The 9 Best Places to Retire in Delaware

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If you’re like many individuals, you’ve probably spent years envisioning what your retirement will look like. You’ll finally have time for all the hobbies you’ve been talking about for years. You won’t have to report to a boss or arrive at the same job day in and day out.

While picturing your retirement, you may have also thought about where you’ll spend your golden years. There is certainly no shortage of retirement-friendly cities, many of which you can find in Delaware. Keep reading to learn what makes Delaware a good place to retire and the top 9 cities to retire in Delaware.

Is Delaware a Good Place to Retire?

Delaware has plenty to offer retirees. In fact, it consistently ranks among the best cities to retire. First, Delaware is known for its laidback lifestyle. Its proximity to the coast gives the state a beachy vibe filled with relaxation, country vineyards, beautiful estates, and outdoor adventure.

Delaware also offers a little bit of everything. Whether you prefer indoor entertainment like museums or outdoor entertainment like hiking and kayaking, you can find a region of Delaware that’s perfect for you to settle down in. It has three distinctly different regions, each of which has something unique to offer.

Finally, Delaware has financial benefits, which are often at the top of the list for retirees. Despite its above-average cost of living, the state is very tax-friendly. There is no state or local sales tax, nor does the state tax Social Security income, which isn’t the case in many states. Finally, Delaware has a lower property tax rate than many other states, especially in the northeast.

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The Top 9 Cities to Retire in Delaware

1. Wilmington

Population: 70,750
% of Population Above 65:4%
Median Home Value: $303,367
Cost of Living (Compared to the National Average): 5% higher
Cost of Healthcare (Compared to the National Average): 19% higher
Crime Rate (Compared to the National Average): 126% higher
Amenities Score: A+

Wilmington is the largest city in Delaware. It’s located in the very northern part of the state along the Christina and Delaware rivers. The city offers plenty for its residents to do. It’s known for its historic estates that are reminiscent of its French legacy. You can experience the city’s top attractions such as its museums, parks, riverwalk, opera house, and more.

Despite its overall above-average cost of living, Wilmington has a median home price that’s lower than the national average, making it easier for retirees to buy their forever homes there. However, healthcare in Wilmington is more expensive than in most places, and it also has an above-average crime rate.

2. Newark

Population: 31,155
% of Population Above 65:3%
Median Home Value: $324,302
Cost of Living (Compared to the National Average): 20% higher
Cost of Healthcare (Compared to the National Average): 19% higher
Crime Rate (Compared to the National Average): 10% lower
Amenities Score: A+

Newark is a small Delaware city located in the far northwestern corner of the state, right on the border of Maryland. The city is known for its beautiful outdoor spaces. It sits on the Newark Reservoir, which offers some of the city’s beautiful views. It has plenty of parks, including the local Rittenhouse Park, the university’s botanical gardens, and its nearby state park.

Like much of Delaware, Newark has a cost of living that’s higher than the national average, and that includes above-average healthcare costs. However, the city enjoys a low crime rate and housing costs that are lower than the national average.

3. Dover

Population: 38,992
% of Population Above 65:7%
Median Home Value: $301,291
Cost of Living (Compared to the National Average): 5% higher
Cost of Healthcare (Compared to the National Average): 6% lower
Crime Rate (Compared to the National Average): 108% higher
Amenities Score: A+

Dover is the capital of Delaware and is the second-largest city in the state by population. Dover has a rich history, which is evident in its museums and other historical sites. It’s also home to the Dover Air Base and the Dover International Speedway, which hosts NASCAR races. Like other parts of the state, Dover also has access to outdoor recreation that includes parks, a nearby wildlife refuge, and its close proximity to the Delaware River.

Dover has several other perks that specifically seniors will enjoy. For example, it has both housing and healthcare costs that are lower than the national average. That being said, the city’s overall cost of living is a bit higher than the national average, as is its crime rate.

4. Milford

Population: 12,272
% of Population Above 65:3%
Median Home Value: $307,127
Cost of Living (Compared to the National Average): 4% higher
Cost of Healthcare (Compared to the National Average): 6% lower
Crime Rate (Compared to the National Average): 103% higher
Amenities Score: A+

Milford is a small city located in Kent and Sussex Counties in the central part of Delaware. Milford has plenty to offer its residents, including several nature centers, a thriving local art scene, and its popular brewery. It’s also just minutes from the Delaware Bay, giving residents each beach access.

Milford residents enjoy both housing and healthcare costs that are lower than the national average. There’s also nearly one-quarter of the population that’s 65 or older, meaning retirees will have an easy time finding a strong community. That being said, Milford’s overall cost of living and crime rate are both higher than the national average.

