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.

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

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

Mount Pleasant has some of the most employed as well as the highest earning residents in the entire state of South Carolina. Factor in a very low crime rate, and this Mount Pleasant is a real gem.

With high incomes comes a high cost of living, which can been seen in the home prices. Additionally, the commute time for Mount Pleasant residents to work is significantly higher than average.

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

Good things do come in small packages; it’s true for Tega Cay, which with a population of 9,026 makes it one of the smallest on this list.

Relatively low unemployment and relatively high adjusted income are just two blessings Tega Cay residents enjoy.

The 4th lowest crime rate in all of South Carolina makes Tega Cay one of the safest place on this list.

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

The Mauldin has the 15th 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 Mauldin is higher than the national average and households make $63,071 per year.

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

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

James Island 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\James Island had the 4th highest household median income adjusted for cost of living at $68,564.

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

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

Let’s take a look at why Lexington is a great place to call home for 2019.

There’s low crime in Lexington, and the residents here are gainfully employed (4.2% unemployment rate).

You can make Lexington your home for only $174,900 which won’t be too hard on a $63,326 household salary.

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

In Forest Acres, everyone loves to call Forest Acres home! The median home value is the 14th highest in South Carolina.

Additionally, the unemployment rate is the 18th lowest in the state. and the crime rates are some of the lowest in Palmetto State.

Forest Acres should consider renaming to Paradise Valley in our humble opinion.

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

Perhaps what makes Simpsonville so amazing is the high emphasis they put on quality education: they have one of the highest rate of education at attainment for adults.

However, quality education isn’t all that makes Simpsonville great. They also have the 10th highest median income and the 30th shortest commute time.

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

Clemson isn’t just the nicest place to live in South Carolina – it’s also the one of the fastest growing places in the state. And with good reason.

It’s got the 5th lowest unemployment rate, the 36th highest adjusted income, and rates above most places in education.

When you’re looking at science and data, Clemson definitely deserves a spot on the list for 2019.

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

If you live in Charleston, you probably know how great it is already.

Charleston has a stable economy where residents earn a large salary ($57,603). And the crime is really, really low (12th lowest in South Carolina).

If we could afford to move here, we probably would.

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

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 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 Hanahan residents are glad to live where they do.

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

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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