Trying to figure out the pros and cons of living in South Carolina? You’re in good hands! I’m a lifelong local and I’m willing to spill the beans on daily life in the Palmetto State.
My husband ended up moving to South Carolina (from San Francisco) for a job opportunity in 2014 and can’t imagine living elsewhere at this phase in his life. Several of his previous co-workers have received similar job offers and frequently ask us about daily life in South Carolina, so we finally decided to sit down and create a quick helpful guide.
Without further ado, let’s cover the perks of moving to South Carolina!
Pros & Cons of Living in South Carolina
Table of Contents: Living in South Carolina
Table of Contents: Living in South Carolina
- Pros & Cons of Living in South Carolina
- First, the perks of moving to South Carolina
- Cons of Living in South Carolina
- List of the Pros & Cons of Living in South Carolina (Post Summary)
First, the perks of moving to South Carolina
#1. The low cost of living in South Carolina
One of the most important perks of moving to South Carolina is saving money on everyday expenses and essentials. The cost of living is 12% lower than the national average, which means extra dollars in your bank account.
You’ll save money on items ranging from groceries to clothes to transportation. Speaking of transportation, you’ll save money every time you run to the store, drive to school, or commute to work with lower-than-average gas prices.
Heck, for many families (mine included), the cost of childcare is one of the biggest monthly expenses. Thankfully South Carolina has some of the lowest childcare costs in the country.
You’ll be able to squirrel away a bit more every year while living in South Carolina. Use those leftover funds to pay for fun activities, trips, and future emergencies.
#2. Housing is affordable
If you’re moving to South Carolina then you’ll probably be looking for a new place to call home. Fortunately, your mortgage or rent is a lot less likely to break the bank than in many other parts of the country.
The median home price is just under $300,000, which is a far cry from the national median price of $428,700.
It’s not just homeowners who save on housing costs. The average rent in America is around $1,300, but renters in South Carolina pay an average of $918 per month for a one bedroom apartment.
It’s easier to put back funds for a downpayment on a home or keep up with your other bills like utilities, which are slightly higher in South Carolina, when you don’t have to spend the majority of your paycheck on rent every month.
#3. The winters are mild
Moving to South Carolina means escaping the bone-chilling temperatures of the North while still getting to experience the changing seasons.
Average winter temperatures in the state range from the 30s in the mountains to the 50s along the coast, and it’s not unusual to spend a winter afternoon with temps in the 60s.
You might not always get a white Christmas, but you also won’t have to spend every morning scraping snow and ice off your windshield or dodging snow plows on slick roads. If you love a winter landscape, most parts of the state see at least one snowy day each year, and North Carolina ski resorts are just over the state border.
#4. It has beautiful beaches
Another big benefit of moving to South Carolina is access to miles and miles of sandy beaches. With 187 miles of coastline, there’s no shortage of pretty beaches to explore.
The state has charming beach towns like Folly Beach, bustling cities like Charleston, and quiet islands like Edisto where your family can splash and play. The Grand Strand is a 60-mile stretch of some of the most popular tourist destinations on the Atlantic coast, including Myrtle Beach.
That’s not counting the 12 major lakes that dot the state’s landscape. Whether you like to fish, snorkel, kayak, swim, or soak up some sun, there are plenty of beach spots to go around. Access to the beach is one of the many perks of living in South Carolina!
#5. History and culture abound
As you may know, South Carolina was one of the original 13 colonies and has over 1,400 listings in the National Register of Historic Places.
What does that mean for someone living in South Carolina? Well, for starters, you’ll have endless opportunities to become a history buff by visiting places like Fort Sumter, King’s Mountain National Military Park, and Patriot’s Point Naval and Maritime Museum.
You can also take a step back through time by visiting the city of Charleston, which is the site of some of the country’s most significant cultural landmarks.
Book lovers can spend hours touring the Charleston Library Society, one of the oldest libraries in the country. And theater fans should make a stop at the Dock Street Theater, which might have been the stage where the first play was officially produced in the United States.
#6. Top-notch seafood
Seafood lovers rejoice! Moving to South Carolina gives you the chance to chow down on delicious shrimp, crab, mussels, lobster, and oysters. Charleston is one of the best plac
es for seafood on the East Coast, with restaurants serving up specialty meals with the day’s catch from the Atlantic Ocean.
Meanwhile, inland areas have lots of fish from the seemingly endless lakes and rivers throughout the state. Catch a freshwater feast of bream, striped bass, catfish, crappie, and trout to feed your family and friends.
#7. It’s a great place to retire
Seniors living in South Carolina get to keep more of their income in their pockets. The state doesn’t tax Social Security, allowing retirees to deduct up to $10,000 in retirement income, and offers up to $15,000 in state income tax deductions for residents over the age of 65.
