18 Pros and Cons of Living in Dover, DE

Updated On October 8, 2023

Dover is the capital city of Delaware with 40,000 residents and has a lot of positives.

It has a smaller town feel, but is not far from big cities like Philadelphia and close enough to beaches to make them easy to reach.

Delaware is also tax-friendly so welcoming to retirees.

There are also bad sides.

Winters are cold and long.

The city is also thickly settled.

Depending on what you like, Dover could be very good, or not so great.

Dover, DE
Dover, DE

Pros of Living in Dover

1. Cost of Living

 New England is not the cheapest place to live in America, but Dover scores well in this area.

The cost of living here is less than anywhere else in Delaware and among the lowest cost in the region.

Housing, utilities, health care, and groceries are less expensive in Dover than in other areas in New England.

The cost of living is generally cheaper than the national average.

2. Overall Livability

Dover has a suburban feel, with all the amenities of a city without the congestion.

You will have more room here than you will in a big city.

The overall livability includes things like cost of living, taxes, crime, education, and overall happiness of the citizens.

Most people who live there say they are content with where they live.

3. Location

Dover has that suburban feel and is still close to a lot of good things.

It is not far from big cities like Philadelphia or Baltimore.

You can still get to the big city easily and escape it just as easily.

It is also not far from the mountains or the beaches of New England.

It is a decent place to live, and it is easy to find interesting things to do on a day trip.

4. Balance

Dover is a relatively small city with 40,000 people, and it manages to retain that small-town feel and big-city amenities.

It should be pleasing in some ways to both those who prefer city living and those who prefer a more rural lifestyle.

It is urban enough to have anything you want nearby.

At the same time, you will probably also be able to know your neighbors and have a more relaxed lifestyle.

5. Lower Taxes

Delaware has no state or local sales tax, which is a bonus in itself.

Social Security benefits are not taxed, and there is an excluding of a certain amount of retirement income.

This makes it inviting for retirees.

The property tax is also relatively low compared to the rest of New England.

The state itself does not levy property tax, though some counties do.

It is also considered a tax haven for corporations.

Retirees over the age of 65 do not have to pay taxes on their primary residence.

6. Low Risk of Natural Disasters

Earthquakes and hurricanes are unheard of in Dover, and in Delaware in general.

Violent storms, and even tornadoes, are very rare in this part of the country.

There can be a lot of snow at times, but usually not enough to call it a disaster.

Winters can be cold, but there is good weather most of the year.

Summers tend to be mild compared to the rest of the country.

7. Parks and Public Spaces

There are a lot of parks, both large and small, spread throughout the city.

The city has 28 parks that have things like playground equipment, nature trails, shade trees, and flowers, as well as a plethora of organized activities available.

It is easy to find free public activities or to just find a quiet place to relax on your own.

There is also the Capital City Trail, which connects many of the parks and historical attractions.

8. The State Capital

Dover is the state capital, and that provides some benefits in itself.

A state capital draws people from around the state and exposes people to more ideas, cultures, and experiences.

The state capital of any state is the center of the social life of a state, and Dover is no exception to that.

It also gives you more access to state political activities, and you can more easily get involved in issues that are important to you.

9. Healthcare

The state, and Dover itself, rank high nationally in hospitals, and specialized care.

The state is ranked sixth in the nation for overall health care and is in the top three for quality of hospitals.

If you need heart surgery, cancer treatment, or joint replacement, Dover is a great place to be because of the highly qualified hospitals operating there.

Ironically enough, there is a shortage of primary care doctors, but when you need a specialist, Dover is the place to be.

Cons of Living in Dover

1. Crime Rate

With all it has going for it, it is hard to understand, but Dover does have a very high crime rate.

There are 9.51 violent crimes per 100,000 people in Dover.

The state average is close to the national average of 4.2.

Assault is the most common violent crime in Dover, as it is in most places.

Property crime is similar, with 40 cases per 100,000 people, double the national average of 19.

2. Shortage of Doctors

According to a University of Delaware study, there has been a six percent decline in the number of primary care doctors in the area in recent years.

Part of the issue is that the state is generally rural, and there are no medical schools in the area.

You can get the best heart surgery available anywhere, but you may struggle to get your yearly physical exam in a timely manner.

3. Winter

Dover has an average of 31 days of getting at least one inch of snow each year.

The snow season is between late November and early March.

