Worst Small Towns In South Carolina For 2020

Using science and data, we can tell you which teeny specks in SC are the pits.

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Editor’s Note: This article is an opinion based on facts and is meant as infotainment. Don’t freak out we updated this article for 2020. This is our sixth time ranking the worst small places to live in South Carolina.

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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 138 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 2020:

  1. Watts Mills
  2. Blackville (Photos)
  3. Catawba
  4. Allendale (Photos)
  5. Calhoun Falls
  6. Judson
  7. Winnsboro Mills
  8. Gloverville
  9. Edisto
  10. Walhalla (Photos)

So what is the worst small town to call home in south carolina for 2020? 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 2020

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 1,384
Rank Last Year: 5 (Up 4)
Median Home Value: $59,500 (21st worst)
Unemployment Rate: 20.5% (5th worst)
More on Watts Mills:  Data

Blackville, SC

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 2,027
Rank Last Year: 3 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $53,700 (13th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 15.2% (22nd worst)
More on Blackville:  Data | Photos

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 1,151
Rank Last Year: 1 (Down 2)
Median Home Value: $80,000 (49th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 16.6% (13th worst)
More on Catawba:  Data

Allendale, SC

Source: Wikipedia User |
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 3,072
Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 2)
Median Home Value: $36,700 (3rd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 26.7% (1st worst)
More on Allendale:  Data | Photos

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 1,924
Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 1)
Median Home Value: $43,000 (4th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 14.9% (24th worst)
More on Calhoun Falls:  Data

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 1,777
Rank Last Year: 6 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $53,400 (12th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 12.5% (35th worst)
More on Judson:  Data

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 1,944
Rank Last Year: 17 (Up 10)
Median Home Value: $60,300 (23rd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 21.8% (3rd worst)
More on Winnsboro Mills:  Data

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 2,788
Rank Last Year: 25 (Up 17)
Median Home Value: $65,000 (29th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 21.8% (4th worst)
More on Gloverville:  Data

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 2,290
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $80,100 (50th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 9.9% (52nd worst)
More on Edisto:  Data

Walhalla, SC

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 4,293
Rank Last Year: 26 (Up 16)
Median Home Value: $91,500 (64th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 15.4% (19th worst)
More on Walhalla:  Data | Photos

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 2020

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 2014-2018 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 - 138 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:

  1. Northlake (Pop. 3,793)
  2. Sullivan's Island (Pop. 2,148)
  3. Isle of Palms (Pop. 4,345)

For more South Carolina reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Worst Small Towns In South Carolina

