10 Best Places To Live In South Carolina For 2019


These are the cream of the crop in the Palmetto State.

Editor’s Note: We updated this article for 2019. This is our fifth time ranking the best places to live in South Carolina.

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Most people think that South Carolina is just a bunch of Bible thumpers, surfers, reality TV actors, and just good 'ol southern folk that sit around and drink sweet tea all day.

The southern gents and southern bells of South Carolina, however, would beg to differ: it's a lot more. South Carolinians say it's one of the best states in the country. And we think that in order to be one of the best, they should have the best places to call home, right?

While there is a lot of waxing down those surfboards and studying those Bible verses, there are a lot of other fun facts about South Carolinians that most people probably don't know. For example, did you know that Columbia is not only the capital of South Carolina, it is also home to the University of South Carolina?

The Palmetto State is so awesome that in our stories Best States to Raise a Family and Best States in America, they did not come in last. #Kudos

South Carolina's strong economy, gold star education rating, and average cost of living make its cities very desirable. So, one can imagine how difficult it was for us to narrow down the best places to live in South Carolina. We suggest you grab some of great granny's sweet tea and a basket of hush puppies and read on.

Yes, South Carolina is the best state for those looking for a little good 'ol fashioned fun. The energy the residents of South Carolina exude attract many people in search of a little piece of southern charm amidst a quaint backdrop. What does the perfect place to live in South Carolina look like?

More importantly what city is the best place to live in South Carolina for 2019? Well according to the US Census and FBI data we crunched, Mount Pleasant is the best place to live in South Carolina if you care about home values, low crime, and a high quality of life.

Take a look at the list below to find out the best places to live in The Palmetto State. We give you a detailed look into the top ten best places to live in South Carolina where, yes, you can have it all.

If you're looking for something more national, check out the best states in America or the best places to live in America.

For more South Carolina reading, check out:

The 10 Best Places To Live In South Carolina For 2019

Mount Pleasant, SC

Overall SnackAbility

9
/10

Population: 77,907
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $393,800 (2nd best)
Unemployment Rate: 4.6% (3rd best)
More on Mount Pleasant: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Who wouldn't want to live in a place where there's low crime and everyone is rich? That's the case with Mount Pleasant.

Things are looking peachy keen here. The unemployment rate is the 3rd lowest in South Carolina and the median income comes in at $83,490.

This is the kind of place you brag to your friends on Facebook about.

Tega Cay, SC

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

9.5
/10

Population: 9,026
Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $301,200 (3rd best)
Unemployment Rate: 6.0% (14th best)
More on Tega Cay: Real Estate | Data | Photos

It's obvious why Tega Cay ranks 2nd in the state for best places to live: they have the 14th lowest unemployment rate and the 3rd highest home values.

Plus, they're known for their quality education and relatively low crime, making Tega Cay a great place to live.

Mauldin, SC

Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

Population: 24,723
Rank Last Year: 3 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $154,800 (24th best)
Unemployment Rate: 6.1% (15th best)
More on Mauldin: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Known for its low unemployment rates and great education, Mauldin is a wonderful place to live in this state.

The relatively stable household incomes and below average crime rates don't hurt either!

While it may not be as great as some other places on this list, Mauldin still holds its own in in South Carolina.

James Island, SC

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 11,844
Rank Last Year: 8 (Up 4)
Median Home Value: $244,000 (6th best)
Unemployment Rate: 5.7% (12th best)
More on James Island: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Crime is something that doesn't happen very often in James Island. Statistically the 11th safest place in the state, there were only 0 violent crimes in the entire city last year.

It's really beautiful in James Island, and new homes continue to replace older homes. Resident earn $68,564 a year, and homes are valued at more than $244,000.

What else could you possibly want if you're someone who likes the good things in life?

Lexington, SC

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 20,315
Rank Last Year: 5 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $174,900 (18th best)
Unemployment Rate: 4.2% (1st best)
More on Lexington: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Taking its place as the 5th best place in South Carolina is Lexington. Residents here earn a really high salary each year, and crime is fairly low, in comparison to the rest of South Carolina.

It's considered a cultural community, as it boasts an arts scene, and many ethnic restaurants, too. Which means you can't be bored here.

An unemployment rate of only 4.2% helps thing too.

Forest Acres, SC

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 10,571
Rank Last Year: 6 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $186,900 (14th best)
Unemployment Rate: 6.4% (18th best)
More on Forest Acres: Real Estate | Data | Photos

If you don't have a job in Forest Acres, you're most likely not trying very hard. The unemployment rate here is almost as low as you can get -- 6.4%. In fact, there are probably enough butler and landscaping jobs available here to put every single unemployed resident to work, what with a median income of $58,714.

That's actually not a bad idea...

Simpsonville, SC

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 20,183
Rank Last Year: 7 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $153,900 (25th best)
Unemployment Rate: 4.9% (5th best)
More on Simpsonville: Real Estate | Data | Photos

When you're looking at the best places you could live in South Carolina, Simpsonville came in 7th. Let's see why.

It has a low unemployment rate and high incomes.

Plus, Simpsonville has an impressive history for a place of just over 20,183 people. The median home costs a cool $153,900 and households make $59,201 which is good for 10th in South Carolina.

Clemson, SC

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 15,008
Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 4)
Median Home Value: $197,500 (12th best)
Unemployment Rate: 4.9% (5th best)
More on Clemson: Real Estate | Data | Photos

With the unemployment rate being the 5th lowest in South Carolina and very stable household median incomes, it's easy to see why someone would want to live in Clemson.

