10 Pros and Cons of Living in South Carolina Right Now

What To Expect When Moving To South Carolina

I would like to review the pros and cons of living in South Carolina today.

Since you might be considering retiring in South Carolina. And need to know the good things and bad things about living in the state.

Or, you are thinking about relocating to South Carolina. For the economic opportunities, the area offers.

Whatever the case. It’s a good idea to do your research.

To answer this question: Is South Carolina a good place to live?

And helping you answer that question. Is a big part of this article.

So, let’s get right into the top moving to South Carolina pros and cons…

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Disclosure: At no cost to you, I may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

Pros And Cons Of Living In South Carolina

First of all, my top 10 living in South Carolina pros and cons include:

  • Great history and culture
  • Warm southern hospitality
  • Outdoor activities in a beautiful setting
  • Mild winters and nice weather
  • Growing economy plus some tax breaks
  • High income and sales taxes
  • Expensive cost of living
  • Too much heat
  • Risk of severe weather
  • Pesky outdoor pests and critters

That’s a nice list. But, you likely want to know more about what it is like living in South Carolina.

So, allow me to explain. By answering the important question of the day…

Is South Carolina A Good Place To Live?

Yes. I think South Carolina is a good place to live.

Known as “The Palmetto State”. It has a lot going for it.

Here’s why…

Benefits Of Living In South Carolina

First of all, this is a beautiful state.

Featuring its ocean shoreline and miles of sandy beaches. Along with the forested peaks of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Making it so easy to get out and enjoy the warm weather. To explore and take part in the many outdoor activities.

Or just soak up the relaxed pace, and southern vibe. That this state offers.

Steeped in U.S. history. And blessed with many rich cultural activities.

The state is a place to live and grow. For work. Entirely for play. Or, anywhere in between.

On the other hand, no state is perfect. Including this one…

Bad Things About Living In South Carolina

If you are fortunate to make a good living. And enjoy spending your money too.

Then this state is going to take its share. Through significant income and sales taxes.

Also, the summer temperatures can be very hot. If you prefer cooler climates.

Furthermore, hurricanes and flooding are not uncommon.

Finally, there are the bugs and alligators to take into account.

Yes. Those aggressive mosquitos. And scaly, 4-legged, low-to-ground creatures. Known as alligators.

Well, let’s just say, they love life in South Carolina, too!

Okay. Now you have the highlights about living in this great state.

Next, it’s time to dive into my top 10 pros and cons of living in South Carolina…

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Great History And Culture

History and cultural activities. Two things the state has plenty of.

Let’s discuss this…

Experiencing History When Living In South Carolina

The state is steeped in history. With it being home to many significant historical sites.

For example, Fort Sumter. Built to protect the coast from British invasion. Its origins date back to the early 1800s.

Then there is the city of Charleston. The oldest city in South Carolina.

With its Charleston Historic District. A National Historic Landmark. That boasts architecture dating back to the 18th century.

All of which, and more. Can be toured during your time living here!

South Carolina Life Means Access To Cultural Activities

If you enjoy some of the finer things in life. You may like living here.

For example, art galleries and museums. With a large number of them scattered throughout the state.

Including the Greenville County Museum of Art.

Its permanent collection is made up of hundreds of pieces. Focused mainly on American art. In addition to its rotating exhibits.

But don’t forget about other cultural options too. For example…

  • Concerts
  • Community theatre groups
  • Historical monuments
  • Award-winning universities

And speaking of universities…

South Carolina residents 60 and over. Are eligible for the state’s free tuition program. For attending college at a reduced cost.

So, life in South Carolina means you can expand your horizons.

Are you ready for another one of the best things about South Carolina?

Well, ready or not. Here it comes…

Warm Southern Hospitality

The residents of South Carolina are known for their southern hospitality. As you will quickly discover when living here.

Being made to feel welcome and comfortable here. Whether as a new resident. Or, someone who has lived here for decades.

So, the overall friendliness of the people. It is something that you won’t forget!

Furthermore, the pace of each day is considered slower too. Versus other metropolitan areas where the pace is high. And the crime rates are higher.

For those who choose to live here. This laid-back way of life is much more fitting.

And proves this about the top South Carolina living pros and cons: A little slower is certainly a little better!

So, be prepared to soak in the warmth and hospitality. From one of the most friendly and welcoming southern states.

And next up, one of the great reasons to live in South Carolina…

Outdoor Activities In A Beautiful Setting

Because outdoor recreation options are abundant here.

