What does life look like in the Palmetto State? A place that is known for its beaches, golf courses and districts that are an essential part of history, life can be quite idyllic here. Situated on the east coast of the country, South Carolina has a lot more to boast about than just ocean-side apartments. In case you were planning on moving to South Carolina, keep reading for more information as to what the state offers to its residents.

What Should I Know Before Moving To South Carolina?

South Carolina, situated in the south-eastern region of the United States and shares its borders with North Carolina and Georgia. It actually happens to be the 40th most extensive state in the country, spreading across an area of 32,020 square miles (82,932 km2) with 1,911 square miles (4,949 km2) of it being water. It is also the 23rd most populous state in the US, with 5,148,714 residents as of 2019.

South Carolina is quite the hub for visual and performing arts. There are also museums and other historic sites throughout the state that pay ode to the state’s history, right from its Native American period to the present times. There are quite a few performing arts festivals, like the Spoleto Festival USA in Charleston and local festivals that celebrate the local traditions.

Nightlife in South Carolina can surprise you quite a bit. You will find that the place at night is as colorful as anything that the day can offer. There is everything from late-night restaurants to live music for every different hour and mood of the night. You will find plenty of beer bars and dancing spots and craft beers that are criminal to miss out on. There’s also theater for those who like that and there are sport and bowling alleys that cater to the late-night sporting enthusiasts.

South Carolina can be quite the culinary treat for many. The boiled peanuts are quite the tasty and popular snack and if you love near the waterways, you could have your fill of the sweet shrimp served over buttered grits. Another dish that is special to South Carolina’s coast is the she-crab soup where the meat of the female blue crabs is cooked by simmering it in cream and sherry. While you are at it, do not miss out on the Frogmore stew. We will let you find out for yourself what it is.

Something very important you should know before going to South Carolina is that the barbecue here is mustard based. That being said, the state is an amazing place to live and it’s residents are known to lack for nothing.

Crime Rate In South Carolina

The rate of crime in South Carolina per 1000 residents is 5.11, which means that one’s chances of being the victim of a violent crime are 1 in 196.

When it comes to property crime, the rate per 1000 residents is 29.40 which means that the possibility of being the victim of such a crime is 1 in 34.

From the given statistics from NeighbourhoodScouts, it can be understood that South Carolina is a relatively safe state, and by quite a wide margin when compared to other states of a similar size and population. The crime rate here is only a tad bit higher than the US national average.

South Carolina Weather

The climate of South Carolina, like much of the southern states, is classified as ‘humid subtropical’.
Summers are hot and humid with daytime temperatures across the state being 90°F (32°C) and then dropping to 70°F (21°C) at night. It is to note that elevated areas have temperatures that are much lower.

Temperatures in winter are quite uneven across the state with inland areas being cooler compared to the areas along the coast. At places near the beaches, temperatures average 60°F (16°C) during the day and 38°F (3°C) during the night. Further inland, temperatures range between 50°F (10°C) to 32°F (0°C). Snowfall levels can vary a lot across the state, either there being none at all or being enough to make multiple snowmen.

While precipitation is there the entire year, the coast might be slightly wetter during the hot months. While the coastal areas can have about 50-60 inches (1300-1500 mm) of rain every year, inland parts of the state average about 40-50 inches (1000-1300 mm) of rain. Near the Piedmont, the rain levels are 70-80 inches (1800-2000 mm).

Something which could be a dampener for a few is that South Carolina sure is prone to tropical cyclones, especially during the June through November. You should know that the state also experiences frequent tornadoes.

Is South Carolina Expensive To Live In?

There is true happiness in living in a place where you don’t have to worry about your wallet being in the negative, just by virtue of existing in a certain geography. It is imperative to assess how a move to South Carolina would affect your monthly income.

As any financial evaluation must begin with taxes, let’s look at what you would have to pay in South Carolina. The general sales tax is 6% and an additional tax would be levied depending upon the county you reside in. When it comes to the income tax, the range is from 1% to 7% as the state accepts exemptions, adjustments and deductions on your federal tax return. Social security income is not taxed, making the state tax-friendly for retirees. The average South Carolina property tax is 0.574%, which is a lot lower than the national average.

