The Best Places to Live in South Carolina

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Rich history, warm weather, low taxes, and a whole lot of natural beauty are just a few of the things that make towns like Charleston and Greenville the best places to live in South Carolina
Whether you’re looking for a permanent spot to set down roots and raise a family or just somewhere inexpensive to enjoy South Carolina’s incredibly low taxes, the Palmetto State has a new hometown that will be perfect for you! 
To help you pick out your new hometown, Jerry—the car and home insurance comparison super app—has put together this handy guide on the best places to live in South Carolina. 
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What makes a good place to live? 

Before we dive into our list of the best places to live in South Carolina, it’s important to understand what makes a community a good place to live. 
As you might expect, the answer to that question is rather involved. Everything from the local culture and school systems to the price of eggs and the average rainfall needs to be considered. Personal preference also plays a big role in determining if a given town is a good place for you. 
To simplify things, we’ve narrowed our criteria to seven key factors that affect the quality of living in each of the towns on our list. These factors are: 
  • Median household income
  • Median home price
  • Cost of living
  • Quality of schools 
  • Crime rates
  • Healthcare
  • Average commute times
We’ve used these metrics to evaluate towns and cities all over the state and come up with the six best places to live in South Carolina, divided into three categories according to their affordability, housing markets, and how family-friendly they are. 

The best places for families to live in South Carolina

If you’re looking for a town where you can raise a family, you’ll want to focus your search on places with reputable education systems, low crime rates, and engaging/enriching local culture
With those characteristics in mind, let’s look at Charleston and Tega Cay—the two best places for families to live in South Carolina. 

Charleston

Location: Charleston County
Population: 137,566
Median household income: $64,599
Median home price: $338,703
From its perch on Cainhoy Peninsula, the city of Charleston has looked over the Atlantic Ocean for more than 350 years. 
From the moment you set foot in Charleston, you can feel just how much history it has witnessed. The abiding antique architecture is a real visual treat and gives the town a quaint and charming air. If you didn’t already know, you would never guess that Charleston is actually the most populated settlement in the entire state. 
Like most places in South Carolina, Charleston is exceedingly safe and comparatively affordable. On top of that, the city also boasts one of the prestigious and well-respected public schooling systems in the state! 

Tega Cay

Location: York County
Population: 10,412
Median household income: $130,918
Median home price: $331,100
Imagine raising your family in a gorgeous national park that also happened to have an exceptional community infrastructure, amazing local markets, and exciting family-friendly festivals all year—that’s pretty much what living in Tega Cay will be like. 
The idyllic little recreational community may not actually be a national park, but it’s certainly as scenic as one. In the secluded town, residents enjoy a vibrant community culture closely tied to the area’s natural beauty. Children growing up here would have the chance to develop an active lifestyle and an appreciation for that natural world—not to mention, they’d be educated at one of the highest-ranked school districts in the state

The most affordable places to live in South Carolina

South Carolina is well-known for having a lower-than-average cost of living statewide, but some towns are more affordable than others. An area’s affordability is affected by many factors, including the price of essential items, like gas prices, the average cost of groceries, and other vital consumables. 
Besides an area’s cost of living, we’ve also factored in the average commute time since that determines how much gas they’ll typically burn through weekly. 

Florence

Location: Charleston County
Population: 91,684
Median household income: : $97,176
Median home price: $479,038
Florence, South Carolina, is one of the cheapest places to live in the state and the country. It has a cost of living index of 83—meaning that, on average, goods and services there only cost 83% of what they cost nationwide. 
Even better, the median home price is only $99,800—which is absolutely unheard of in today’s housing market. Florence residents who would rather rent than buy typically only pay $500-$550 in rent per month.
As a bonus, the city is known for having beautiful and unique architecture—a veritable visual banquet for budget prices! 
Unfortunately, the crime rate in Florence is higher than in most places. 
If you decide to move to Florence, you may see a spike in your car insurance. On average, Florence residents pay $422 more per year than the rest of the state.

Greenville 

Location: Greenville County
Population: 70,635
Median household income: $53,571
Median home price: $328,368
About a hundred miles southwest of Charlotte, there’s a patch of urbanization nestled into the otherwise pastoral landscape of mountains, rivers, forests, and stunning national parks—this is the city of Greenville
The natural beauty of the area and the city’s many excellent museums, parks, and amenities have earned Greenville a reputation as one of the best places to live in South Carolina—and it’s one of the cheapest! 
With an overall cost of living index of only 88, you’ll find the prices for most goods and services are dramatically reduced in Greenville. 
However, Greenville does have an increased crime rate, with one of the highest rates of any city in the nation
That said, unlike Florence, you won’t see much of an impact on your car insurance as Greenville residents pay, on average, $141 less annually. 

Best places to buy a house in South Carolina

One of the most important decisions you’ll make when shopping for a home is what area you want to live in. Location has a massive impact on the value of a given home, the quality of life, and the overall happiness of the person who buys it. 
Carefully consider the surrounding area’s community/culture, medium home price, and overall atmosphere before purchasing a home there. 

Riverview

Location: York County
Population: 1,112
Median household income: $110,500
Median home price: $128,900
Often, the best locations for real estate opportunities are rural areas. Demand for houses in small towns like Riverview will be far lower, so prices will be much more affordable. The median home price in Riverview, for instance, is $128,900
The crime rate in Riverview is pretty low as well. One downside is the fairly long average commute that works in Riverview face (22.7 minutes), but that’s to be expected in rural areas. 
Riverview has low median home prices, a low cost of living (about 17% below the national average), and a steady trend of positive economic growth

India Hook 

Location: York County
Population: 4,746
Median household income: $66,438
Median home price: $250,400
Another great place in South Carolina for potential homebuyers is the tiny community of India Hook—a beautiful and relaxing patch of paradise situated directly between Westminster and Ebenezer Parks, and occupying the opposite shore of Allison Creek from Tega Cay. 
Many of the properties in India Hook are much nicer and larger than you could normally expect to find for the price of $250,400—which is the area’s median home price. Moreover, the economy and employment rate there have both been steadily improving at about a rate of 1-2% each year, and home appreciation has been 8.4% over the last 10 years. 
As for the atmosphere in India Hook, it has a general air of recreation and relaxed beach-based fun. If you’re looking for a quiet and close-knit community where you can feel closer to nature and get the most bang for your buck home-wise, then India Hook might be worth a look!

How to find affordable homeowners and car insurance in South Carolina 

Whichever South Carolina town you end up choosing, you’ll need to protect your new home with either homeowners or renters insurance. Knowing that your place is protected with quality coverage is worth a fortune in peace of mind. That said, you’d probably like to avoid actually paying a fortune for that coverage, and luckily, you won’t have to! 
Put your home insurance on autopilot with Jerry, the insurance super app. Jerry is the easiest and most effective way to find a home, renters, or auto insurance policy that is customized for you. All you have to do is download the app, answer a few questions, and Jerry will take care of the rest. 
We’ll do a comprehensive cross-analysis of policies from the top, name-brand insurers to make sure you have a policy that suits your needs. Choose the policy you like, then we’ll do the hard work for you—that means handling all phone calls, paperwork, and renewals. 
Jerry was wonderful! I used it for my auto and renters policies. I trusted it so much that I signed up my homeowners insurance under Jerry as well. All of the agents are amazingly nice and knowledgeable.” —Mary Y.
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