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Most Americans have never been to South Carolina. However, as the people who live there know, South Carolina is an awesome state.
But is it all roses? Definitely not. Just like any other state, South Carolina has its trouble spots. This article aims to determine, using science, the absolute worst small towns to live in the Palmetto State. Don't shoot the messenger, this is all using data.
After analyzing more than 145 of South Carolina's smallest cities, we came up with this list as the 10 worst small towns in South Carolina where you'd never want to live:
These are the worst small towns in South Carolina for 2022:
So what is the worst small town to call home in South Carolina for 2022? According to the most recent census data, Watts Mills is the worst small town to live in South Carolina.
Of course, many of these cities would rank highly if they were in other states, since South Carolina has its stuff figured out.
Read on below to see how we crunched the numbers, or scroll to the bottom to see how your town ranked.
And if you already know about the small towns, check out the best places to live in South Carolina or the worst places to live in South Carolina.
If you're looking for something more national, check out the worst cities in America or the worst states in America.
The 10 Worst Small Towns In South Carolina For 2022
1. Watts Mills
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $70,900 (30th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 18.4% (7th worst)
More on Watts Mills: Data
2. East Sumter
Rank Last Year: 9 (Up 7)
Median Home Value: $63,900 (2worst)
Unemployment Rate: 36.4% (worst)
More on East Sumter: Data
Rank Last Year: 8 (Up 4)
Median Home Value: $56,400 (15th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 11.2% (23rd worst)
More on Edisto: Data
5. Ware Shoals
Rank Last Year: 23 (Up 17)
Median Home Value: $43,400 (6th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 14.3% (13th worst)
More on Fairfax: Data
Rank Last Year: 6 (Down 2)
Median Home Value: $42,900 (5th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 9.9% (38th worst)
More on Saxon: Data
Rank Last Year: 5 (Down 4)
Median Home Value: $72,300 (32nd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 12.7% (19th worst)
More on Timmonsville: Data
10. Calhoun Falls
Rank Last Year: 3 (Down 7)
Median Home Value: $51,200 (10th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 10.1% (34th worst)
More on Calhoun Falls: Data
How do you decide if a place is lousy or not?
In order to rank the worst small towns to live in South Carolina, we had to determine what criteria people like or dislike about a place. It isn't a stretch to assume that people like low crime, solid education, things to do and a stable economy.
So we scraped the internet for those criteria, and it spit out the answer. Like magic.
How we determined the worst small towns to live in South Carolina for 2022
We threw a lot of criteria at this one in order to get the best, most complete results possible. Using FBI crime data and the Census's 2016-2020 American Community Survey, this is the criteria we used:
- Population Density (The lower the worse)
- Highest Unemployment Rates
- Low housing costs (meaning there's no demand)
- Adjusted Median Income (Median income adjusted for the cost of living)
- Education (Number of high school dropouts)
- High Crime
We looked at cities with populations between 1,000 and 5,000 people, of which, there were a lot - 145 to be exact.
Additional note: We get the crime numbers from the FBI, which gets its crime numbers from the cities themselves. Dropout numbers are based on the adult population, not just the current graduation rates of teenagers.
This list is a scientific analysis based on real data and is completely unbiased.
There You Have It - The Worst Small Towns In South Carolina
If you're analyzing teeny places in the Palmetto State with the worst economic situations, where there's high crime and there's not a lot to do, this is an accurate list.
If you're curious enough, here are the best small towns to live in South Carolina, according to science:
- India Hook (Pop. 3,762)
- Pinopolis (Pop. 1,130)
- Isle of Palms (Pop. 4,371)
For more South Carolina reading, check out:
Detailed List Of The Worst Small Towns In South Carolina