These Are The 10 Best Places To Retire In South Carolina


We analyzed over 49 places in South Carolina to identify the ones that offer the most to retirees.

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When most people think of calling it quits on a career, they immediately think of a move to Florida.

But not everyone wants to spend their golden years in Florida; some of us want to stay close to friends and family and within the great state of South Carolina.

But where exactly in South Carolina? Well, there’s only one place to go for the answer — data.

To that end, we have tried to identify the places in South Carolina that are safe, affordable, and have plenty of things to keep you busy well into retirement.

What did we find after pouring through all the data? Let’s just say we hope folks in Summerville don’t mind us spreading the word.

Here are our top ten places in the Palmetto State to retire:

  1. Summerville (Photos)
  2. Gaffney (Photos)
  3. Rock Hill (Photos)
  4. Hanahan (Photos)
  5. Tega Cay
  6. Chester (Photos)
  7. Spartanburg (Photos)
  8. Mount Pleasant (Photos)
  9. Union
  10. Mauldin

Why did Summerville take the top spot? And where are Columbia and Charleston?

Read on to see see all the golden parachute level details. Or check out the purely worst and best places to live in South Carolina.

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How We Determined The Best Places To Retire In the Palmetto State

To create our list of the best places in South Carolina to retire, we first used Census data to find all places in the Palmetto State with a population of at least 5,000 that aren’t townships.

This left us with 49 places from across the state.

For these 49, we looked at the following criteria taken from the Census, the FBI’s Crime Report, National Weather Service, and OpenFlights:

  • Low cost of living
  • Low crime
  • Things to do (As measured by population density)
  • Nice weather
  • Distance to the closest international airport

We then ranked each of these places for each criteria from one to 49, with the lowest number being the best.

Finally, we took the average rank across these criteria. The place, in this case Summerville, with the lowest average rank was crowned the best of the best, a place for you to start your second careers.

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1. Summerville

Summerville, South Carolina

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 47,919
Cost Of Living: 98
Distance to Closest Airport: 10 miles
Crime Per 100k: 3,668
Summerville ranked 1st overall thanks to it’s 37th place rank for cost of living and it’s 12th place safety rank.

2. Gaffney

Gaffney, South Carolina

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 12,859
Cost Of Living: 82
Distance to Closest Airport: 41 miles
Crime Per 100k: 4,541
Gaffney ranked 2nd overall thanks to it’s 1st place rank for cost of living and it’s 16th place safety rank.

3. Rock Hill

Rock Hill, South Carolina

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 70,251
Cost Of Living: 90
Distance to Closest Airport: 19 miles
Crime Per 100k: 3,883
Rock Hill ranked 3rd overall thanks to it’s 21st place rank for cost of living and it’s 14th place safety rank.

4. Hanahan

Hanahan, South Carolina

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 20,710
Cost Of Living: 100
Distance to Closest Airport: 3 miles
Crime Per 100k: 1,844
Hanahan ranked 4th overall thanks to it’s 40th place rank for cost of living and it’s 2nd place safety rank.

5. Tega Cay

Tega Cay, South Carolina

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 9,026
Cost Of Living: 116
Distance to Closest Airport: 12 miles
Crime Per 100k: 1,340
Tega Cay ranked 5th overall thanks to it’s 48th place rank for cost of living and it’s 1st place safety rank.

6. Chester

Chester, South Carolina

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 5,498
Cost Of Living: 82
Distance to Closest Airport: 38 miles
Crime Per 100k: 6,729
Chester ranked 6th overall thanks to it’s 1st place rank for cost of living and it’s 35th place safety rank.

7. Spartanburg

Spartanburg, South Carolina

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 37,570
Cost Of Living: 84
Distance to Closest Airport: 58 miles
Crime Per 100k: 7,455
Spartanburg ranked 7th overall thanks to it’s 6th place rank for cost of living and it’s 39th place safety rank.

8. Mount Pleasant

Mount Pleasant, South Carolina

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 77,907
Cost Of Living: 130
Distance to Closest Airport: 12 miles
Crime Per 100k: 1,912
Mount Pleasant ranked 8th overall thanks to it’s 49th place rank for cost of living and it’s 3rd place safety rank.

9. Union


Population: 8,081
Cost Of Living: 84
Distance to Closest Airport: 21 miles
Crime Per 100k: 5,420
Union ranked 9th overall thanks to it’s 6th place rank for cost of living and it’s 24th place safety rank.

10. Mauldin

Mauldin, South Carolina

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 24,723
Cost Of Living: 95
Distance to Closest Airport: 82 miles
Crime Per 100k: 2,333
Mauldin ranked 10th overall thanks to it’s 35th place rank for cost of living and it’s 5th place safety rank.

Maybe You’re Not Ready To Retire Yet…

So there you have it, the best place to retire in South Carolina goes to Summerville.

If you’re not ready to hang up your office apparel yet, then these places might be up your alley:

  • Camden
  • Columbia
  • Beaufort

For more South Carolina reading , check out:

Detailed List Of Best Places To Retire In South Carolina

City Rank Population Cost Of Living Distane To Airport Crimes per 100k
Summerville 1 47,919 98 10 3,668
Gaffney 2 12,859 82 41 4,541
Rock Hill 3 70,251 90 19 3,883
Hanahan 4 20,710 100 3 1,844
Tega Cay 5 9,026 116 12 1,340
Chester 6 5,498 82 38 6,729
Spartanburg 7 37,570 84 58 7,455
Mount Pleasant 8 77,907 130 12 1,912
Union 9 8,081 84 21 5,420
Mauldin 10 24,723 95 82 2,333
North Charleston 11 106,113 91 1 6,138
Central 12 5,187 91 79 4,646
Union 13 8,081 84 51 5,420
Charleston 14 129,888 109 7 2,495
Bennettsville 15 8,692 85 78 5,579
Aiken 16 30,403 83 101 5,351
Moncks Corner 17 9,300 93 20 5,086
Myrtle Beach 18 30,106 87 3 17,139
Simpsonville 19 20,183 102 81 4,374
Greenville 20 62,776 93 84 5,382
Central 21 5,187 91 109 4,646
Orangeburg 22 13,478 92 62 5,631
Fort Mill 23 13,181 106 14 2,018
Marion 24 6,756 88 43 11,471
Sumter 25 40,760 88 74 5,542
Central 26 5,187 91 213 4,646
Forest Acres 27 10,571 111 81 4,635
Port Royal 28 11,891 94 33 2,876
York 29 7,989 91 22 5,470
Darlington 30 6,185 85 68 9,652
Anderson 31 27,206 83 107 8,895
Florence 32 38,221 91 59 8,194
Clinton 33 8,409 85 72 5,601
Dillon 34 6,675 86 57 11,730
North Augusta 35 22,310 88 105 3,863
Greenwood 36 23,260 85 98 7,171
Clemson 37 15,008 100 111 3,484
Newberry 38 10,338 90 74 5,861
Fountain Inn 39 8,044 93 79 2,834
Cheraw 40 5,793 86 69 7,353
Bluffton 41 15,765 107 16 3,133
Seneca 42 8,228 92 110 2,843
Cayce 43 13,684 85 87 5,700
Hartsville 44 7,816 90 76 11,937
Batesburg-Leesville 45 5,273 85 95 7,187
Walterboro 46 5,287 97 36 11,254
Beaufort 47 13,074 101 36 7,648
Columbia 48 132,537 99 81 6,183
Camden 49 7,017 99 68 7,695

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