastern region of the United States, Delaware provides easy access to a variety of major cities such as Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington D.C., and New York City. This makes it convenient for residents to commute to work, visit attractions, or travel for leisure without having to give up the perks of small-town living.

Beautiful beaches and outdoor recreation

The state of Delaware is home to several beautiful beaches, including Rehoboth Beach, Bethany Beach, and Dewey Beach, which offer a variety of outdoor recreational activities for residents to enjoy. The state also boasts several state parks and scenic trails, making it an ideal location for nature enthusiasts and outdoor lovers.

Rewarding job opportunities

Delaware offers a diverse and stable job market with prominent industries such as healthcare, finance, and pharmaceuticals. Companies like DuPont, Bank of America, and AstraZeneca provide rewarding job opportunities for residents, supporting economic growth and stability in the state.

Rich history and cultural attractions

As the first state to ratify the U.S. Constitution, Delaware boasts a rich history and offers many historical sites and cultural attractions for residents to explore. From picturesque historic towns like New Castle and Lewes to museums and the renowned Winterthur Estate, history buffs can immerse themselves in these unique experiences.

Cons of Living in Delaware

Higher than average crime rate

Delaware has a higher than average crime rate when compared to the national average, particularly in certain urban areas such as Wilmington. While many communities remain relatively safe, potential residents should carefully research neighborhoods and crime statistics before deciding where to live.

Lack of diversity in public transport

Though Delaware offers some public transportation options, such as the Delaware Area Regional Transit (DART) and SEPTA regional rail, the coverage isn't extensive throughout the state. As a result, many residents rely on personal cars to travel to work or other locations, potentially contributing to traffic congestion and increased commute times.

Increased risk of natural disasters

Delaware is situated along the Atlantic Ocean, which may increase the risk of natural disasters such as hurricanes, coastal flooding, and severe storms. Residents should factor in the potential for property damage and the additional cost of insurance when considering moving to the state.

Relatively small state with limited options

As the second smallest state in the U.S., Delaware may not offer the same variety of experiences, entertainment, or urban centers found in larger states. Residents looking for an extensive range of dining, shopping, or cultural options may feel somewhat limited when compared to more metropolitan areas.

Social challenges in certain areas

Delaware, like any state, faces social challenges in certain areas such as poverty, drug addiction, and unemployment. Prospective residents should be aware of these issues when considering relocating, as community resources and support may vary depending on the location within the state.

Nighttime picture of Delaware highlighting pros and cons of living in Delaware

Is Delaware a Good State to Live In?

Delaware is a great place to live because of its low cost of living, quality schools, and beautiful beaches. Residents also enjoy its central location near major cities while experiencing a mix of urban and rural living in the charming small towns or bustling Wilmington metropolis.

What Is Delaware Famous For?

First State of the US

Delaware is affectionately known as "The First State" because it was the first state to ratify the US Constitution on December 7, 1787. Proud of its historical significance, Delaware even went on to name its popular state park – First State National Historical Park – after this notable achievement.

Tax Haven

Delaware is famous for its business-friendly tax environment, which attracts thousands of businesses to incorporate within its borders. With no sales tax and a corporate income tax that's generally lower than other states, it's no wonder major corporations like Google, PepsiCo, and Apple have chosen this tiny state as a hub for their business operations.

NASCAR in the First State

Sports fans might know Delaware for its affiliation with NASCAR, the popular American motorsports league. Every year, high-speed race enthusiasts flock to the state's very own Dover International Speedway, nicknamed "The Monster Mile," to watch exciting races and cheer on their favorite drivers in both the NASCAR Cup and Xfinity Series.

Delaware Beaches

Although it's the second smallest state in the country, Delaware is home to some of the most beautiful and family-friendly beaches on the US East Coast. Rehoboth Beach, Dewey Beach, and Bethany Beach are just a few of the charming coastal destinations that offer sandy shorelines, watersports, boardwalk entertainment, and sea-inspired memories for visitors and residents alike.

