Best Places To Retire In South Carolina For 2020


We analyzed over 32 places in South Carolina to identify the ones that offer the most to retirees.

Editor’s Note: Data has been updated for 2020. This is our sixth time ranking the best places to retire in South Carolina.

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Want to know where the best places are to retire along The Grand Strand? You've come to the right place.

South Carolina is best known as The Palmetto State to many, but to America's 65 and older crowd, it's known as one of the best places to retire in the country. And today is your lucky day, HomeSnacks has created a list of the top ten best places to retire in this southern charm for 2020 and listed them below.

But first, a little bit about how we created this list. First, we looked at the most recent FBI and Census data for 34 South Carolina cities with 10,000 residents. We then looked at factors that most retirees find important: safety, affordability, rent, and how close the city is to an international airport.

Listen up ladies and gents, South Carolina might not be one of the top ten safest states, but it does have some super safe places. In terms of affordability, it is one of the most tax friendly states. It currently does not tax Social Security benefits and has very generous breaks for retirement income. And if South Carolina's property tax wasn't such a hot deal, we would tell you to rent first and buy later: the state's current rental rates are below the national average.

So, head to the nearest Waffle House for their bottomless cup of coffee, get comfy, and read on as we uncover the best places to spend your golden years in South Carolina.

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

You would think that most of South Carolina's best places to retire would be centered around Myrtle Beach and Charleston, but that is not the case. The best places to retire are actually sprinkled throughout the state from Summerville to Greenville. Unfortunately, however, there can be only one number on best place to retire in sweet South Carolina.

So, where is the best place to retire in South Carolina? According to the latest numbers Aiken is the best place to retire in The Palmetto State.

To see a list of the other great places that made the top ten, hit that down arrow. And if you don't find what you're looking for there, the rest are just a click away.

For more South Carolina state reading:

The 10 Best Places To Retire In South Carolina For 2020

Aiken, SC

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 30,464
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Rent: $875
Distance to Closest Airport: 101 miles
More on Aiken: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Founded in 1835, the city of Aiken was named after William Aiken, the president of the South Carolina Railroad. The town is the county seat of Aiken County, South Carolina, United States, which was formed in 1871 from parts of Orangeburg, Lexington, Edgefield, and Barnwell counties. With Augusta, Georgia, it is one of the two largest cities of the Central Savannah River Area. It is part of the Augusta-Richmond County Metropolitan Statistical Area. Aiken is home to the University of South Carolina Aiken. The population was 30,296 at the 2013 census. Aiken was recognized with the All-America City Award in 1997 by the National Civic League.

Conway, SC

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 22,661
Rank Last Year: 3 (Up 1)
Median Rent: $765
Distance to Closest Airport: 13 miles
More on Conway: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Conway is a city in Horry County, South Carolina, United States. The population was 16,317 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Horry County and is part of the Myrtle Beach metropolitan area. It is the home of Coastal Carolina University.

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 10,169
Rank Last Year: -
Median Rent: $858
Distance to Closest Airport: 20 miles
More on Moncks Corner: Real Estate | Data

Moncks Corner is a town in and the county seat of Berkeley County, South Carolina, United States. The population was 7,885 at the 2010 census. As defined by the U.S. Census Bureau, Moncks Corner is included within the Charleston-North Charleston-Summerville Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Newberry, SC

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 10,289
Rank Last Year: 6 (Up 2)
Median Rent: $702
Distance to Closest Airport: 74 miles
More on Newberry: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Newberry is a city in Newberry County, South Carolina, United States, in the Piedmont 43 miles northwest of Columbia. The charter was adopted in 1894. The population was 10,277 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Newberry County; at one time it was called Newberry Courthouse.

Myrtle Beach, SC

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 31,783
Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 1)
Median Rent: $875
Distance to Closest Airport: 3 miles
More on Myrtle Beach: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Myrtle Beach is a coastal city on the east coast of the United States in Horry County, South Carolina. It is situated on the center of a large and continuous stretch of beach known as the Grand Strand in northeastern South Carolina.

Review Of Myrtle Beach by HomeSnacks User

Crime was only up during spring break times. Non peak months it is very tranquil. The weather is mostly nice 10 months out of the year. Shops remain open in the mainland all year and most stay open at the beach

The best place to visit is Broadway on the Beach. Has a variety of entertainment that could last the whole day. Stay away from main street during spring break, you'll never get around in a vehicle.

Florence, SC

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 37,802
Rank Last Year: 9 (Up 3)
Median Rent: $759
Distance to Closest Airport: 59 miles
More on Florence: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Florence is a city in Florence County, South Carolina, United States. It is probably best known for being the intersection of I-95 and I-20, and the eastern terminus of I-20. It is the county seat of Florence County and the primary city within the Florence metropolitan area. The area forms the core of the historical "Pee Dee" region of South Carolina, which includes the eight counties of northeastern South Carolina, along with sections of southeastern North Carolina. As of the 2010 census, the population of Florence was 37,056, and the estimated population in 2015 was 38,228.

