Moving to Delaware Guide: Discover the First State
We created this guide for moving to Delaware to help those who are in their very early stages of researching where they’d like to move. So, what exactly do you need to know before moving to Delaware? We’ve complied some of the most important items you should consider when making this big decision. According to 2020 Census data, Delaware was close to joining the top ten fastest growing states of the last decade, with a 10.3% growth in population. So, is Delaware the right state for you to move?
What You Need to Know about Delaware’s Geography
Delaware is a Mid-Atlantic state that borders Maryland to the south and west, Pennsylvania to the north, and New Jersey and the Atlantic Ocean to the east. The state gets its name from the nearby Delaware River, which was itself named after Thomas West, 3rd Baron De La Warr, an English noble person and Virginia’s first colonial governor!
If you love exploring the outdoors, Delaware’s small package holds many interesting outdoor surprises. In fact, with an area of just 1,982 square miles, Delaware and its three counties is the second smallest state in the U.S. The state is only ninety-six miles long and about thirty miles wide. That means you could easily travel the entire length and width of the state in a day!
Delaware is on a level plain, with the lowest mean elevation of any state in the nation. The northernmost part of the state is part of the Piedmont Plateau with hills and rolling surfaces, and the southern part has flat, sandy, and in some parts, swampy ground. From the Trap Pond State Park, one of the largest surviving fragments of what was once an extensive wetland, to the beaches of the Delaware Seashore State Park, you’re sure to be inspired and surprised by Delaware’s natural beauty.
Delaware’s highest point is near the Ebright Azimuth, and it stands at 447.85 ft tall. By comparison, Delaware’s lowest point is in the Atlantic Ocean, and that’s 0 ft! Speaking of high points, the only state high point with a lower elevation than Delaware is Britton Hill in Florida!
Moving to Delaware Guide on the Weather in Delaware
Surprisingly, Delaware’s humid subtropical climate varies depending on where in the Atlantic coastal plain state you go. Delaware is small, but the southern portion of the state has a milder climate and a longer growing season than the northern portion of the state.
The state has dangers associated with seasonally occurring severe weather, which should be something to consider if you plan to build a home after moving to Delaware.
Moving to Delaware Guide on Finding a Job
If you’re looking for a place to grow your career, consider moving to Delaware! According to an article published by the Delaware Department of Labor, at the time of writing this article, the state of Delaware has seen a steady job growth rate compared to the rest of the United States. Moreover, in 2021, Delaware employers added jobs almost as fast as the national average!
Delaware continues to add more jobs, resulting in a steady unemployment rate of around 5.4%. Industries showing solid job gains included construction, manufacturing, and information services.
What’s the situation on buying alcohol in Delaware?
Who isn’t curious about how to toast moving to a new state! For starters, you need to be twenty-one to partake in “adult beverages” of any kind. Additionally, in Delaware, sales for on-premises alcohol consumption are legal from 9 a.m. to 1 a.m., and sales for off-premises consumption are legal 9 a.m. to 1 a.m. Monday through Saturday. Sunday sales are legal from noon to 8 p.m. (Of course, that’s subject to local ordinances.)
Fun fact: Sales on holidays are not legal. So is any off-premises sale except for liquor stores, taprooms, and brewpubs.
What is there to do in Delaware?
Hopefully you like unique experiences! Delaware’s nickname, the First State, references Delaware’s status as the first state to ratify the Constitution of the United States. (It was also one of the thirteen original colonies!) That means there is a lot of historic places to visit in addition to the beautiful outdoor Delaware. That makes every weekend an adventure! Looking for something a little unique? There are also multiple ethnic festivals and conservation areas that might pique your interest, too!
Another choice is to head over to Wilmington for culture, food, and fun. A smaller big city, Wilmington still boasts a variety of fun and interesting things to do including the Delaware Art Museum and the Clifford Brown Jazz Festival. However, if you’re like us, we’re sure you’ll agree that seaside Delaware is the best. You’ll be in awe each and every time you step outside!