Plus, the crime rate is the 16th lowest in the state!

Charleston, SC

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 129,888
Rank Last Year: 9 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $269,400 (4th best)
Unemployment Rate: 5.9% (13th best)
More on Charleston: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The Town of Charleston might be a bit of a surprise to some in terms of how well it ranks according to science.

The crime rate in Charleston isn't amazing, but it's far below the state average. The homes are valued at $269,400 here, and the schools get some of the most funding in South Carolina.

If Charleston can get some more of their residents to work, things will look even rosier here. The unemployment rate (5.9% is the 13th highest in the state.

Review Of Charleston by HomeSnacks User

people are not there and very polite. Very clean city with beautiful beaches. i go there at least twice a year.

the beahes are beautiful. The air is very clean and the city is clean. the atmosphere is amazing there. a lot of happy hour and great food to eat

Hanahan, SC

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 20,710
Rank Last Year: 11 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $189,800 (13th best)
Unemployment Rate: 4.9% (5th best)
More on Hanahan: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Hanahan has been called one of the best small towns in America. If you live here, you're most likely already aware of how great it is to live there.

Just about everyone who wants a job in Hanahan has one; the unemployment rate is hovering at about 4.9% and lowering. And the Hanahan police department is doing a solid job, as crime is the 5th lowest in the state here.

Who wouldn't want to live in a place like this?

Mapping The Best And Worst Places To Live in South Carolina

The Pressing Question: Size

Before we even started to collect data, we had to answer a tough question: Is it fair to pit Columbia with a population of 132,537 against places with a population of 18?

We firmly decided no, that just isn't fair.

So to create our ranking, we broke places to live into three tiers:

  • Cities -- Populations over 5,000
  • Towns -- Populations between 1,000 and 5,000
  • Small Towns -- Populations below 1,000

This left us with 61 cities, 141 towns, and 130 small towns.

We then decided, no matter how much anyone loves their town, the best places have more of everything and therefore you need to have over 5,000 people to truly be 'the best'.

Now we also realize that city living might not be your cup of tea, so we ran the following analysis on towns and then again for small towns.

You can see those two top tens at the bottom of the post.

How We Calculated The Best Cities To Live In South Carolina

Now that we had our set of cities, it was time to rank them.

We ranked each place in South Carolina across a number of criteria from one to 61, with one being the best.

We then took the average rank across all criteria, with the city posting the lowest overall score being crowned the winner of the title "Best Place To Live In South Carolina".

The criteria we looked at were:

  • Median Home Values
  • Median Income
  • Population Density (Higher better)
  • Unemployment Rate
  • Commute Time
  • Crime
  • Education Levels
  • Health Insurance Coverage
  • Poverty rates

Sources of criteria include the New Census Data and FBI Crime Data.

After the dust settled, what was the best place to live in South Carolina? That would be Mount Pleasant.

If your city or town isn't among the top 10, jump down to the bottom of the post to see a detailed chart of the best places in South Carolina.

Otherwise, buckle up for a ride down good living lane with Mount Pleasant at the end of the cul-de-sac.

Wrapping Up The Best Places When It Comes To Living In South Carolina

If you're looking at areas in South Carolina with the best economic situations, where there's lower than average crime, and a lot to do, this is an accurate list.

Mount Pleasant made a strong showing to take in the overall number one spot for the best place to live in South Carolina for 2019.

Best Towns To Live In South Carolina

  1. Northlake (Pop. 4,086)
  2. Pinopolis (Pop. 1,303)
  3. Sullivan's Island (Pop. 2,049)
  4. India Hook (Pop. 4,192)
  5. Blythewood (Pop. 2,612)
  6. Isle of Palms (Pop. 4,320)
  7. Springdale (Pop. 2,740)
  8. Pine Ridge (Pop. 2,138)
  9. Folly Beach (Pop. 2,732)
  10. Quinby (Pop. 1,192)

Best Small Towns To Live In South Carolina

  1. Arcadia Lakes (Pop. 991)
  2. Briarcliffe Acres (Pop. 407)
  3. Pawleys Island (Pop. 67)
  4. Boykin (Pop. 98)
  5. Reidville (Pop. 827)
  6. Edisto Beach (Pop. 647)
  7. Rockville (Pop. 153)
  8. Little Mountain (Pop. 219)
  9. Hodges (Pop. 148)
  10. Glendale (Pop. 161)

If you're curious enough, here are the worst places to live in South Carolina according to the data:

  1. Batesburg-Leesville (Pop. 5,273)
  2. Dillon (Pop. 6,675)
  3. Walterboro (Pop. 5,287)

For more South Carolina reading, check out:

Where Are The Best Places To Live In South Carolina?

Rank City Population Unemployment Rate Home Value
1 Mount Pleasant 77,907 4.6% $393,800
2 Tega Cay 9,026 6.0% $301,200
3 Mauldin 24,723 6.1% $154,800
4 James Island 11,844 5.7% $244,000
5 Lexington 20,315 4.2% $174,900
6 Forest Acres 10,571 6.4% $186,900
7 Simpsonville 20,183 4.9% $153,900
8 Clemson 15,008 4.9% $197,500
9 Charleston 129,888 5.9% $269,400
10 Hanahan 20,710 4.9% $189,800

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.

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