Delaware vs. Maryland for Retirement: Which Is Better?

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There might not be a better place to retire than in the northeast – a region with lots of rural lands, beautiful scenery (did we mention that you would be along the Atlantic Coast?), and is an overall well-established area. Among the many states, Delaware and Maryland are among the most popular for retirees. But how do you know which one is better?

Delaware is a better state to retire compared to Maryland. Delaware is more tax-friendly, less heavily populated, and surrounded by peaceful retreats (including 28-mile coverage of beaches along the coast). That’s not to say that Maryland doesn’t have benefits, because it certainly does. 

While considering retirement, the best thing to do is explore certain factors that would affect your retirement place. In this article, we will explore Delaware and Maryland advantages and disadvantages and discuss the benefits and factors that make up the act of retiring in the Northeastern United States. 

Northeastern United States

The northeastern United States is one of four defined regions of the U.S. This region is bordered by Canada, the midwestern states, the southern states, and the Atlantic Coast. It is the most socioeconomically developed region in the U.S. and is home to five major metropolitan cities, which include Pittsburgh (Pennsylvania), Baltimore (Maryland), Boston (Massachusetts), Washington (D.C.), Philadelphia (Pennsylvania), and New York City (New York). Further, the Northeastern states are classified as the most culturally diverse region.

While the northeastern states might not be the cheapest region to retire in, many benefits outweigh that cost. 

First, the proximity. You wouldn’t have to travel long to get to any of the five major cities. Not to mention, there are so many sources of transportation to get there like the Amtrak or a ferry ride. Or even if you just want to take a ride in your car. All are easily accessible. 

Second, culture. No matter what state you are in in the northeast, you will find many historical sites, such as the statue of liberty or the Washington monument. You will also find a variety of different foods, entertainment, and scenery. 

Third, the region is far more progressive than the rest of the nation. It is a region with the best healthcare, education, public transportation, job markets, and low crime rates. This isn’t to say that anyone state is more progressive but simply determines that the region as a whole is progressive.

With that being said, let’s look into the advantages and disadvantages of the states of Delaware and Maryland.  

Delaware vs. Maryland for Retirement: Which Is Better?



According to the U.S. census, Delaware is the second smallest state in the U.S. (followed by Rhode Island) and the sixth least populated state. Further, the most recent data has estimated Delaware’s population to be approximately 982,895 people. It is also estimated that  19.4 percent of the population is composed of people 65 years and older. When you’re looking to retire, the fewer people, the better right?

Tax and Economics

It may be a surprise to learn that Delaware has great financial benefits, such as lower taxes and lower living costs. In fact, Delaware is one of the tax-friendliest states because there are no local or state taxes, no taxes on Social Security benefits. For anyone over the age of 60, there is a $12,500 exclusion on pensions or other eligible retirement income. 

Further, homeowners aged 65 or older may qualify for a tax credit of $400 for property taxes. And depending on income, the state income tax rates can range from 2.2 percent to 5.5 percent if your income is less than $60,000 and is 6.6 percent for incomes higher than $60,000. 


Climate. One great thing about Delaware is the nice, moderate temperature year-round. Typically the temperature ranges from 32℉ to 76℉ monthly, and the average temperature in the summer is 74.3℉. Not too hot, not too cold. You can’t ask for better weather than that!

Environment. Delaware lies on the Eastern Seaboard of the U.S. – surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean and the Delaware Bay. Along the coast is the lowest elevation of the state. And a fun fact: there are 28 miles of the coast to love and enjoy. If you wonder what the natural, highest elevation in the state is, it is the Ebright Azimuth. The state is also bordered by New Jersey, Maryland, and Pennsylvania.  

Best Cities to Retire in

New Home Source has labeled six of the top best places to retire in Delaware. Here is what they came up with:

  1. Wilmington
  2. Dover
  3. Milford
  4. Smyrna
  5. Newark
  6. Middletown

Wilmington is an urban city with many attractions to offer, and you can walk on the riverfront. This list didn’t mention that each of these cities has a great piece of history. Delaware was named the first state in the U.S. with over 400 years’ worth of historical sites. 



Maryland’s population is more than 6 times that of Delaware. The most recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau estimates that approximately 6,045,680 people are living in Maryland. Further, the people that are 65 years or older are approximately 15.9 percent of the population. 

Tax and Economics

It’s no secret that living in the Northeast can be relatively expensive, but luckily Maryland is more tax-friendly to the retirement community. For example, it doesn’t tax social security benefits, and some retirees are eligible for a $29,000 exclusion on their pension. Another great thing is that Maryland’s income tax rate doesn’t go beyond 5.75%. 

However, even with these financial benefits, Maryland has still been rated as the worst state in the U.S. to retire. It especially ranks low in affordability rates, as the living expenses are more expensive.  


Climate. Generally, Maryland has hotter, humid summers and colder winters. Average temperatures in July can range anywhere from 65℉ to 87℉, depending on the region. On the other hand, January temperatures range anywhere from 20℉ to 40℉, again depending on the region. 

Environment. Although the temperatures aren’t as moderate as those in Delaware, Maryland’s land makes up for it as it ranges from high mountain tops to deep blue oceans. You can have it all in one state. Another great factor is that Maryland is also close to other major cities. So, you have beaches, mountains, cities – everything!

Best Cities to Retire in 

According to New Home Source, the five cities below are the best for retiring in Maryland:

  1. Columbia
  2. Washington, D.C.
  3. Baltimore
  4. Chevy Chase Village
  5. Chevy Chase

Maryland has so much to offer with its diverse culture and foods, beautiful scenery, and important historical sites. Although it is ranked the worst place to retire (from one source), Maryland has many benefits that you might find appeal to you more than Delaware.


Between Maryland and Delaware – Delaware comes out on top for the best state to retire. There is no denying that Maryland has many great features important to the retirement community, but in terms of which state offers the best benefits, Delaware has more. Delaware is very tax-friendly, has a smaller and comfortable population, offers better temperatures year-round, is close to all the major cities, has a great deal of history, and, well, it borders the Atlantic Coast. Overall, it is more appealing for retirees. 



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