Capital building of Delaware in artistic rendering

Overview of Tax Rates

Property Tax

Delaware has one of the lowest property tax rates in the country, with an average rate of 0.54% in 2023. Compared to other states, Delaware ranks as the 5th least expensive state for property taxes.

Sales Tax

Residents in Delaware enjoy the benefit of no state sales tax, making it one of only five states with this policy. This sets Delaware apart from other states, enticing people to shop in Delaware and providing a competitive advantage to its businesses.

Income Tax

Delaware has a progressive state income tax system, with rates ranging from 2.2% to 6.6% on taxable income in 2023. While Delaware's income tax rates are higher than most states with flat tax rates, they are considered moderate in comparison to other states with progressive rates.

Housing Market

Delaware's housing market presents a balanced mix of options for both renters and buyers. The median home value is $274,449, which is relatively affordable compared to the national median of $281,370. The state features a more competitive rental market, with the median rent sitting at $1,400 per month. With relatively low property taxes and a solid appreciation rate, Delaware's housing market offers a budget-friendly alternative to neighboring states, making it a worthwhile consideration for those looking to settle in the Mid-Atlantic region.

Housing market analysis of Delaware

Cost of Living

Delaware's cost of living is relatively moderate compared to other states in the US. Its overall cost index is slightly below the national average, with affordable housing options and competitive utility expenses. While the state has a slightly more expensive healthcare and transportation costs, low property taxes and the absence of sales taxes make it an attractive option for residents seeking a balance between affordability and quality of life. As a result, Delaware stands as an appealing choice when compared to neighboring states with higher costs of living, such as New Jersey and Maryland.

Weather & Natural Disasters

Delaware is characterized by a moderate climate with a strong coastal influence, resulting in relatively mild temperatures, medium humidity, and variable precipitation. Generally, Delaware experiences four distinct seasons, with hot and humid summers, featuring average temperatures around 86°F (30°C), and cold winters, with temperatures averaging around 32°F (0°C). Rainfall is fairly consistent throughout the year, totaling approximately 45 inches (1143 mm) annually, with the spring and summer months being the wettest.Delaware's location along the Atlantic seaboard makes it vulnerable to tropical storms and hurricanes between June and November, although direct hits from major hurricanes are relatively rare. Flooding can be a concern due to the abundance of rivers and low-lying land. Additionally, the state experiences occasional tornadoes, with most occurring during the spring and summer months when severe thunderstorms are likely. While natural disasters are a part of Delaware's climate, the state's overall mild and diverse weather patterns contribute to its appeal and charm.

Economy & Job Market

Financial services

Chemicals and pharmaceuticals

Healthcare and biotechnology

Agriculture and food processing

Transportation and logistics

Delaware's economy has seen quite the transformation over the years, blossoming from its agricultural roots into a thriving financial and chemical hub. Historically known as the land of peach trees (yes, really!), this small but mighty state now boasts a diverse economy backed by its booming financial services sector, vibrant chemicals and pharmaceuticals industry, and innovative healthcare and biotechnology scene. To top it off, its strategic location along the Atlantic coast allows for a flourishing transportation and logistics sector, while still keeping in touch with its agrarian past through its prospering agriculture and food processing industry.

If you're planning on tossing your hat into Delaware's mini-metropolis job market, you're in luck! With consistently low unemployment rates, this gem of a state offers ample opportunities for job seekers. Financial services reign supreme, so the bustling cities of Wilmington and Newark are fertile grounds for those seeking employment in this sector. On the other hand, if you have a knack for science and research, you might find your calling in the state's flourishing healthcare and biotechnology industries. And let's not forget about the agricultural sector; after all, Delaware is still known as the "Home of Tax-Free Shopping" and boasts a number of shopping centers where you can enjoy your fruits (and vegetables) quite literally!

Traffic and Transportation

Oh, Delaware, where the ocean meets the city, and the skyline greets the shore! Navigating this small but mighty state can be a breeze if you know your way around. Busy bees in the big cities like Wilmington and Dover typically spend 25-30 minutes buzzing around during their daily commute. While not as lightning-fast as a superhero, these times are definitely manageable for anyone on the go!

