Claimed successively by Swedish, Dutch and English explorers before becoming the first state in America to ratify the US Constitution, Delaware’s history is long and rich, despite the fact that it’s the second smallest state overall. And with a tradition of agriculture and industry, as well as miles of seacoast and nature preserves, Delaware’s historical richness isn’t all it has to offer.
Moving to Delaware? The following tips will help you make your move to the First State a great new beginning.
You don’t need a moving permit when moving to DE.
Always listen to local radio stations when driving, so you get traffic updates and can avoid congestion if you know an alternative route. If your route includes a toll road or bridge, remember to be prepared and have the correct fee with you.
Check ahead of time to see if you need to take a ferry to your new home (this is a common reality when moving to Delaware). If so, make sure you don’t miss the last ferry after a long day of driving, and also allow yourself plenty of time in case there are delays at the terminal.
Some cities and towns can get really busy, so check parking restrictions and local calendars ahead of time.
Cities and Metro Areas
Moving to Delaware means moving to a state with a remarkable history and unique cities. From Dover, the picturesque state capital, and cosmopolitan Wilmington to historic New Castle and green Newark’s many parks, you can be sure to find a place to call home in the First State.
Other cities to consider are Harrington, home to the Delaware State Fair; Middletown, a rapidly growing bedroom community; and the less affluent yet tenacious Milford and Seaford.
And don’t forget Lewes and Rehoboth Beach, both upscale seaside resorts with excellent retail and recreation opportunities!
Cost of Living
The cost of living in Delaware is approximately 13.5 percent higher than the US average, yet it’s lower than most other states in the northeast of the country.
The average household income is $49,545, which ranks Delaware in the top 10 of the nation. One of the reasons for the comparatively low cost of living in Delaware is the fact that the state levies no sales taxes, nor any property taxes at the state level.
Even with housing, gas and food prices that are similar to those in other northeastern states, the state’s lack of taxation contributes significantly to the more affordable cost of living in Delaware.
Highways and Public Transport
When moving to Delaware, you’ll be pleased to know it has an extensive and very well-maintained infrastructure that includes roads, railroads and ferries.
The State of Delaware spends a large part of its budget maintaining 90 percent of the state’s roads, with only 10 percent being the responsibility of individual counties.
There are two toll roads and one toll bridge, so be prepared and bring enough change when moving to Delaware. For those who don’t want to drive to work after moving to Delaware, there’s a reliable public transportation system that connects all major urban areas.
- Roads: The I-95 is the only interstate highway in Delaware. There are a number of US Highways, as well as state routes and minor roads.
- Railroads: Amtrak provides passenger transportation along the Northeast Corridor and has two stations, one in Newark and one in Wilmington. SEPTA provides rapid transit between four cities, including Newark and Wilmington.
- Public Transportation: DART First State provides intracity and intercity bus transportation.
- Airports: If you’re moving to DE, you’ll find that the state doesn’t have any commercial airports. Residents usually rely on Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport and Philadelphia International Airport for both domestic and international air travel.
- Ferries: Three ferries operate in Delaware: the Cape May-Lewes Ferry, Woodland Ferry and Three First Ferry Crossing.
If you’re considering moving to Delaware, one of the most important things to consider is your income. Originally, Delaware jobs were predominantly in the agricultural sector, but today the majority of jobs in Delaware can be found in government, education and finance.
At the beginning of 2012, Delaware had an unemployment rate of 7.4 percent, which is 1 percent lower than the US average—relatively good news for those looking for jobs in Delaware!
If you’re moving to Delaware, you’re moving to a region that’s “partly cloudy” most of the time, due to the moderating influence of the Atlantic Ocean.
Fortunately, this also means that temperatures aren’t as extreme as in some other states. Average day temperatures in the summer are around 76 degrees Fahrenheit, while winter daytime temperatures hover around 31 degrees Fahrenheit.
The clouds bring precipitation: on average, so Bring your rain coat and winter jacket when moving to DE; the state sees almost 43 inches of rain per year, with 21 inches of snow.
Though the state only measures approximately 100 miles in length, there’s a significant difference between the north, which is cooler, and the south, which is milder.
There are some great educational institutions for students of all ages to attend after moving to Delaware. Here are some of the most notable schools in the state:
- Elementary Schools: Long Neck Elementary School in Millsboro, Major George S. Welch Elementary School in Dover and Linden Hill Elementary School in Wilmington
- High Schools: Cab Calloway School of the Arts in Wilmington, Appoquinimink High School in Middletown and Milford Senior High School in Milford
- Higher Education: Delaware State University, Delaware College of Art and Design, Wesley College and Widener University School of Law
Before moving to Delaware, visit Delaware.gov for current information about living and working here.
- Vehicles: Delaware charges a document fee of 3.75% of the NADA average trade-in value of any vehicle you purchase in this state. Note that out-of-state vehicle owners can obtain a sales tax credit from the DE state for any vehicle that was registered for a minimum of 90 days in another state prior to being registered in Delaware. Once you have obtained your DE driver’s license, you can register your vehicle. The cost of registrations is $40. It costs $25 for a title and $35 to record a title with a lien.
- Road and Bridge Tolls: There are two toll roads in Delaware: the 11.2-mile Delaware Turnpike (I-95, also called the John F. Kennedy Memorial Highway), which costs $4 in each direction, and DE Route 1, the Korean War Veterans Memorial Highway. There’s also a toll bridge, the Delaware Memorial Bridge, which charges $4 for passenger vehicles entering DE from New Jersey. In addition, a proposal to turn the existing US Route 301 into a toll road is being debated. You can calculate your toll, for a move or commute, here.
- Voter Registration: After moving to DE, you can register to vote in person at your local DMV when you pick up your driver’s license (you can simultaneously register as an organ donor). You can also register at a mobile registration event or by mailing in a voter registration form or registering online.
- Trash & Recycling: Trash and recycling are handled either by your local municipality or by a private company, depending on your location. Check with your city to find out which applies to your neighborhood.
- Driver’s Licensing: You are required to apply for a DE driver’s license at your local DMV within 60 days of moving to Delaware and becoming a resident (i.e. securing employment and a place to live). The cost for an eight-year license is $40.