And available in a place known for its scenic and natural landscape…

Enjoy The Beautiful Landscape Living In South Carolina

First, there are the barrier islands along the beautiful ocean shoreline. With pristine beaches and lots of sunshine.

And the quaint coastal towns of Port Royal and Murrells Inlet. Where the ocean water laps up against the shore.

Also, Folly Beach. And Myrtle Beach. Very popular beaches here. That I must include in the pros and cons of South Carolina.

Certainly, these are a few of the top eco-tourism options. The state has to offer.

But don’t forget the rolling hills. Before moving west into the forests of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

With rivers of crystal-clear waters. And streams that make for absolutely stunning landscapes.

But, in addition to the forests, rivers, and seashore areas. There are also lakes to enjoy.

For example, Lake Murray and Lake Marion. Located near Columbia. In the central portion of the state.

So, be sure to explore this beautiful state. Because it is a big treat. As you enjoy life in South Carolina!

But there’s more to the outdoors. Because the state’s landscape brings us to another one of the perks of living in South Carolina…

Outdoor Recreation In South Carolina

This state, known as the “Palmetto State”, offers a wide variety of outdoor recreational activities.

For example, if boating is your thing. This state has many miles of navigable waterways!

Then there is swimming and fishing. Hiking and biking trails. And other water sports along the coast.

And don’t forget, the world-class golf courses in the state. Hilton Head is a great choice for this popular pass time.

So when it comes to outdoor recreation. Life in South Carolina has a lot to offer you.

Why is it so easy to enjoy the outdoors here? You may ask.

Because of another one of the advantages of living in South Carolina…

moving to South Carolina pros and consPin

Mild Winters And Nice Weather

The winters are mild here. Making the state a popular destination for retirees.

Additionally, South Carolina living during the spring and fall is nice too.

With the lush greenery of the spring. When everything is just getting started for another growing season.

Also, the turning leaves in autumn. That put on a brilliant color display.

From the middle of October. Into early November.

So if you are looking to escape from harsh winters. That persists in other parts of the country. Moving to South Carolina will be the right call!

So, I think you can see. The many good things about South Carolina.

But, I’m not done. Next, let’s talk about how living here can improve your finances…

Growing Economy Plus Some Tax Breaks

If financial stability is important to you. Then consider moving to South Carolina.

Because the economy is solid. And this state offers up some tax breaks.

That may fatten your wallet. With some extra cash.

Here’s what I mean…

Working In South Carolina

Employment has been resilient. Even though the last recession took a temporary bite out of what is a big tourism industry.

And the unemployment rate is below the national average.

Because the state is home to well-known employers. Including car manufacturers BMW and Volvo. Also jet maker, Boeing.

In the upstate region near Greenville, you will find the North American headquarters of Michelin tire.

You can see there is strong representation from the aerospace and automotive industries. Making for excellent job opportunities in the manufacturing sector.

And the military has a strong presence too.

For example, there is Shaw Air Force Base near Sumter. One of the largest military bases operated by the United States.

Next, there are some good things about South Carolina. As it pertains to your taxes…

Property Taxes When Living in South Carolina

According to WalletHub, the state has one of the top 10 lowest property tax rates in the country.

Furthermore, owning your primary residence is a great way to build up your finances. But not if you have to break the bank paying property taxes!

Gasoline Taxes When Living In South Carolina

The average tax when you buy gas is about 30 cents a gallon in the U.S. And double that in a high gas tax state like California.

The good news is this state won’t gouge you at the pump. Because the gas tax is almost 20% below the national average.

This is great when you need to get around the state. For business or pleasure.

Finally, if you are trying to make sense of retiring in South Carolina pros and cons. Then you will want to pay attention to the next topic.

South Carolina tax breaks for retirees…

Tax Breaks When Retiring In South Carolina

First of all, the state does not tax income received from social security benefits.

Furthermore, the state provides income deductions for seniors. Receiving any other type of retirement income.

For example, pension income. Or withdrawals from qualified retirement accounts. Like IRAs and 401(k)s.

Finally, an additional income tax exemption is available for older residents. For any type of earned income.

The tax exemptions depend on your age. And your financial situation.

So, be sure to consult with your tax advisor. For the exact details. And how they will pertain to your specific tax situation.

But from my perspective, you can make some pretty good money as a retiree in South Carolina. And not have to share much of it with the government in taxes!

Pull Your Finances Together Before You Move

Moving is a big deal. So don’t let it derail your money situation.

To keep a grip on your finances. I suggest using Personal Capital.

To pull all of your expenses together for budgeting. And all of your investments together in one place online. To keep an eye on them.