When it comes to public transportation, DART (Delaware Transit Corporation) has got you covered like an umbrella in a rainstorm! It operates nearly 60 fixed bus routes in the state, which means it’s never too hard to get from point A to B. Plus, you can ride the SEPTA train from Wilmington to Philly when you need a bigger city adventure!

For those with a touch of wanderlust, air travel through Delaware might bring you to Delaware Coastal Airport or Wilmington Airport. Whether you're jetting off to tropical paradises or heading home to nest, Delaware's got your transportation needs sorted. And remember, you're only a few hours away from the hubs at Philadelphia and Baltimore-Washington airports!

What is the traffic like in Delaware?

Things to Do

Delaware may be small in size, but the state offers a bounty of activities and attractions that are sure to delight new residents and visitors alike. Whether you already have a home in the Diamond State or are contemplating a move, these seven must-see spots are the perfect places to start your Delaware adventure!

1. Rehoboth Beach

Start your Delaware experience by dipping your toes into the sand at Rehoboth Beach. This beloved coastal destination boasts a clean, expansive shoreline perfect for sunbathing, swimming, and more. When you tire of the sun, take a stroll along the mile-long boardwalk, offering popular eats, shopping, and attractions such as Funland, an amusement park ideal for families.

2. Nemours Estate

If world-class architecture and gardens are on your must-see list, Nemours Estate in Wilmington is not to be missed. Built by Alfred I. DuPont in 1909, this 77-room mansion features exquisite French-inspired architecture and stunningly landscaped grounds. Inside, explore rooms filled with antiques, tapestries, and fine artwork, while outside, meander through the lush gardens, past serene reflecting pools, and toward the Chauffeur's Garage, home to a collection of vintage automobiles.

3. Winterthur Museum, Garden, and Library

For a unique look into American history, explore the Winterthur Museum, Garden, and Library. Originally the home of Henry Francis du Pont, this 175-room estate now houses an unparalleled collection of American decorative arts spanning over two centuries. After touring the museum, wander through the 60-acre naturalistic garden or explore the massive research library, where you can learn about American art, culture, and history.

4. The Mezzanine Gallery

Art enthusiasts will be delighted to discover the Mezzanine Gallery in downtown Wilmington. This hidden gem, located in the Carvel State Office Building, showcases the works of Delaware-based artists in monthly rotating exhibits. Best of all, it's free to visit, so you can get your art fix without breaking the bank.

5. Woodside Farm Creamery

Take a break from sightseeing, and indulge in a scoop (or three) of homemade ice cream at Woodside Farm Creamery. A family-run dairy farm in Hockessin since 1796, Woodside crafts premium ice cream using the milk from their very own Jersey cows. With unique flavor options like lavender honey and black raspberry chocolate chip, there's no better way to satisfy your sweet tooth in Delaware.

6. Visit a DuPont Powder Mill

Delve into the explosive history of the DuPont family's gunpowder empire at the Hagley Museum and Library. Tucked along the scenic Brandywine River, this historic site was once home to the first DuPont black powder mill, dating back to the early 1800s. Experience live demonstrations of gunpowder productions and visit the worker's community that once lived on site, all while absorbing the natural beauty of the area.

7. Delaware's Delicious Coastal Dishes

One of the best parts about living near the coast is the access to fresh, mouthwatering seafood. Indulge in savory dinners like Dover sole and steamed blue crabs, or satisfy your appetite with scrapple, a Delaware favorite made from scraps of pork mixed with cornmeal. Cap off your gastronomic tour with a glass of the state's finest local brews, such as Dogfish Head or Fordham & Dominion.

In conclusion, Delaware offers a treasure trove of experiences just waiting to be discovered. From coastal beaches and historical mansions to quirky art galleries and delectable dining options, there's no shortage of adventures to be had in the Diamond State. So get out there, explore, and welcome to your new home!

Things to do in Delaware?

Find Movers for Your Delaware Relocation

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