An In-Depth Guide for Moving to South Carolina

Located on the South-East coast, South Carolina is full of diversity, history, and natural beauty. Known as the Palmetto State, South Carolina has beautiful weather all year round and an affordable cost of living, making it an attractive place to visit and move to permanently.

Additionally, South Carolina has a beautiful coastline and plenty of job opportunities, making it the perfect state to work, have a family, and even retire. If you do move here, you’ll find quality education, healthcare, and a welcoming community full of Southern hospitality. It’s no wonder its population has skyrocketed to 5.19 million residents.

Yet, no matter how ideal the destination, moving to a new place can be challenging — especially if you don’t have all the information you need. That’s why we’ve created an in-depth guide for everything you need to know about moving to South Carolina. 

Once you have a better grasp of what South Carolina is all about, you can make a more informed decision on whether this fantastic state is your potential new home.

South Carolina Climate

Living in South Carolina means having good weather all year round. The state is characterized by a humid subtropical climate with extremely hot summers and mild winters. 

Summer temperatures can go as high as 92°F, while winter temperatures could decrease to 35°F. There are some regional variations, though. Upstate South Carolina, such as North Charleston, can get colder, while the deep South tends to be warmer.

South Carolina State Relocation Guide

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In terms of precipitation, South Carolina residents experience around four inches of rain, and some Northern regions could have a bit of snow during the winter. But all in all, South Carolina offers beautiful weather and the ideal conditions to even go through the South Carolina barbecue trail.

South Carolina State Relocation Guide

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Although South Carolinians rarely experience any natural disasters, the state is prone to hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, wildfires, and thunderstorms. But these are rare, and most residents don’t worry much about it. If a natural disaster were to occur, the state is perfectly prepared to handle it.

Taxes in South Carolina

When you’re trying to decide whether moving to South Carolina is a good idea, you’ll have to consider the taxes. For South Carolina, you have to think about property taxes, state income taxes, and sales tax. You should also research any tax social security benefits and retirement income that you are eligible to receive.

For the state income tax, South Carolina has a progressive tax that could be around 7% but depends on your income and the tax bracket you fall into. In general, if you were to make the median household income of $53,199, you would have to pay $2,317 in income taxes.

If you’re interested in buying property in South Carolina, you should know that the state has low property taxes. In fact, it has the lowest property taxes in the country, at only 0.55%, compared to the national average of 1.07%. 

So if you buy a house for the median price of $162,300, you would have to pay only $1,055 in taxes. As for sales taxes, South Carolina has a 6% state sales tax, and counties can impose an additional 1% in local taxes.

South Carolina has a progressive income tax. And, the state has some of the lowest property and gas taxes in the nation. South Carolina’s total sales tax (state and local) ranks in the top 20 in the U.S.

South Carolina Cost of Living

The Palmetto State offers an affordable cost of living, making it an attractive state for young professionals and retirees. 

The national average cost of living is measured by an index of 100. Any state scoring below 100 has a more affordable cost of living, while any state scoring above it is more expensive. South Carolina currently has a cost of living index of 82.1.

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Living in South Carolina is more affordable than the national average. Any items, including groceries, housing, utilities, healthcare, transportation, and more, are cheaper. 

Because of the low taxes, housing is the most affordable item in South Carolina. The average home price is $162,300, and if you’re looking to rent, the average monthly rent price is $894.

But even within the state, there are differences, and some places are cheaper, and some major cities are more expensive. Some of the cheapest places to live in South Carolina are:

  • Dillon
  • Fountain Inn
  • Bennettsville
  • Mauldin
  • Laurens

Employment in South Carolina

South Carolina is an exciting place full of industries and, as such, full of job opportunities. Its economy and job market have been booming in the last few decades, with unemployment decreasing and currently at 3.7%.

Living in South Carolina means living in a state with national historic sites full of civil war history, many coastal towns, tourist attractions, and pristine beaches. So you could get a job in any of these industries, whether you’re interested in working at oceanfront hotels, museums, tourism, gastronomy, and more.

But in addition to the “fun” industries, South Carolina is also home to some large corporations, such as Bosch, Hilton, Samsung, Marriott, and more. It has many thriving industries, and some of the top ones are:

  • Aerospace
  • Agribusiness
  • Automotive
  • Advanced Manufacturing
  • Advanced Materials

If you’re a young professional and are looking to get a great-paying job, look for the top employers in the Palmetto State, which are:

  • Cryovac
  • Michelin
  • Sonoco
  • InterTech Group
  • KEMET Electronics

South Carolina Healthcare

When you move to South Carolina, you also have to consider the type of healthcare you might receive if you ever need it. When looking at overall rankings, the healthcare system in the state ranks at #34. It’s not the best, but it’s also not the worst.

Looking closely at what makes a healthcare system great, South Carolina ranks at #35 for healthcare access, #26 for healthcare quality, and #38 for public health. 

So it seems that while the quality of services offered is relatively high, residents might not have a lot of access to it, and that’s why 16.1% of the population remain uninsured. Additionally, with public health ranking so low, it’s no wonder that 35.4% of residents are suffering from obesity.

But if you decide to continue living in South Carolina, it’s best to look into enrolling in a healthcare plan. The official South Carolina health insurance is open for enrollment from November to January every year. 

It’s best to enroll during this time because you can get some premium subsidies. You can still enroll outside of the November to January period, but you might have to pay higher premiums.

