Where are the best places in the state of South Carolina?
To the untrained eye they are the places that have awesome economies. They’re the places in Palmetto State where people have the best jobs, residents are all above average, and the sun shines the most.
However, here at HomeSnacks, we don’t trust the untrained eye and instead look to data to understand the best places to call home in South Carolina.
There might be some surprises on this list, but when you look at the unbiased data, it’s hard to argue against.
After analyzing 61 places in South Carolina, we came up with this list of the best places:
- Mount Pleasant (Photos)
- Tega Cay
- James Island (Photos)
- Lexington (Photos)
- Forest Acres (Photos)
- Simpsonville (Photos)
- Clemson (Photos)
- Charleston (Photos)
- Hanahan (Photos)
Follow along as we provide more insight into how we reached our overall best 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 5,200
- Towns — Populations between 1,000 and 5,200
- Small Towns — Populations below 1,000
This left us with 61 cities, 143 towns, and 157 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 5,200 people to truly be ‘the best’.
You can see those two top tens at the bottom of the post.
How We Calculated The Best Place 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
- Education Levels
- Health Insurance Coverage
- Poverty rates
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.
1. Mount Pleasant
Population: 77,907Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Home Values: $393,800 (2nd best)
Unemployment Rate: 4.6% (3rd best)
Mount Pleasant is feeling the love as it ranks as the 1st best city to live in South Carolina for 2015.
It ranked highly because of its high incomes (2nd overall) and low crime (2nd overall and one of the best in the top ten).
We think the city should probably change its motto at this point to something like “The Place To Be In South Carolina”.
2. Tega Cay
Population: 9,026 Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Home Values: $301,200 (3rd best)
Unemployment Rate: 6.0% (14th best)
Tega Cay has a strong showing in our best places to live in South Carolina analysis, coming it at 2nd best.
It ranks highly like many others in the top ten for a low unemployment rate and high adjusted median income. It scored extra points relative to the top ten for its size and things to do.
If you’re thinking of moving to South Carolina, Tega Cay is a great option.
Population: 24,723 Rank Last Year: 3 (No Change)
Home Values: $154,800 (24th best)
Unemployment Rate: 6.1% (15th best)
If you want to live in South Carolina, you can’t go wrong if you decide to make the Mauldin area your home. However, everyone and their mother wants to live here.
Can you blame them? It’s a beautiful place with really low crime, where a majority of residents are wealthy (a $63,071 median income will do that).
Plus, the residents are really involved with helping to make Mauldin as great as possible. You can’t get it much better than in Mauldin.
4. James Island
Population: 11,844Rank Last Year: 8 (Up 4)
Home Values: $244,000 (6th best)
Unemployment Rate: 5.7% (12th best)
James Island ranks as the 4th best place in South Carolina for 2018. Let’s take a look at why.
James Island has a lower crime rate than the cities mentioned above. James Island’s cost of living is a tick higher, but families also earn much higher salaries – to the tune of $68,564 a year.
The knock? We can’t really find one 🙂
Population: 20,315Rank Last Year: 5 (No Change)
Home Values: $174,900 (18th best)
Unemployment Rate: 4.2% (1st best)
It’s obvious why Lexington ranks 5th in the state for best places to live: they have the 1st lowest unemployment rate and the 18th highest home values.
Plus, they’re known for their quality education and relatively low crime, making Lexington a great place to live.
6. Forest Acres
Population: 10,571 Rank Last Year: 6 (No Change)
Home Values: $186,900 (14th best)
Unemployment Rate: 6.4% (17th best)
Forest Acres comes in 6th in our best places to live in South Carolina analysis.
Ranking highly for its exceptionally low unemployment rate (18th overall) and crime rate (37th overall), Forest Acres is the exact kind of place you’d want to live with a family.
Several large companies call the surrounding area home which should keep Forest Acres in our lists for years to come.
Population: 20,183 Rank Last Year: 7 (No Change)
Home Values: $153,900 (25th best)
Unemployment Rate: 4.9% (5th best)
Say what you want about cheap living. The fact is, homes are priced by demand, and there’s A LOT of demand to live in Simpsonville.
Simpsonville ranked impressively high for its crime rate (22nd overall) and its short commute times (30th).
We think that’s worth the price of admission.
Population: 15,008Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 4)
Home Values: $197,500 (12th best)
Unemployment Rate: 4.9% (5th best)
Clemson makes a case for being one of the best places to live in South Carolina mainly because of a low crime rate and a higher than average household income level.
And when school spending is higher than the national average and only 4.9% of folks are jobless, you can bet Clemson residents are glad to live where they do.
Population: 129,888Rank Last Year: 9 (No Change)
Home Values: $269,400 (4th best)
Unemployment Rate: 5.9% (13th best)
Charleston is one of the greatest places to be in South Carolina.
Being in the top 25% for unemployment, education, and crime index all help to keep Charleston from acquiring any kind of inferiority complex.
That, and the fact that Charleston is largest town in the top ten.
We wouldn’t be surprised if more and more publications start to call Charleston one of America’s gems for 2018.
Population: 20,710Rank Last Year: 11 (Up 1)
Home Values: $189,800 (13th best)
Unemployment Rate: 4.9% (5th best)
Taking its place as the 10th best place in South Carolina is Hanahan. 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 4.9% helps thing too.
Wrapping Up The Best Of The Best 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 2018.
Best Towns To Live In South Carolina
- Northlake (Pop. 4,086)
- Pinopolis (Pop. 1,303)
- India Hook (Pop. 4,192)
- Sullivan’s Island (Pop. 2,049)
- Blythewood (Pop. 2,612)
- Isle of Palms (Pop. 4,320)
- Springdale (Pop. 2,740)
- Pine Ridge (Pop. 2,138)
- Folly Beach (Pop. 2,732)
- Quinby (Pop. 1,192)
Best Small Towns To Live In South Carolina
- Arcadia Lakes (Pop. 991)
- Briarcliffe Acres (Pop. 407)
- Pawleys Island (Pop. 67)
- Boykin (Pop. 98)
- Reidville (Pop. 827)
- Edisto Beach (Pop. 647)
- Rockville (Pop. 153)
- Little Mountain (Pop. 219)
- Cross Anchor (Pop. 228)
- Islandton (Pop. 82)
If you’re curious enough, here are the worst places to live in South Carolina:
- Walterboro (Pop. 5,287)
- Dillon (Pop. 6,675)
- Batesburg-Leesville (Pop. 5,273)
For more South Carolina reading , check out:
- These Are The 10 Poorest Places In South Carolina
- 5 South Carolina Foods Taste Tested By Californians
- These Are The 10 Most Dangerous Cities In South Carolina
Detailed List Of The Best Cities In South Carolina
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|North Myrtle Beach||23||24|