Besides causing stress, moving can be disastrous if you don’t do your research. Having no prior knowledge of your new hometown will cause you trouble in the long run. Fortunately, access to information isn’t too difficult nowadays, thanks to the Internet. If you’re planning to move to Wilmington, Delaware, you’re going to need every statistic and detail you can get.

You see, Wilmington is a bit understated. And the fact that it’s surrounded by huge metro areas like NYC, Washington D.C., and Philadelphia only drives the city deeper into the shadows. But before confronting the living costs, why don’t you get to know Wilmington first?

Simple Urban Living

Nestled between where the Christina and Brandywine Rivers meet, Wilmington is the largest city in America’s first state, Delaware. Home to almost 70,000 people, its beauty lies in its highly-educated population, picturesque surroundings, green landscapes, and of course, tax-free shopping.

Despite being a modern hub for banking and finance, the city also features hints of past eras. Walking around, you’ll notice the splash of Georgian architecture evident in the brick-walled houses, sophisticated lawns, and the old but grand town hall.

Life here is as peaceful as getting caught in the eye of a storm. Amidst all the bustle and chaos pulsating from neighboring cities, Wilmington offers a perfect escape with its calm neighborhoods, fresh air, friendly residents, and pleasant small-town feel.

Cost of Living in Wilmington, Delaware

Although it’s been around for more than 350 years, Wilmington is surprisingly cheap. Urban sprawl didn’t make it to this place. But the best way to gauge Wilmington’s affordability is to compare the living costs with the big cities surrounding it.

Before you proceed, keep in mind that will be used as the reference for these comparisons. Here’s how it works:

Living costs for cities sum up to provide an index score that is used for contrast. Note that the U.S. average always sits at 100. For example, if a city has an index of 80, it’s about 20% cheaper than the national average. Likewise, a place is more expensive by 40% if it has an index of 140. As for Wilmington, it has an overall index of 89.9. Without further ado, below are statistics to help you compare the cost of living in Wilmington with other areas.

Although it’s been around for more than 350 years, Wilmington is surprisingly cheap.

Wilmington, DE vs. Philadelphia, PA

Starting with the nearest metro, Philadelphia’s index score of 101.2 suggests that it’s 12.6% more expensive than Wilmington.

  • The median home price is the primary factor in this difference. Philly homes cost $153,400 on average, while Wilmington homes cost an average of $128,200.
  • Transportation is also a major player since the average transportation cost in Philadelphia is 48% more expensive.
  • There’s not much to say regarding other aspects like healthcare, groceries, and utilities since the differences only range from 2 – 9%.

New York City, NY vs. Wilmington, DE

Unlike the data above, an overwhelming gap exists between these two cities. However, it’s not a surprise considering that the Big Apple is notorious for being overcrowded and expensive.

  • Overall, Wilmington is 108.2% cheaper than NYC’s 187.2 index score.
  • New York City’s median home price is $680,500, which amounts to a whopping 430% difference. Relatively speaking, you can buy at least four Wilmington homes for what you’d spend on one in NYC.
  • The next biggest factor is rent. You’ll only have to pay $1241/month on average in Wilmington, while you’ll need an average of $3,790/month in Manhattan, according to rentcafe.

Washington D.C. vs. Wilmington, DE

It’s time to look at how Wilmington compares to the nation’s capital. Although not as sky-high as NYC, Washington D.C. still manages to be more expensive than Wilmington by 69.2%.

  • Healthcare and transportation cost more in DC, while other expense categories are relatively similar.
  • The median home price in Washington, D.C., is 334% more expensive. The home price in the national capital is $556,700 on average.
  • You won’t notice a gap between utility costs because the specific indexes of Wilmington and Washington tread within the 105 – 106 range, respectively.

Cost of Living in Wilmington

Now that you have an idea of how graciously affordable Wilmington is, it’s time to know the actual living expenses. For more accurate numbers, data from the Family Budget Calculator will be used.

Here’s a table on how much a family of four has to earn to get by in Wilmington.

Monthly Costs
2 adults and 2 children
Wilmington Metro Area
Annual Costs
2 adults and 2 children
Wilmington Metro Area
Housing $1,182 Housing $14,187
Food $800 Food $9,603
Child Care $1,574 Child Care $18,893
Transportation $1,137 Transportation $13,648
Healthcare $1,110 Healthcare $13,315
Other Necessities $714 Other Necessities $9,598
Taxes $1,077 Taxes $12,919
Total: $7,680 Total: $92,163


In addition to expenses, you also need to be wary of the taxes before moving to a new place. Fortunately, Delaware tax rates are quite friendly and forgiving when compared to national averages.

  • Sales Tax: Just as Texas is one of the few states that doesn’t impose an income tax, Delaware belongs to a select group of states that doesn’t have a sales tax. This makes Wilmington the perfect place to go on a shopping spree!
  • Property Tax: Although the median property tax in New Castle County is the highest in Delaware, this 0.74% median effective rate is still reasonably low compared to the country average. Additionally, Wilmington levies a property tax rate of $1.995 per $100 assessed value of a property, according to Take note that the assessed value is just a fraction of a building’s market value, making the actual numbers much lower.
  • Income Tax: Delaware collects income taxes based on two categories: single and married. Moreover, these classifications are divided into six brackets. While Wilmington imposes a flat tax rate of 1.25%, when combined with the state income tax rate, your income tax rate can be anywhere from 2.20% to 7.90%, depending on the bracket you’re in.

Economy and Job Market

One of Wilmington’s biggest deal-breakers is the lack of opportunities and low-income jobs. It would be a lie to say that the city’s economy is thriving. Why?

  • The unemployment rate is 5.5%, which is alarmingly higher than the national average of 3.7%.
  • Job markets increase at a turtle’s pace of 2.7%. The estimate for future growth is only 28.8%.
  • In addition to that, 25.1% of the population lives below the poverty line.
  • The median household income is $42,854 a year, while the U.S average is $53,482 a year.

Although most of the city’s workforce operates in retail and finance, you could still land a job in education, manufacturing, or healthcare. Some major employers include DuPont, AstraZeneca, and RJR acquisition.

Wilmington still shows promise when it comes to life’s other aspects.

Final Verdict

Despite a not-thriving economy, Wilmington still shows promise when it comes to life’s other aspects (there’s plenty to do here). Remember that money isn’t the only source of happiness. However, if it is indeed your driving force, Wilmington might not be the place for you. It’s more of a haven for people looking to live in a peaceful, tight-knit, and welcoming community. Read more about why Wilmington is one of the best places to live in Delaware here. If you do decide this is the place for you, be sure to secure the best moving services for your upcoming move. We make it fast and easy to find top-rated Wilmington movers who can make your transition seamless!

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