Cost Of Living In South Carolina

The cost of living in South Carolina is pretty decent, with the cost-of-living index being 88.5, as compared to the national average of 100. As per the estimates of Numbeo, a family of four would need $3,629 per month, excluding rent, for their expenses. A single person would similarly require $1,031.

During a visit to the supermarket, a litre of milk would cost $0.82 and a loaf of bread would be $2.47. A dozen eggs cost $1.69 and a kilogram of potatoes cost $4.98. If you prefer eating out, a meal at an inexpensive place costs $18 approximately, whereas a meal for two at a mid-range restaurant would be $60.

Concerning healthcare, while prices vary and premiums go down if you are in good health, a basic major medical insurance can cost $452.

Buying A House

Buying a house in South Carolina is extremely affordable, with the median home price being as low as $163,134. It does go without saying that this figure would vary depending upon the city and local neighbourhood, but on average, you are not likely to have to pay anything more than $200,000.

Renting A House

The average rent of a two-bedroom house in South Carolina is $900, which is fairly lower than the US national average. Housing is one of the most affordable sectors of the state, which is an important factor to consider.

Utility Bills

The utility bills for an average apartment in South Carolina are $214, and these include water, electricity, heating, cooling and garbage disposal. An unlimited internet plan, which is a given, would cost around $67 per month.

As far as transportation costs go, a one-way ticket on the local transport costs $2 and a monthly pass costs $57.The base taxi fare is $6 and the cost per kilometre is $3.11. Gas costs $0.56, in case you have your own vehicle.

South Carolina Economy And Employment Opportunities

The state’s economy is the 26th largest in the United States, with tourism being the largest industry. The tourism industry is majorly based around Charleston, Myrtle Beach and Hilton Head Island. It has gained the reputation of being a travel destination due to its beaches and historic sites. During 2018, the revenue from domestic travelers was $14.4 billion. Myrtle Beach had a share of $4.5 billion, Charleston was $2.6 billion and Beaufort County was $1.4 billion.

Another industry that is the driving force behind the state’s economy is in advanced-manufacturing, which is concentrated in the Upstate and the Lowcountry. It’s also the leading exporter of cars in the United States, due to a number of foreign-invested automotive manufacturing plants located in the state.

When it comes to industries, the major ones are textile goods, chemical products, paper products, machinery, automotive products and tourism. Agriculture outputs from the state are tobacco, poultry, cotton, cattle, dairy, soyabean, hay, rice and swine. Also, a total of 11.5% jobs are in leisure and hospitality, 11.8% in education and health services. The service sector is probably the largest with it occupying a total of 83.7% of the economy.

The state has a policy of right to work, which means that businesses make use of staffing agencies for their vacancies. The Fortune 500 company located in South Carolina is Domtar. There are some Fortune 1000 companies which are SCANA, Sonoco Products and ScanSource. It’s worth noting that Media is a thriving industry here, considering there being 36 stations with terrestrial and online streaming access.

The state also derives benefits from foreign investment with companies like BMW and Zapp Group running operations here. The cities upstate have been called an ‘industrial powerhouse’ due to there being a lot of global companies up there. As was once described, the place had “the highest diversified foreign investment per capita in the United States”. This is also the place where you will probably find the most number of engineers in the country. In terms of the kind of money people make in South Carolina, the median household income here is approximately $53,199 per year.


South Carolina is one of the three states in the country to not use international maths and language standards. The state has 85 school districts with a total of 1144 K-12 schools. It is also the only state to own and operate a statewide bus system.

For institutes of higher learning, the state has College of Charleston, University of South Carolina, Erskine College, Wofford College, Lander University and Presbyterian College among others. Each of these teach a wide range of disciplines and specialization in an array of fields.

Getting Around South Carolina

1. Air

The state has seven airports, all of which are regional. The busiest one by volume is the Charleston International Airport. For international travel, one must cross the border over to the Charlotte/Douglas International Airport which is the 30th busiest in the world.

The regional airports are the Columbia Metropolitan Airport, Florence Regional Airport, Hilton head Airport and the Myrtle Beach International Airport, all located in their namesakes.

