Choosing a Retreat Locale: Dela-Where?

I was recently hired by a consulting client from Wilmington, Delaware. Like most of my other clients, we had our conversations by phone. He spent a lot of time quizzing me about various towns and microclimates in The American Redoubt. He was stunned when I mentioned that the county where I live has less than 20,000 residents, yet it is larger than the entire state of Delaware, which has around 917,000 residents.

To put the demographic differences in focus, the following are some comparisons. For privacy reasons, instead of my own county I’ll use Idaho County, Idaho as a point of reference. (And BTW, I formerly owned a 160 acre ranch Idaho County, with an adjoining 160 acre grazing permit on BLM land.)


Land Area: 1,948 square miles

Population: 917,092 (estimate for 2012.)

Population Density: 460.8 people per square mile

Median income for a household: $58,415

Idaho County, Idaho:

Land Area: 8,502 square miles. (More than three times the size of Delaware, and almost equivalent to the size of New Jersey.)

Population: 16,308 (estimate for 2012.)

Population Density: 2 people per square mile

Median income for a household: $36,706

Note: There are 4,431,720 acres (6,924.5 square miles) of land administered by the US Forest Service within Idaho County. But that still leaves nearly “a Delaware’s worth” of private land area in the county.

The crime statistics for Idaho County look far more like the law-abiding “Mayberry RFD” end of the spectrum than then they do the dangerous Wilmington end.

Bottom line: Your family can earn almost twice as much money, on average, in Delaware. But it costs more to live there. And you couldn’t pay me to live there!