February usually has the most snow, with nearly six inches on average.

There may not be huge snowfalls, but there is plenty of it for a fairly long period of time each year.

If you like snow this could be a positive, but it is an inconvenience for most people.

4. Crowded

There are an estimated 1,644 people per square mile in Dover, which is higher than in many areas.

The state average of 522 is the sixth highest in the nation. New York City, for instance, has 5,300 people per square mile.

The suburban nature of the city may be the reason for the crowded feeling you can get there.

5. Low Rate of Homeownership

Most people in Dover rent the home where they live.

Some of this is due to the city being a state capital.

Even so, a low homeownership rate is seen as a cause, or a result of, weak social, political, and economic stability.

People who are not homeowners are less likely to have less investment in their local communities.

It can also reduce wealth creation and lower generational wealth.

6. Public Education

Delaware has excellent colleges and private schools, but its public schools do not share that same reputation.

Students score lower on math and reading than many other cities in the area.

Students in Dover score in the middle of the pack when compared to the national average.

There is high teacher turnover and a lack of funding that affects public schools.

7. Lack of Transportation

There is not much public transportation for people in Dover.

While it is not far from major cities, beaches, mountains, and so forth, you may have trouble getting there if you don’t own your own car.

On a larger scale, there are no international flights in or out of Dover, so travel can get inconvenient, which leads to another negative.

8. Bad Drivers

The city is congested because of the number of cars and lack of public transportation.

Dover, and Delaware in general, are notorious for its drivers.

They are often in a hurry and frustrated by the congestion.

The infrastructure, highways, and such, are not sufficient to handle the number of vehicles on the road.

All of this tends to create bad driving habits, and people live up to their reputation here.

9. Urbanization

Time seems to be taking a toll on Dover.

Its suburban small-town feel seems to be deteriorating with the rise of urbanization in recent years.

This has resulted in more overcrowding, congestion, pollution, and general environmental deterioration.

It is slowly becoming more like a big city, and less like a small rural town than it once was.

Dover, DE.
Dover, DE.

18 Pros and Cons of Living in Dover, DE – Summary Table

Pros of Living in DoverCons of Living in Dover
1. Cost of Living1. Crime Rate
2. Overall Livability2. Shortage of Doctors
3. Location3. Winter
4. Balance4. Crowded
5. Lower Taxes5. Low Rate of Homeownership
6. Low Risk of Natural Disasters6. Public Education
7. Parks and Public Spaces7. Lack of Transportation
8. The State Capital8. Bad Drivers
9. Healthcare9. Urbanization

Dover Safety Overview

READ THE FULL REPORT: Dover Safety Review

Safety Index:

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is Dover considered a good place to retire?

Dover, and the entire state, is tax-friendly to retirees.

There is no tax on social security, and seniors don’t pay property tax on their primary residence.

There is also an exemption on a part of income that is not taxed.

The tax load is lower in general than in other places and offers even more benefits to retirees.

How is the weather in Dover?

It does get a lot of snow in winter, and it is cold, but overall Dover has some of the best weather in New England.

Summers are mild.

Snowfall in winter lasts for months, but it is rare to get an overly heavy snowfall at one time.

What is the community trail in Dover?

It is part of a trail that was once a railroad that follows the Cochecho and Bellamy Rivers into and out of the city.

It connects several parks, and historical sights, between downtown and outlying areas.

The trail extends into rural areas, making it great for hiking and bicycling.

What is ironic about healthcare in Dover?

The city, and the state, have a reputation for having great hospitals, and great specialists.

Even so, it has a shortage of primary care or general physicians.

You can get the best heart surgery available anywhere, but may not be able to get a physical exam when you want to get one.

Dover is in the top 10 nationally for the quality of hospitals and overall healthcare but still has a shortage of general doctors.

What is the downside to Delaware being tax tax-friendly state?

The downside is a lack of infrastructure such as highways, public transportation, and other services.

There are a lot of benefits to lower taxes, both for individuals and for businesses, but the cost is the decrease in public services that affect everyone.

There is little public transportation, and roads are not maintained well enough to support the added personal vehicles required.

1 Comment on 18 Pros and Cons of Living in Dover, DE

  1. C
    Castiel says:

    Dover, DE has a smaller town feel and is conveniently located near big cities and beaches, making it a good place to live for some; however, winters are cold and long, the city is crowded with high crime rates.

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