It saves time. And makes managing your money less of a chore. Best of all?

Personal Capital is free to sign up and use!

Okay. That concludes my top 5 reasons to move to South Carolina.

But our discussion about the pros and cons of living in South Carolina is not complete.

Without an assessment of my top 5 reasons not to move to South Carolina.

So, here goes. And unfortunately, I’m not done with your finances…

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High Income And Sales Taxes

Even though the state takes it easy on taxing retirement income. Which is cool.

The rest of us don’t get off so easy.

Especially if you are in your peak years of earning money. And consuming plenty of goods and services to support your family.

Here’s why…

High State Income Tax Rates When Living In South Carolina

The state runs a progressive tax system. Which just means the more you make. The higher your state tax rate.

And once your income exceeds about $15,000. The state will take 7% of every extra dollar you earn.

This is a pretty high tax rate. Versus other states in the country.

For example, think about living in Tennessee. Which is a great place to live by the way.

Or, maybe you have been dreaming about life in “The Sunshine State” And moving down to Florida.

In either case. You will find that these 2 states have no individual income tax!

South Carolina Living Means High Sales Taxes

Between the state’s base sales tax rate. Plus the up to 3% that local municipalities can tack on.

You will be faced with an average sales tax rate that approaches 8%.

Think about that for a moment. If you buy a modest $20,000 automobile. You are looking at an additional $1,600 in sales taxes.

And that’s just on a one-time purchase. Sales taxes will hit you on your everyday expenses too.

So, if you don’t mind working your way north. Up the east coast.

You can find states that do not levy a sales tax of any kind. The little state of Delaware comes to mind.

Or, if you are looking to get away from it all. In a less densely populated area.

You could try living in New Hampshire. Another state that does not charge sales taxes.

So, to sum it up… If you make good money. And like to spend it.

Then this state is going to take its share in taxes.

Next, stick with me. Because I’m not done with your finances.

I have another one of the worst things about South Carolina…

Expensive Cost Of Living

When it comes to the average cost of living in South Carolina. It’s a bit of a mixed bag.

Because so much depends on where you choose to settle down.

Location, Location, Location

Although the state has an affordable median home value. Coming in at nearly 25% less than the national average.

In contrast, if your dream home has to be located in Charleston or Hilton Head. To offer a couple of examples.

You will see median home values that are 2 to 3 times the national average.

Thus, popular coastal locations will cost you. Because real estate is expensive there.

So, if South Carolina life on a budget is important to you. Work your way inland, off the coast.

And consider towns like Columbia in the central part of the state. Where residents still have easy access to the coast.

Or, Greenville near the western North Carolina border. And not far from some inexpensive places to live in Tennessee.

Save On Your South Carolina Home

One good way to save on your home. Is to get the best mortgage rate.

And Lending Tree is a convenient online option. To shop for a mortgage.

Furthermore, to get the best rate. Make sure your credit score is in good shape.

You can check your credit score for free using Credit Karma.

See what it says. Then make the necessary improvements.

Other Items Add To The Price Of Living In South Carolina

Finally, you will tend to pay more for essential items in South Carolina too.

Where costs for utilities and health care, and some grocery items. Tend to run higher than national averages.

But, to save money every day. Here are a couple of tips I suggest…

Save Money On Your Everyday Essentials In South Carolina

Fortunately, these tips work anywhere. Not just in South Carolina.

First, sign up for. And try the cashback app from Rakuten.

You get $10 cash for signing up and making your first purchase. And get cash refunds on anything you buy online.

Second, save money at the grocery store.

I use the cashback app from Ibotta. To save on my in-store purchases.

Rakuten and Ibbotta make for some nice savings. That can add up! And help balance your budget in South Carolina.

Okay. We are done with your money! Sorry, but I love talking about money and taxes!

Let’s move on to a different one of the cons of living in South Carolina…

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Too Much Heat

Hey. It gets hot in this state during the summer. And in more ways than one.

Here’s what I mean…

The Summer Heat When Living In South Carolina

Summers temperatures hit and stay in the 90s. For most of July and August.

And the humidity levels are high. As the air gets warm, moist, and heavy.

So, you are just going to have to get used to being hot in South Carolina. And head to the beach for a summer cool-down.

Or, consider heading to the mountains in the west part of the state. In and around Greenville, South Carolina.

Where you can feel the cooler air. Associated with the Blue Ridge Mountains. Part of the Appalachian Mountain range residing here.