2. Rail

Amtrak services four routes in South Carolina which are through the Crescent, Palmetto, Silver Star and the Silver Meteor. The Crescent is for the Upstate cities, the Silver Star for the central ones and the Palmetto and Silver Meteor for the low-country cities.

3. Roads

South Carolina consists of 11 Interstates, numbered highways and state highways with an approximate total of 41,500 miles, making it the fourth-largest system in the country that is maintained by the state.

Also Read: South Carolina DMV Change of Address

Best Cities Of South Carolina

1. Charleston

Charleston is known for things that are all south – history and charm. It has often been called ‘one of the cities for foodies’ and features beautiful architecture that has withstood the test of time. Let’s not forget, Charleston also has historical hotspots like the Magnolia Cemetery and the Drayton Hall to boast of.

The average cost of a two-bedroom house here is $366,358 and the average rent of a similar house would be $1050.

2. Columbia

The capital city of the state as well as its largest city, life moves at a certain pace here that goes well with the charm of it mixed with the new age hustle. The major attractions here are the Riverbanks Zoo that is constructed across 170-acres, and the Colonial Life Arena which happens to be South Carolina’s largest. Due to the University of South Carolina, the city has a significant college-going population.

The average price of a two-bedroom house here is a meagre $160,405 and the average rent would be $900.

3. Myrtle Beach

This is the place that is advised to go to if you are visiting South Carolina. Myrtle Beach is the ideal summer vacation as well as the perfect weekend getaway. It is located on the grand Strand and has some 60 miles of beaches along which you can go boating, surfing and swimming. This is the place that has the East coast’s only SkyWheel. Just so you know, that happens to be 200 feet high. For the family man, there is the Family Kingdom, an amusement park right in front of the ocean.

The average cost of a house here is $206,449 and the average rent would be $1,100.

4. Florence

This city screams history and collects all the history buffs from across the country. There’s the Florence National Cemetery, War Between the States Museum and a part of the 66-mile Revolutionary Rivers Trail. The part of this city that attracts the outgoing friends of history buffs is the Rivers Trail where one can go canoeing, kayaking, fishing and camping. There are also spots for live entertainment, them being the Francis Marion University Performing Arts Centre, Florence Civic Centre and the Florence Little Theatre.

The average cost of a house here is $160,191 and the average rent would be $800.

5. Spartanburg

Considering how little Spartanburg is mentioned, it is surprising how it has established itself as the base for international companies like BMW, Adidas and Michelin, as well as several others. This huge economic base has made the city something of a cultural buffet.

The city also has quite the sportsman spirit with the Spartanburg’s Croft State Park hosting the Stump Jump mountain bike races, which lead to the USAC XC National Championships. Another interesting thing to know is that Wofford College in the city has training camps for their football teams, called the Carolina Panthers.

The average cost of a two-bedroom house in Spartanburg is $150,304 and the average rent is $1,200.

6. Greenville

Consider Greenville to be the best of both worlds. It happens to be Upstate South Carolina’s largest business district and downtown Greenville is named as America’s best downtown, with attractions like Falls Park on the Reedy, Fluor Field and the Peace Centre which is a $42 million entertainment venue.

The average price of a two-bedroom apartment in this city is $224,877 and the average rent of that house would be $1,200.

7. Aiken

This city, located in Thoroughbred Country, is the ultimate haven for equestrians. There is a rich well-established system in place, taken care of by the Aiken Steeplechase Association. But that’s not all, they host two racing events yearly, and the Aiken Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame and Museum, celebrates the area’s history and association with the sport.

On top of that, students find living in this city to be of preference, considering the presence of University of South Carolina and the Aiken Technical College here.

The average cost of a two-bedroom house here is $196,261 and the rent for the same would be $1,000.

Is Moving To South Carolina A Good Idea?

South Carolina can be quite the ideal home for many, due to its culture of the deep south that co-exists with the diversity. But every individual must evaluate objectively and comprehensively, whether the culture and cost-of-living of a state sits well with their life and temperament. An objective assessment like that will never yield negative results.

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