5. Middletown

Population: 24,164
% of Population Above 65:6%
Median Home Value: $481,066
Cost of Living (Compared to the National Average): 18% higher
Cost of Healthcare (Compared to the National Average): 6% lower
Crime Rate (Compared to the National Average): 10% lower
Amenities Score: A+

Middletown is a small Delaware city in New Castle County. It’s located in the northern part of the state, not far from Maryland on one side and the Delaware River on the other. Middletown has several local parks for its residents to enjoy, as well as the Middletown Historical Museum. The city is also known for its Dutch Country Farmers Market.

Middletown is one of the more expensive cities on our list. It has housing costs and an overall cost of living that are both above the national average. However, it also boasts below-average healthcare costs, a large senior population, and a low crime rate.

6. New Castle

Population: 5,499
% of Population Above 65: 22%
Median Home Value: $249,915
Cost of Living (Compared to the National Average): 11% higher
Cost of Healthcare (Compared to the National Average): 19% higher
Crime Rate (Compared to the National Average): 54% higher
Amenities Score: A+

New Castle is a very small Delaware city in New Castle County, located just six miles south of Wilmington and along the Delaware River. In addition to the views and recreation the river provides, New Castle residents also have plenty of parks and beaches to enjoy. The city is also known for the New Castle Farmers Market and the New Castle Court House Museum.

New Castle has a small population, nearly one-quarter of which is made up of individuals 65 and older. It also offers affordable housing to its residents. However, the city has a crime rate, healthcare costs, and overall cost of living that are higher than the national average.

7. Seaford

Population: 8,250
% of Population Above 65:9%
Median Home Value: $278,503
Cost of Living (Compared to the National Average): 1% higher
Cost of Healthcare (Compared to the National Average): 6% lower
Crime Rate (Compared to the National Average): 177% higher
Amenities Score: A

Seaford is a small Delaware city located in the southern part of the state in Sussex County. It’s located right on the Nanticoke River, which provides much of its recreation. Seaford also has plenty of outdoor recreation that includes nearby nature preserves and trails, as well as a popular museum and the Governor Ross Mansion.

Seaford has affordable housing and healthcare, and a cost of living that’s roughly in line with the national average. It also has a large senior population. Unfortunately, it does have a crime rate that’s considerably higher than the national average, despite its small size.

8. Georgetown

Population: 7,413
% of Population Above 65:2%
Median Home Value: $315,656
Cost of Living (Compared to the National Average): 7% higher
Cost of Healthcare (Compared to the National Average): 6% lower
Crime Rate (Compared to the National Average): 79% higher
Amenities Score: A-

Georgetown is the county seat of Sussex County and is located in the southern part of the state. The city, which is known as “The Historic Jewel of Sussex County,” has a rich history, which residents can learn about and enjoy through its historical buildings, horse drawn carriages, and its local museum. Georgetown is also located near the Redden State Forest, giving its residents easy access to outdoor recreation.

Like many of the cities on our list, Georgetown offers its residents affordable housing and healthcare. However, it also has a crime rate and overall cost of living that are higher than the national average.

9. Hockessin

Population: 13,478
% of Population Above 65:3%
Median Home Value: $564,542
Cost of Living (Compared to the National Average): 43% higher
Cost of Healthcare (Compared to the National Average): 19% higher
Crime Rate (Compared to the National Average): 61% lower
Amenities Score: A+

Hockessin is a small census-designated place within New Castle County in the very northern part of the state. In fact, the community sits right on the Delaware-Pennsylvania border. Hockessin residents enjoy the best of both worlds. First, it’s located just outside of the large city of Wilmington, meaning residents have access to just about every amenity they could want. However, it’s a small town that offers plenty of outdoor recreation in the form of local parks, hiking trails, state parks, and nature areas.

Hockessin is one of the most expensive communities on our list, with housing costs, healthcare costs, and an overall cost of living that are higher than the national average. However, Hockessin also has a large senior population — nearly one-quarter of its residents are 65 and older — and a very low crime rate.

Our Take

If you’re still deciding where you’ll spend your retirement, Delaware is worth adding to the list. The state has plenty to offer, and it’s easy to see why it’s consistently ranked one of the best states to retire.

But when you’re planning for retirement, where you’ll live shouldn’t be the only thing on your mind. It’s also important to make sure you’re financially prepared. The Personal Capital Retirement Planner can help you determine how much you’ll need to retire, tell you whether you’re on track, and identify how much you should save each month to reach your retirement goals.

Get Started with Personal Capital’s Free Financial Tools

Author is not a client of Personal Capital Advisors Corporation and is compensated as a freelance writer.

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