And if the summer temperatures aren’t bad enough. Another one of the bad things about South Carolina will get you hot under the collar too…

Hot Sauces And Spicy Foods Are Part Of South Carolina Life

South Carolina is a southern state. So, you are going to enjoy some good quality spicy foods and sauces.

They don’t call it hot sauce in South Carolina for nothing! Seriously, the state has a thing for hot sauces.

And many restaurants tend to use hot sauces to liven up their dishes. Because long-time residents love it. When the chef brings on the heat.

So, be careful what you order. And what you put on your food.

Otherwise, be prepared to see your internal temperature go up a notch.

Onto the next disadvantage of living in South Carolina…

Risk Of Severe Weather

Well, here is another one of the reasons not to live in South Carolina. Because the state falls victim to some severe weather.

Hurricane Risk Living In South Carolina

And we start with the threat of hurricanes.

You may be familiar with the damage that Hurricane Hugo inflicted on Charleston. Back in 1989. It was one of the worst hurricanes to make landfall ever in the U.S.

And more recently Hurricane Florence. Making landfall near the border state of North Carolina in 2018.

Tornado Risk Living In South Carolina

Then there are tornadoes. This is strange to say. Because South Carolina is not located in the middle of a tornado alley.

But it is common for the state to get hit. With up to 10 twisters per year.

Rain And Flooding Are Part Of South Carolina Living

Finally, there are thunderstorms, rain, and flooding. As the state’s spring and summer thunderstorms tend to bring heavy rain.

Which can lead to flash flooding in South Carolina. Especially if you live near a river or stream. Or, have poor drainage around your home.

So, when considering life in South Carolina. Be sure to have an emergency preparedness plan in place. And keep your insurance coverages are up to snuff.

To protect your valuables. And most importantly, your loved ones.

Finally, one last thing you should know. If you choose to relocate to South Carolina…

Pesky Outdoor Pests And Critters

Because you won’t be the only one that enjoys the outdoor aspects of South Carolina living…

Bugs And Mosquitos Live In South Carolina Too

Warm, humid, wet weather. It’s a perfect breeding ground for bugs and mosquitos.

So, be sure to have your bug repellent at hand. To make the most out of South Carolina living.

Otherwise, consider a state out west. With less humidity. To avoid the annoying bites from mosquitos.

And watch out for…

Alligators Live In South Carolina

Since alligators live in South Carolina too. Being part of the ecosystem for many years.

They can be found around swampy areas or bodies of water. Like along the Congaree River near Columbia.

Although it’s interesting to note. That more alligators are living comfortably in Florida. A state with one of the highest populations of gators.

But, alligators typically aren’t aggressive to humans.

Just don’t sneak up on one by accident. Or, leave a small pet unattended. Where alligators might be present.

All in all, if you are aware. The bugs and crocs should not negatively impact your South Carolina quality of life.

And on that note. It’s time to wrap up the pros and cons of living in South Carolina.

Allow me to summarize…

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Pros And Cons Of Living In South Carolina

Is South Carolina a good place to live? Yes. I think so.

No state is perfect. And this one may not be for everyone.

So, here are the South Carolina pros and cons. To help you make up your mind.

Before moving to “The Palmetto State”…

  • Great history and culture
  • Warm southern hospitality
  • Outdoor activities in a beautiful setting
  • Mild winters and nice weather
  • Growing economy plus some tax breaks
  • High income and sales taxes
  • Expensive cost of living
  • Too much heat
  • Risk of severe weather
  • Pesky outdoor pests and critters

I hope this helps you with the question. What is it like to live in South Carolina?

Most importantly, good luck with your decision.

More Reading About Living In South Carolina And Beyond

Best Resources For Moving To South Carolina (or anywhere)

Finally, here’s a summary of the money-saving tools and resources I referenced in the article…

Author Bio, Disclosure, & Disclaimer: Please join me (Tom) as I try to achieve my goals, find my next place to live, and make the most of my money. However, I am not a licensed investment adviser, financial counselor, real estate agent, or tax professional. Instead, I’m a 50-something-year-old, early retired CPA, finance professional, and business school teacher with 40+ years of DIY dividend investing experience. I’m here only to share my thoughts about essential topics for success. As a result, nothing published on this site should be considered individual investment, financial, tax, or real estate advice. This site’s only purpose is general information & entertainment. Thus, neither I nor Dividends Diversify can be held liable for losses suffered by any party because of the information published on this website. Finally, all written content is the property of Dividends Diversify LLC. Unauthorized publication elsewhere is strictly prohibited.

The Pros And Cons Of Living In South Carolina Explained