Gaffney, SC

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 12,526
Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 5)
Median Rent: $621
Distance to Closest Airport: 41 miles
More on Gaffney: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Gaffney is a town in and the seat of Cherokee County, South Carolina, United States, in the Upstate region of South Carolina. Gaffney is known as the "Peach Capital of South Carolina". The population was 12,539 at the 2010 census, with an estimated population of 12,597 in 2014. It is the principal city of the Gaffney, South Carolina, Micropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of Cherokee County and which is further included in the greater Greenville-Spartanburg-Anderson, South Carolina Combined Statistical Area.

Mount Pleasant, SC

Overall SnackAbility

9.5
/10

Population: 83,700
Rank Last Year: 8 (No Change)
Median Rent: $1,533
Distance to Closest Airport: 12 miles
More on Mount Pleasant: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Mount Pleasant is a large suburban town in Charleston County, South Carolina, United States. It is the fourth largest municipality and largest town in South Carolina, and for several years was one of the state's fastest-growing areas, doubling in population between 1990 and 2000. The population was 67,843 at the 2010 census, and the estimated population in 2014 was 77,796. Mount Pleasant is the third largest city in the Charleston- North Charleston- Summerville metropolitan area, behind Charleston and North Charleston.

Charleston, SC

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 133,762
Rank Last Year: 7 (Down 2)
Median Rent: $1,208
Distance to Closest Airport: 7 miles
More on Charleston: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Charleston is the oldest and largest city in the U.S. state of South Carolina, the county seat of Charleston County, and the principal city in the Charleston-North Charleston-Summerville Metropolitan Statistical Area. The city lies just south of the geographical midpoint of South Carolina's coastline and is located on Charleston Harbor, an inlet of the Atlantic Ocean formed by the confluence of the Ashley and Cooper rivers. Charleston had an estimated population of 134,385 in 2016. The estimated population of the Charleston metropolitan area, comprising Berkeley, Charleston, and Dorchester counties, was 761,155 residents in 2016, the third-largest in the state and the 78th-largest metropolitan statistical area in the United States.

Review Of Charleston by HomeSnacks User

I noticed very little crime while I was there, and the education is superb!! From colleges to elementary schools, the education in first rate with lots of real world experience. I Love this place!

What stands out to me is the classic Southern Charm of the place. Everything is peaceful and quiet. And the beauty stands out. The entire city is just beautiful!! The coast is also super nice along with the history of the area.

Beaufort, SC

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 13,336
Rank Last Year: 5 (Down 5)
Median Rent: $945
Distance to Closest Airport: 36 miles
More on Beaufort: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Beaufort is a city in and the county seat of Beaufort County, South Carolina, United States. Chartered in 1711, it is the second-oldest city in South Carolina, behind Charleston. The city's population was 12,361 in the 2010 census. It is a primary city within the Hilton Head Island-Bluffton-Beaufort, SC Metropolitan Statistical Area.

How We Determined The Best Places To Retire In the Palmetto State for 2020

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 -- 394 cities and towns.

We then narrowed it down to places with at least 10,000 people that weren't townships. This left us with 34 places from across the state.

For these 34, we looked at the following criteria taken from the Census, the FBI's Crime Report, National Weather Service, and OpenFlights:

  • Low cost of living as measured by rent
  • Low crime
  • Things to do (Museums, Colleges, and Libraries in town)
  • Nice weather
  • Distance to the closest international airport
  • Other retirees (High median age)

We then ranked each of these places for each criteria from one to 34, with the lowest number being the best.

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

Maybe You're Not Ready To Retire In South Carolina Yet...

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

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

  1. Cayce
  2. Greer
  3. Port Royal

For more South Carolina reading, check out:

Where Are The Best Places To Retire In South Carolina?

Rank City Population Median Rent
1 Aiken 30,464 $875
2 Conway 22,661 $765
3 Moncks Corner 10,169 $858
4 Newberry 10,289 $702
5 Myrtle Beach 31,783 $875
6 Florence 37,802 $759
7 Gaffney 12,526 $621
8 Mount Pleasant 83,700 $1,533
9 Charleston 133,762 $1,208
10 Beaufort 13,336 $945

How Is The Area In ?

About Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar has been in the real estate business for almost ten years now. He originally worked for Movoto Real Estate as the director of marketing before founding HomeSnacks.

He believes the key to finding the right place to live comes down to looking at the data, reading about things to do, and, most importantly, checking it out yourself before you move.

If you've been looking for a place to live in the past several years, you've probably stumbled upon his writing already.

You can find out more about him on LinkedIn or his website.