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


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 takes 1st place on our list of best places in South Carolina for 2019 thanks to a strong showing in unemployment rate (3rd overall) and things to do.

Mount Pleasant is no stranger to top ten lists, being named one of the best places to live in the country by multiple outlets over the past ten years. And that tends to happen when home prices hit $393,800 at the median.

Tega Cay, SC

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


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

Tega Cay is a cute little city where crime is far below the state average, and where it's affordable. The schools are also solidly rated.

Home prices clock in at $301,200 and households earn a median salary of $120,346. One could get used to that.

Mauldin, SC

Overall SnackAbility


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

Mauldin's unemployment rates are some of the lowest in the state and the median income is the 8th highest, making Mauldin a great place to work and settle down if you're look for a stable job with a stable income.

Additionally, Mauldin has above average education and low crime, making this place a safe place to live.

James Island, SC

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


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 is another great city in South Carolina with a low unemployment rate and where residents earn high salaries.

Said one reviewer on City-Data.com: " We feel incredibly safe in James Island. The houses and neighborhoods are beautiful, the people are friendly, and it's wonderful to have such good neighbors. People watch out for each other here, they teach their children to be respectful of others and things."

Enough said.

Lexington, SC

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


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

You might be surprised to see the Town of Lexington so high on the list. Unless you live in Lexington.

The unemployment rate here is really low, and at 4.2%, Lexington residents are some of the hardest working in the state of South Carolina. When you factor in high home prices, high incomes and low crime, Lexington is doing quite well.

Let's be honest -- Lexington is the kind of place you brag to your friends on Facebook about.

Forest Acres, SC

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


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 has a really low crime rate (37th lowest) and only 6.4% of the people are unemployed. Additionally, residents here have high paying jobs ($58,714). And that goes a long way.

The population is growing at a steady clip, and the cost of living is lower than it should be. So people have an extra incentive to live in Forest Acres.

Simpsonville, SC

Overall SnackAbility


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

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

Simpsonville has a stable economy where residents earn a large salary ($59,201). And the crime is really, really low (22nd lowest in South Carolina).

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

Clemson, SC

Overall SnackAbility


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 is feeling the love as it ranks as the 8th best city to live in South Carolina for 2019.

It ranked highly because of its high incomes (36th overall) and low crime (16th 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".

Charleston, SC

Overall SnackAbility


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

Perhaps what makes Charleston 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 Charleston great. They also have the 13th highest median income and the 35th shortest commute time.

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


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

Well, I guess technically 4.9% of Hanahan residents who want to have a job can't find one, so not everyone has a job, but it's the 5th closest of any city in South Carolina.

You can tell they take business seriously as they have by far the coolest Chamber of Commerce website we came across in our research.

In addition to its incredibly low unemployment rate, Hanahan also ranked well for crime (5th) and median income ($55,060).

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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