Between the beautiful landscapes, tax-friendly policies, mild winters, and low cost of living, moving to South Carolina for retirement is a great idea.
#8. The air and water are clean
Outdoor activities and shimmering lakes don’t do you much good if the water and air are contaminated. If you’re concerned about pollution, breathe easy! South Carolina is one of the least polluted states in the country. That means people living in South Carolina can enjoy their days outdoors without worrying about dangerous toxins.
#9. Moving to South Carolina for work? You’re in good hands
Finding a job can be tough, and moving to South Carolina might be a good opportunity to land the career of your dreams. The city of Columbia ranks second on a list of cities with the most job opportunities in the country, beating out big competitors like Atlanta and Orlando.
Experts say that South Carolina will add hundreds of thousands of jobs over the next several years, so there are plenty of chances to get your foot in the door, change career paths, or pursue a lifelong passion.
So if you’re moving to South Carolina for a gig, you don’t need to be worried about growing your career because the opportunities are plentiful.
Cons of Living in South Carolina
#1. Extreme weather conditions
Before you move to South Carolina, prepare yourself for some windy weather. People living in South Carolina face an almost 80% chance of being impacted by a tropical storm every year.
Storms are especially dangerous for residents of coastal areas like Myrtle Beach and Charleston, but high winds and heavy rains can extend all the way across the state during hurricane season. The state also sees its fair share of tornadoes, averaging around 11 each year.
#2. Living in South Carolina can aggravate your allergies
If you’re prone to sniffing and sneezing when the trees and flowers bloom during the spring and summer, you might need to buy some extra tissues and eye drops ahead of moving day.
Greenville is the 10th worst city in the country for allergy sufferers, and Columbia comes in at 33rd.
People living in South Carolina are often greeted by a coating of yellow pollen on their cars and patio furniture every morning.
Allergy season also starts earlier in the southern states, with tree pollen striking as early as February and continuing throughout the spring. Indeed, allergies are one of the biggest disadvantages of living in South Carolina.
#3. You’ll swelter in the summer
It’s a good thing South Carolina has access to lakes, waterfalls, and the ocean because you’ll be dying to dive into them when the summer highs set in.
Living in South Carolina, the eighth hottest state in the country, means accepting a lot of sweaty summer days, especially when you factor in the muggy air.
The average annual temperature for most areas of the state is in the low 60s, but summer temperatures often reach the 90s or low 100s. Extremely high humidity rates, particularly along the coast, make it feel even hotter.
#4. There are more than a few alligators around
The marsh and wetland areas in South Carolina are home to around 100,000 alligators. Although gators usually keep to themselves, during warmer seasons they like to explore the surrounding beaches, marshes, and even golf courses.
It’s not unusual for people living in South Carolina to see them basking in the summer sun.
Alligators can be dangerous if you get too close to them or accidentally slip into their territory. There were several fatal gator attacks in South Carolina in 2022, including a man who died when an alligator pulled him into a pond in Myrtle Beach.
In the same year, hunters also caught a massive 625-pound gator in Lake Marion, which is enough to scare anyone away from the water for a while.
#5. Big bugs love to bite
Mosquitoes, fire ants, and spiders, oh my! The muggy climate of South Carolina is home sweet home for lots of different creepy crawlies, and many of them can leave itchy, burning, and painful bumps if they decide to give you a bite.
The state has at least 61 different species of mosquitoes alone, exposing you not just to an annoying itch but also to diseases like West Nile.
If you like to go camping and hiking, you’ll need to watch out for chiggers, which leave uncomfortable red welts. Don’t forget to check yourself and your pets for fleas, which will overwhelm your house if you don’t prevent and treat them, and ticks, which can cause Lyme disease.
#6. Crime rates are high
Protecting your family and your home is a major consideration when it comes to moving, and South Carolina is near the top of the list of high-crime states. It has the fifth-highest property crime rate and the sixth-highest violent crime rate in the country.
The good news is that several cities, including Fort Mill, Travelers Rest, Seneca, and Simpsonville, are considered very safe. Moving to South Carolina isn’t out of the question if you’re concerned about safety, but you should do some research before choosing a city or neighborhood.
List of the Pros & Cons of Living in South Carolina (Post Summary)
In sum, here’s a quick roundup of the honest pros and cons of moving to South Carolina.
- The low cost of living in South Carolina
- Housing is affordable
- The winters are mild
- It has beautiful beaches
- History and culture abound
- Top-notch seafood
- It’s a great place to retire
- The air and water are clean
- Moving to South Carolina for work? You’re in good hands
- Extreme weather conditions
- Living in South Carolina can aggravate your allergies
- You’ll swelter in the summer heat
- There are more than a few alligators around
- Big bugs love to bite
- Crime rates are high
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