2019 Best Places to Live in South Carolina

Maybe you’re from New England and want to escape the harsh winters up North. Perhaps you’re a West Coaster who wants to try out life near the Atlantic. Or maybe you’ve lived in South Carolina all your life, but are looking for the perfect new hometown. No matter why you’re moving to South Carolina, finding the right city to live in is a big question. To help you narrow down your choices, we’ve put together a list of our favorite towns and cities in South Carolina. Here they are (in no particular order!):

Clemson

Straddling Pickens and Anderson Counties, Clemson consistently ranks as one of the best places to live in South Carolina. Clemson features large homes at affordable prices, making the city a popular choice for career professionals and families. Plus, the prime location at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains means that people moving to Clemson will enjoy gorgeous greenery during summer, and some of the most beautiful fall foliage in South Carolina. Clemson is also home to Clemson University, which brings thousands of young people to this top South Carolina City each year. In addition to the great education, students will enjoy affordable housing in Clemson, where the median rent is just $829.

  • Population: 15,008
  • Median Home Value: $197,500
  • Median Household Income: $37,466
  • Unemployment Rate: 6.0%

Greenville

Greenville, SC on a sunny day.

Being a smaller city hasn’t stopped Greenville from being one of the best cities to live in South Carolina. A booming business district, delicious local food, and local culture that’s highlighted in a variety of city events throughout the year are just a few of the reasons that you might want to consider moving to Greenville. Want to learn more about this top South Carolina city? Check out our full guide on living in Greenville, SC!

  • Population: 62,776
  • Median Home Value: $237,800
  • Median Household Income: $45,360
  • Unemployment Rate: 2.4%

Maudlin

A popular suburb of Greenville, Mauldin offers beautiful country living with easy access to the city. People living in Mauldin make the highest median household income in all of South Carolina, and enjoy a choice of large, affordable homes. Mauldin is also one of the safest places to live in South Carolina, and features some of the best schools in the state.

Not only is Mauldin one of the top towns in South Carolina; Money Magazine also included Mauldin in its Top 100 Places to Live in the U.S. in 2017. Mauldin earned its place on the list because of the neighborhood’s continued job growth, great weather and high incomes. Mauldin has a rich cultural heritage, which can be seen in its local art galleries, museums and science center.

  • Population: 24,723
  • Median Home Value: $154,800
  • Median Household Income: $63,071
  • Unemployment Rate: 2.4%

Lexington

Lexington’s visitor center website calls Lexington a place that “looks like a city but feels like a town.” This beautiful community is located just outside of Columbia, South Carolina’s state capital. People living in Lexington get the best of both worlds: they’re just minutes away from jobs and entertainment in Columbia, as well as the University of South Carolina, but they also get to enjoy a quiet community outside the city.

Another benefit of living in Lexington is the close proximity to lakes and mountains. This makes Lexington one of the best places to live in South Carolina if you love exploring nature! Lexington residents are also just 2 hours from the coast, making it easy to enjoy a day trip to the beach.

  • Population: 20,315
  • Median Home Value: $174,900
  • Median Household Income: $63, 326
  • Unemployment Rate: 3.2%

Tega Cay

Tega Cay is a master planned community in the suburbs of Charlotte, SC. Not only is it one of the best towns in South Carolina, it’s also ranked #12 in the nation by USA Today. The cost of living in Tega Cay is higher than other parts of the state, the gorgeous homes here, and quiet surroundings are worth it to the residents. Students living in Tega Cay attend the award-winning Fort Mill school district, which is recognized as one of the top districts in South Carolina. The close knit community is also known for its low crime rates; Tega Cay is the #4 safest city in South Carolina.

  • Population: 9,026
  • Median Home Value: $301,200
  • Median Household Income: $120,346
  • Unemployment Rate: 5.3%

Charleston

Beautiful view of Charleston’s historic district.

One of the most famous South Carolina cities on our list, Charleston is known for it quintessential southern atmosphere, gorgeous harbor, and rich history. The city is one of the oldest in America, dating back to 1670, and still features 17th and 18th century architecture, along with cobblestone roads throughout the city.

Moving to Charleston is a great choice if you want to live along the East Coast, without having to deal with snow. It’s also the perfect place if you love Southern comfort food; if you’re curious, check out Bertha’s Kitchen, which has been serving up fried chicken and other southern classics since 1979. Looking for work in Charleston? The biggest industries in Charleston are healthcare, education and hospitality.

  • Population: 129,888
  • Median Home Value: $269,400
  • Median Household Income: $57,603
  • Unemployment Rate: 2.2%

Five Forks

Five Forks is a popular suburb of Simpsonville, and another one of the nicest places to live in South Carolina! As a matter of fact, the neighborhood website calls Five Forks the #1 Place to Live in South Carolina. Why? Located between Simpsonville and Greenville, Five Forks offers easy access to the business and entertainment sectors of both cities. Homes in Five Forks are expensive, but large, starting at 2,200 square feet and sitting on large plots of land. In addition, this Simpsonville neighborhood offers an escape from city life with upscale amenities, including a community pool, tennis courts, a clubhouse, and walking trails for residents.

  • Population: 16,929
  • Median Home Value: $271,700
  • Median Household Income: $110,885
  • Unemployment Rate: 4.9%

Forest Acres

Forest Acres is an independent city located on the eastern outskirts of Columbia, South Carolina. This top city in South Carolina is known for its diversity, as people of all ages and backgrounds have found success here. The low cost of living, paired with a variety of employment opportunities in Forest Acres, appeals to both young professionals and families. Education is important to the people of Forest Acres; more than 30% of adults here have a Bachelor’s or Master’s Degree, and schools in the are are well supported by the community.

  • Population: 10,571
  • Median Home Value: $186,900
  • Median Household Income: $58,714
  • Unemployment Rate: 3.2%

Mount Pleasant

Mount Pleasant’s harbor at sunset.

This low country town in the Charleston region might not have a unique name, but it does have a fitting one! Mount Pleasant is nationally recognized as a top place to visit or live. Not only is it a safe South Carolina town, Mount Pleasant is also known for its fantastic education system, amazing local cuisine and welcoming residents. The cost of living in Mount Pleasant is high compared to the rest of the region, but if you love seaside living with more than a hint of southern hospitality, this might be the perfect town in South Carolina for you.

  • Population: 77,907
  • Median Home Value: $393,800
  • Median Household Income: $83,490
  • Unemployment Rate: 2.0%

Sullivan’s Island

Located just off the coast of Charleston, Sullivan’s Island is another affluent place to live in South Carolina. If you’re thinking about moving to Sullivan’s Island, you need to be prepared to spend a large amount on your home; most houses on the island sell for at least $1 Million. A small town with just over 2,000 residents, the exclusivity and beauty of Sullivan’s Island are its main draws. Plus, since the island is directly connected to the mainland via highways, your island escape still has quick and easy access to Charleston’s vibrant downtown.

  • Population: 2,049
  • Median Home Value: $1,220,000
  • Median Household Income: $118,214
  • Unemployment Rate: 2.2%

Moving to South Carolina

So, where should you live in South Carolina? The decision is up to you, but we hope this look at some of the top towns in South Carolina has helped make the choice easier. Have more questions on poplar places to live in South Carolina? Read through our blog to learn about great neighborhoods, things to do, costs of living, and everything you need to know before moving to South Carolina.