People are leaving 7 Delaware towns as quickly as possible

Delaware, despite its small size, is facing significant challenges that are causing residents to leave certain towns. From crime and economic struggles to educational shortfalls, this article delves into the multi-faceted issues plaguing seven Delaware towns and contributing to their declining populations.

1. Wilmington:

A City in Crisis Wilmington, Delaware’s largest city, has earned an unfortunate reputation as the “murder town” of the US, with a homicide rate of 35.9 per 100,000 residents in 2020. Beyond violent crime, Wilmington struggles with poverty, unemployment, drug abuse, and corruption. These factors combine to make it a less desirable place to live, despite being a populous urban area​​.

2. Dover:

Capital City with Complications As the state capital and second-largest city, Dover faces its own set of challenges. High crime rates are a significant issue, with 1,026 violent crimes and 4,462 property crimes reported in 2019. Economic difficulties are also apparent, with a median household income notably lower than the state average and underperforming schools adding to the city’s woes​​.

3. Seaford:

The Heroin Epidemic’s Epicenter Seaford, a small town in Sussex County, is battling a severe heroin epidemic, leading to a high number of overdose deaths and arrests. The town also suffers from a high poverty rate and economic struggles, with a low median household income and a high unemployment rate​​.

4. Laurel:

Crime and Poverty Concerns In Laurel, another small town in Sussex County, drugs and crime are major issues. The town has high crime and poverty rates, and like Seaford, its schools are underperforming. These factors contribute to an environment that is unattractive for residents​​.

5. Georgetown:

Economic and Safety Challenges Georgetown, the county seat of Sussex County, is not an exception. The town is facing high crime rates and significant economic challenges, with a high poverty rate and a median household income below the state average​​.

6. Milford:

Limited Opportunities Milford, spanning Kent and Sussex counties, is not providing much opportunity or quality of life to its residents. The town suffers from high crime rates and economic struggles, including a low median household income and mediocre school performance​​.

7. New Castle:

Historic Charm Lost to Crime New Castle, a historic town, is losing its appeal due to high crime rates and economic issues. The town’s median household income is lower than the state average, and its schools are struggling, which diminishes its attractiveness as a place to live​​.

Statewide Crime Concerns

Delaware has one of the highest crime rates in the US when considering violent and property crimes per 1,000 people. Specific towns like Laurel, Wilmington, and Seaford rank high in terms of violent and property crime rates​​.

Educational Shortcomings

A significant factor in the exodus from these towns is the educational challenges. An independent assessment of Delaware’s public education funding system has recommended major changes, suggesting that the current spending is insufficient based on student outcomes.

Recommendations include increasing spending, improving funding transparency, and implementing a weighted student formula for state education funding​​​​.

Economic Performance

Delaware’s economic performance also plays a role in these trends. The state is ranked 23rd in the US for its economic performance, with metrics like cumulative GDP growth, domestic migration, and non-farm employment growth influencing this ranking​​.


The towns in Delaware are experiencing a confluence of issues – high crime rates, economic struggles, and educational challenges – leading to a decline in their populations. Addressing these issues is crucial for reversing the trend and making these towns more livable and attractive for current and potential residents.

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