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
  2. Aiken
  3. Central
  4. Rock Hill
  5. Gaffney
  6. Anderson
  7. Tega Cay
  8. Central
  9. North Augusta
  10. Clemson

Why did Summerville take the top spot? And where are Columbia and Charleston? Read on to see see all the golden parachute level details.

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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: 44,717
Cost Of Living: 98
Distance to Closest Airport: 10 miles
Crime Per 100k: 3,931
Summerville ranked 1 overall thanks to its 37 place rank for cost of living and 12 place safety rank.

2. Aiken

Aiken, South Carolina

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 29,980
Cost Of Living: 83
Distance to Closest Airport: 101 miles
Crime Per 100k: 5,426
Aiken ranked 2 overall thanks to its 3 place rank for cost of living and 23 place safety rank.

3. Central

Central, South Carolina

Source: Flickr

Population: 5,170
Cost Of Living: 91
Distance to Closest Airport: 109 miles
Crime Per 100k: 4,661
Central ranked 3 overall thanks to its 25 place rank for cost of living and 19 place safety rank.

4. Rock Hill

Rock Hill, South Carolina

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 68,185
Cost Of Living: 90
Distance to Closest Airport: 19 miles
Crime Per 100k: 4,000
Rock Hill ranked 4 overall thanks to its 21 place rank for cost of living and 14 place safety rank.

5. Gaffney

Gaffney, South Carolina

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 12,565
Cost Of Living: 82
Distance to Closest Airport: 41 miles
Crime Per 100k: 4,647
Gaffney ranked 5 overall thanks to its 1 place rank for cost of living and 16 place safety rank.

6. Anderson

Anderson, South Carolina

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 26,798
Cost Of Living: 83
Distance to Closest Airport: 107 miles
Crime Per 100k: 9,030
Anderson ranked 6 overall thanks to its 3 place rank for cost of living and 43 place safety rank.

7. Tega Cay


Population 2014: 8,224
Cost Of Living: 116
Distance to Closest Airport: 12 miles
Crime Per 100k: 1,471
Tega Cay ranked 7 overall thanks to its 48 place rank for cost of living and 1 place safety rank.

8. Central

Central, South Carolina

Source: Flickr

Population: 5,170
Cost Of Living: 91
Distance to Closest Airport: 213 miles
Crime Per 100k: 4,661
Central ranked 8 overall thanks to its 25 place rank for cost of living and 19 place safety rank.

9. North Augusta


Population 2014: 21,832
Cost Of Living: 88
Distance to Closest Airport: 105 miles
Crime Per 100k: 3,948
North Augusta ranked 9 overall thanks to its 18 place rank for cost of living and 13 place safety rank.

10. Clemson

Clemson, South Carolina

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 14,254
Cost Of Living: 100
Distance to Closest Airport: 111 miles
Crime Per 100k: 3,669
Clemson ranked 10 overall thanks to its 40 place rank for cost of living and 11 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
  • Beaufort
  • Columbia

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 44,717 98 10 3,931
Aiken 2 29,980 83 101 5,426
Central 3 5,170 91 109 4,661
Rock Hill 4 68,185 90 19 4,000
Gaffney 5 12,565 82 41 4,647
Anderson 6 26,798 83 107 9,030
Tega Cay 7 8,224 116 12 1,471
Central 8 5,170 91 213 4,661
North Augusta 9 21,832 88 105 3,948
Clemson 10 14,254 100 111 3,669
Chester 11 5,543 82 38 6,675
Hanahan 12 18,999 100 3 2,010
Seneca 13 8,147 92 110 2,872
Union 14 8,191 84 21 5,347
Spartanburg 15 37,216 84 58 7,526
Mount Pleasant 16 72,379 130 12 2,058
North Charleston 17 102,143 91 1 6,377
Mauldin 18 23,985 95 82 2,405
Union 19 8,191 84 51 5,347
Central 20 5,170 91 79 4,661
Bennettsville 21 8,928 85 78 5,432
Moncks Corner 22 8,711 93 20 5,429
Orangeburg 23 13,790 92 62 5,503
Fort Mill 24 12,068 106 14 2,204
Simpsonville 25 19,219 102 81 4,594
Marion 26 6,833 88 43 11,342
York 27 7,913 91 22 5,522
Port Royal 28 11,264 94 33 3,036
Darlington 29 6,232 85 68 9,579
Forest Acres 30 10,533 111 81 4,652
Florence 31 37,512 91 59 8,349
Sumter 32 40,819 88 74 5,534
Greenville 33 60,670 93 84 5,569
Myrtle Beach 34 28,455 87 3 18,133
Clinton 35 8,525 85 72 5,524
Dillon 36 6,731 86 57 11,632
Bluffton 37 13,979 107 16 3,533
Charleston 38 125,458 109 7 2,583
Greenwood 39 23,296 85 98 7,160
Newberry 40 10,259 90 74 5,907
Cheraw 41 5,809 86 69 7,333
Fountain Inn 42 8,031 93 79 2,838
Hartsville 43 7,857 90 76 11,874
Cayce 44 12,944 85 87 6,025
Batesburg-Leesville 45 5,242 85 95 7,230
Walterboro 46 5,339 97 36 11,144
Columbia 47 131,331 99 81 6,239
Beaufort 48 12,702 101 36 7,872
Camden 49 6,931 99 68 7,791

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