The 10 Best Places To Live In South Carolina For 2019

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

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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.

But, the southern gents and southern bells of South Carolina would beg to differ, it’s a lot more.

South Carolinians say it’s one of the best states in the country. And in order to be one of the best, they have to 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?

It doesn’t end there folks. Did you know that Charleston is home to the reality TV show Southern Charm? And that once you cross the Ravenel Bridge, historic plantations and trailer parks dot the extensive countryside?

There is no shortage of shrimp and grits, buttered biscuits, and fried chicken, cuz there’s a Waffle House on just about every street corner. Can it get any better than this?

Yes it can.

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

Now, it wouldn’t be right if we didn’t mention the love the good people of The Land of Tiny Palm Trees feel for their Carolina Panthers. When residents aren’t busy cheering on their local teams under the Friday night lights, they can be heard yelling for the black and blue on any given Sunday. #GoPanthers

South Carolina’s strong economy, gold star education rating, and average cost of living make its cities very desirable. One can imagine how difficult it was for us to narrow down the Best Places to Live in South Carolina

So, grab yourself 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 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 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 10 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

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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

The Mount Pleasant has the 3rd lowest unemployment rate in South Carolina. The population growth here has been 8% over the last 15 years, meaning a lot of people want to live here. If they can afford it; the cost of living in Mount Pleasant is higher than the national average and households make $83,490 per year.

We’d move to Mount Pleasant if we could in a heart beat.

Tega Cay, SC

Source: Public domain
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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

Known for its low unemployment rates and great education, Tega Cay 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, Tega Cay still holds its own in in South Carolina.

Mauldin, SC

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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

At an unemployment rate of 6.1%, everyone who wants a job can get one in Mauldin. And the residents command high salaries ($63,071 a year combined income), and live in big fancy homes ($154,800 each).

We’re not saying money is why these cities are the ‘best’ in South Carolina. What we’re implying is that money means safety and peace of mind. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

James Island, SC

Source: Public domain
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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

James Island 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 James Island has one; the unemployment rate is hovering at about 5.7% and lowering. And the James Island police department is doing a solid job, as crime is the 11th lowest in the state here.

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

Lexington, SC

Source: Public domain
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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

There’s two types of people who live in Lexington. Either the old hold outs who have lived there forever and are watching their home values skyrocket, or those d who can afford to buy a $174,900 home there.

Either way, you’re set. Your kids go to great schools, there’s a ton of things to do, and you earn a great salary. Lexington is exactly what you hoped for when you played that board game, LIFE as a kid.

Forest Acres, SC

Source: Public domain
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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

Forest Acres broke into the top ten best places to live in South Carolina on the back of a low unemployment and a quality schools system.

It placed 18th overall for its low unemployment rate and the 11th highest median income of any place in our analysis.

However, it only has the 10th shortest average commute time of any place in South Carolina.

Simpsonville, SC

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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

Simpsonville ranks 7th on our list of best places to live in South Carolina thanks to its low unemployment and high adjusted median income.

Additionally, its crime rate ranks in the lowest 10% of all places in South Carolina that we examined.

People have been flocking to Simpsonville over the past years. Goes to show that everyone wants in on this great community.

Clemson, SC

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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

In Clemson, everyone loves to call Clemson home! The median home value is the 12th highest in South Carolina.

Additionally, the unemployment rate is the 5th lowest in the state. and the crime rates are some of the lowest in Palmetto State.

Charleston, SC

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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

Things can’t get much better than in the town of Charleston. The crime is the 12th lowest in the entire state, and the residents who live in Charleston make huge salaries, and almost all of them have great jobs.

The median home costs a cool $269,400 and households make $57,603 which is good for 13th in South Carolina.

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.

Hanahan, SC

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


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 a long and illustrious history and its ranking in the top ten of our best places to live is just another notch in its belt.\n\Hanahan had the 15th highest household median income adjusted for cost of living at $55,060.

Not to mention that its residents have plenty to do on the weekends.

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 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

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