Important State Symbols in Delaware
The state of Delaware has over thirty official state symbols; we’ve included a few of our favorites here. The first, and most important, is the state dessert – the peach pie!
The state fruit is the strawberry, and the flower is the Peach Blossom. Another one of our favorite Delaware symbols is the state folk dance: the Maypole Dance. Probably the most unexpected state symbol is the state macroinvertebrate – the Stonefly!
Lesser-Known FAQs About Moving to Delaware
Q: What is the capital of Delaware?
A: The capital of Delaware is Dover, and Wilmington is the most populated city. The cities are part of the Delaware Valley metropolitan area, which is part of the Northeast megalopolis. If you plan to move to Delaware, you’ll probably find yourself in the Delaware Valley!
Q: How do Delaware’s public schools rank nationally?
A: According to a study by US News, Delaware public high schools rank 24/50 in a tie with Michigan in a national breakdown tracking state-by-state high school performance. While education quality can vary widely depending on where in the state you live, this report takes the weighted average of the state’s high school performance into consideration.
Q: What kind of taxes can you expect to pay in Delaware?
A: Delaware has some of the lowest taxes in the country. There is no statewide sales tax, and property taxes are some of the lowest in the nation. There is a progressive income tax for the state with a top rate of 6.6%, which is slightly above average nationally, and the city of Wilmington has its own income tax for residents.
Q: What’s it like to vote in Delaware?
A: If you are a first-time voter, you must be a resident of the state. State law does not specify a length of time for which you must have been a resident to be eligible, and Delaware has implemented an online voter registration system. In fact, Delaware does not require proof of citizenship for voter registration, but you must be 18 years of age by Election Day and mentally competent. You must not be under a felony sentence or convicted of a disqualifying felony.
Voting before election day at an absentee polling place is available if your reason is one of the few approved reasons for missing. Contact your county clerk for dates, times, and location of the absentee polling place in your county. For now, Delaware does not permit early voting, but that is set to change in 2022.
Q: What are the rules for switching your driver’s license after moving to Delaware?
A: If you move into Delaware from another state, you must apply for a Delaware driver’s license within 60 days after becoming a resident. You must turn in your previously issued out-of-state driver’s license or have a current certified copy of your driving record, provide proof of citizenship or legal presence such as a birth certificate or passport, proof of social security number, and two proofs of Delaware residency. If proper documentation is provided, you will be issued a federally compliant driver license.
Q: When do you need to update your car plates after moving to Delaware?
A: Delaware law allows non-residents to register a vehicle in Delaware if they meet certain conditions. You would need to provide the following documents to any DMV location: a copy of a registration and proof of insurance for a vehicle owned in the state where you are a resident; a copy of your driver’s license from your resident state; proof of Delaware insurance for the vehicle that will be garaged in Delaware; and the vehicle garaged in Delaware must pass Delaware inspection and pay all applicable titling and registration fees.
Be sure to check out the Delaware Department of Motor Vehicles for more information!
Q: What’s it like driving in Delaware?
A: Like most states, the driving conditions in Delaware are very different in urban and rural areas. Surprisingly, Delaware ranked at number 6 as the state with the worst drivers in America. Now, that doesn’t mean Delaware drivers are all bad – you just need to pay attention while driving to the beach!
Q: Does Delaware have any walkable cities?
A: Of all cities in Delaware, the best bet for having a walkable lifestyle is going to be in Wilmington, but even that’s going to be tricky. The city has good public transportation, and it is somewhat bikeable. The most walkable Boise neighborhoods are Downtown, Quaker Hill and Forty Acres. Many of Delaware’s coastal beach towns have lovely little downtowns that are too much fun to walk around, if you have the chance to visit!
Is Delaware the Right State for You to Move?
For those of you looking for outdoor adventure, while still enjoying the creature comforts of city living, Delaware (and specifically the Delaware Valley) may be the right fit for you. The beautiful beaches of the Delaware coast, low taxes, and booming economy all lend themselves into making life great in the First State. However, seasonal severe weather and bad drivers prove that while exceptional, Delaware isn’t perfect.