Available plans for South Carolina are Bronze, Silver, and Gold, and the premiums vary depending on your age, civil status, number of children under 15 years old, and any medical conditions or prescription medicine you’re taking. 

If you’re a 35-year-old with a spouse and two children, your premiums will vary from $869 to $1,408. Similar plans for a 65-year-old person increase from $1,242 to $2,012. These plans can be quite expensive, and they have been increasing at around 3%, but you can still take advantage of Medicaid and Medicare if you qualify.

South Carolina Education

Another important factor when choosing where to move is the quality of education. In this regard, South Carolina has a lot of room for improvement. 

It currently ranks towards the bottom of the list compared to other countries, at #44. Specifically, the state ranks at #42 for Pre-K to 12th grade and #45 for higher education. So if you have school or college-aged children, you have to think a bit more about whether to move to South Carolina or not.

However, ratings about the overall state of education are only one way to consider education. The fact is that there are plenty of high-quality school districts and colleges in the state. Some of the best South Carolina school districts are:

  • Fort Mill School District (Fort Mill)
  • Lexington-Richland School District No. 5 (Irmo)
  • Spartanburg County School District No. 6 (Roebuck)
  • Clover School District (Clover)
  • Lexington County School District No. 1 (Lexington)

In terms of colleges, here are the best colleges in the state:

  • The Citadel (Charleston)
  • Coker College (Hartsville)
  • University of South Carolina – Aiken (Aiken)
  • University of South Carolina – Upstate (Spartanburg)
  • College of Charleston (Charleston)

If you’re looking for military education, there are plenty of options, and you can choose from three senior military colleges to get a top-notch education.

Notable Highlights

South Carolina culture is based on a low-key Southern lifestyle. Life moves at a slower pace here compared to other, more expensive states such as New York. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t any activities to do. Quite the opposite: South Carolina offers a rich range of activities, attractions, and delicious food.

Sports fans can enjoy world-class golf courses and college football. If you’re a fan of golf, you should absolutely visit Kiawah Island and its world-class golf courses. 

Those interested in history should visit the many national historic sites: post-civil war reconstructions, colonial history, national monuments, and museums, such as the Greenville County Museum.

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South Carolina offers beautiful nature trails, hiking trails, and other green spaces. You should not miss the quintessential Southern gardens, such as South Carolina Botanical Gardens, the Congaree National Park, Folly beach, and the many other protected lands and parks in this Southern state.

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The food is also delicious and offers a mix of cultures, including tasty Southern food, fried chicken and waffles, homemade sticky buns, potato hash, and plenty of sweet tea.

Also, don’t forget to visit the beautiful coastal town of Myrtle Beach. You’ll find plenty of exciting activities in Myrtle Beach, including the famous Myrtle Beach Skywheel.

5 Best Places to Live in South Carolina

Now that you know more about South Carolina, it’s time to pick the best places to live. Here are the top five.

Five Forks

With a population of 17,500, this small suburban town is known for its friendly community, warm weather, and beautiful homes. It’s one. Five Forks is one of the best places to live in South Carolina because of its affordability, tight-knit community, clean neighborhoods, and easy commute to the city for jobs. 

Almost everyone there owns their home, and the school districts are fantastic. It’s the perfect place for those looking to start a family and retirees.

Greenville

Larger than Five Forks, Greenville has around 68,000 residents, and it’s a lively place fit for young professionals. Most residents rent their homes, but the city has plenty of nature spots, a lot of activities, and some exciting festivals to attend. 

Additionally, there are plenty of restaurants, and the business district offers many job opportunities. If you’re looking for an exciting lifestyle with signature Southern hospitality, Greenville is the place for you.

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Spartanburg

Located on the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains is Spartanburg, a city of 37,000 residents. The city is a mix between a quieter community and an economic hub. There are some great outdoor activities to do here, and you can find affordable housing that suits your needs. 

If you have kids, then you’re in luck: Spartanburg has fantastic school districts and many activities to keep your kids busy. If you want to work in an exciting environment and come home to sip sweet tea on your porch, choose Spartanburg as home sweet home.

Aiken

A former winter colony, Aiken is now one of the best towns in South Carolina. It still holds its Southern charm and rich history, with a more modern twist. With around 30,700 residents, most of whom own their homes, the town is quiet and has a community feeling. 

You can do plenty of outdoor activities, especially if you love horseback riding. The town is known for its equestrians, but you can also visit interesting shops and shopping outlets, eat at countless restaurants, and visit many cultural centers, such as the Aiken Civic Ballet or the Aiken Symphony Guild.

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Columbia

With 133,000 residents, Columbia is a hub of activity located in the state’s center. It’s a college town but naturally tends to attract young professionals looking for affordable living and good job opportunities. The city’s median age is 28 years old, so you’ll find exciting activities: entertainment, nightlife, delicious food, and loud festivals.

In addition to these five great places to live in South Carolina, you should also check out Hilton Head, Rock Hill, and other towns and cities of historical significance.

Conclusion

South Carolina has something for everyone with a booming economy, beautiful weather, and exciting outdoors. The weather is warm almost all year round, housing is affordable everywhere, and there are plenty of jobs and educational opportunities.

If you’ve made up your mind about moving to South Carolina or even shipping your car to South Carolina, you’ll need to plan the details. Beyond moving your belongings, you may have to ship your car. Guardian Auto Transport can take care of that easily. 

We are the best car shipping company in the country, and we can ship your car from any town, city, or state to anywhere else in the US safely and quickly. Get your free quote today to start the process!

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