Rank Town Population Unemployment Rate Home Value
1 Watts Mills 1,384 20.5% $59,500
2 Blackville 2,027 15.2% $53,700
3 Catawba 1,151 16.6% $80,000
4 Allendale 3,072 26.7% $36,700
5 Calhoun Falls 1,924 14.9% $43,000
6 Judson 1,777 12.5% $53,400
7 Winnsboro Mills 1,944 21.8% $60,300
8 Gloverville 2,788 21.8% $65,000
9 Edisto 2,290 9.9% $80,100
10 Walhalla 4,293 15.4% $91,500
11 Saxon 3,710 7.4% $54,800
12 Ware Shoals 2,547 13.7% $59,300
13 Southern Shops 3,667 2.1% $53,200
14 Timmonsville 2,321 18.4% $69,200
15 Blacksburg 2,008 6.8% $82,000
16 Fairfax 2,093 16.7% $61,200
17 Branchville 1,132 15.2% $60,000
18 Williston 2,995 11.2% $164,800
19 East Sumter 1,172 25.5% $75,200
20 Fairforest 1,644 17.1% $49,600
21 Arcadia 4,073 5.7% $32,600
22 Denmark 3,062 9.5% $55,000
23 Langley 1,309 14.2% $56,200
24 Cherryvale 3,202 16.4% $80,800
25 St. Stephen 1,787 13.8% $98,300
26 Graniteville 3,415 13.2% $97,300
27 South Sumter 2,294 19.3% $57,200
28 Great Falls 1,988 4.9% $49,600
29 Wilkinson Heights 1,546 14.2% $82,400
30 Springdale 2,355 10.9% $69,100
31 Startex 1,437 16.5% $57,000
32 Pageland 2,684 8.7% $105,900
33 Iva 1,515 12.9% $67,600
34 Estill 2,856 16.4% $71,200
35 Mccoll 1,981 9.7% $54,900
36 Clearwater 4,319 9.5% $100,700
37 Turbeville 1,002 10.8% $109,000
38 Mccormick 2,654 5.9% $74,900
39 Westminster 2,512 13.6% $93,900
40 Brookdale 4,588 16.7% $80,500
41 Gayle Mill 1,075 9.1% $60,400
42 Mullins 4,429 10.4% $70,200
43 Monarch Mill 1,416 3.6% $51,700
44 Privateer 1,939 6.3% $133,400
45 Pelzer 1,407 6.4% $64,000
46 Ridgeland 3,948 6.2% $151,400
47 Edgefield 4,735 10.7% $100,200
48 Cowpens 1,782 7.2% $96,200
49 Saluda 3,613 4.4% $83,000
50 Barnwell 4,502 8.1% $104,100
51 East Gaffney 2,944 8.2% $64,900
52 Bishopville 3,122 14.5% $103,000
53 Dunean 3,605 8.1% $82,100
54 Whitmire 1,561 8.3% $34,800
55 Belton 4,309 10.4% $94,700
56 Gaston 1,621 9.3% $84,100
57 Utica 1,501 2.5% $44,400
58 Mcbee 1,002 4.3% $66,400
59 City View 1,448 1.1% $75,800
60 Santee 1,003 7.7% $137,500
61 Manning 3,984 15.9% $96,000
62 Arial 2,030 8.4% $109,100
63 Wedgefield 1,865 15.0% $79,300
64 Joanna 1,329 5.1% $51,500
65 Irwin 1,303 10.9% $79,600
66 Pacolet 2,456 5.7% $65,700
67 Ravenel 2,655 10.1% $211,000
68 Holly Hill 1,359 1.1% $137,500
69 Lincolnville 1,280 17.1% $115,200
70 Lakewood 2,644 5.8% $98,600
71 New Ellenton 2,158 9.3% $79,800
72 Woodruff 4,164 16.7% $101,500
73 Winnsboro 3,280 9.2% $155,800
74 Slater-Marietta 2,009 2.5% $91,100
75 Inman Mills 1,306 2.8% $77,000
76 Johnston 2,221 5.6% $109,900
77 Gadsden 1,873 0.1% $49,900
78 Hopkins 2,956 1.0% $69,700
79 Pendleton 3,158 5.3% $128,300
80 Latta 1,377 5.4% $96,700
81 South Congaree 2,395 9.7% $125,300
82 Lake Secession 1,050 3.3% $160,100
83 Varnville 1,877 5.7% $77,500
84 Bamberg 3,317 3.1% $76,100
85 Eureka Mill 1,527 11.3% $78,000
86 Kingstree 3,122 5.3% $102,600
87 Loris 2,625 7.3% $143,400
88 Pamplico 1,091 16.0% $120,500
89 Murphys Estates 1,696 3.9% $108,000
90 Wellford 2,561 7.0% $96,300
91 Hampton 2,608 7.2% $108,600
92 Andrews 2,981 6.9% $87,300
93 Kershaw 2,021 8.1% $87,000
94 Liberty 3,185 6.0% $93,400
95 Burne 2,718 8.9% $134,100
96 Elgin 3,610 8.1% $119,300
97 Pickens 3,153 6.8% $119,600
98 Cane Savannah 1,035 13.9% $117,100
99 Honea Path 3,687 9.1% $88,000
100 St. George 2,581 4.2% $130,600

How Is The Area In ?

16 thoughts on “Worst Small Towns In South Carolina, 2020

  1. Wow..been to all these small towns…regardless of the information posted…it is best to visit the place to get to know the people…there is alot more to offer than just numbers

  2. Snellings, I really don’t know where this information was gathered from but it’s ALL false. First I wish my house did cost 33k and education is very good my daughter can go to Williston school Barnwell schools or Christan Academy. And a lot of our community don’t work at Wal Mart whoever did this research must don’t know of Kimberly Nuclear, Kronotex, SRS or the other company’s that is local.

  3. I am familiar with some of these towns; but most familiar with Neeses than any of the rest. I think the comments and opinions of the “writer” were misleading and quite unfair to the Home of some of my Family and Friends.
    Also the town where I was first taken to Church as a child. I was too young to remember that church, but some of my relatives still live there where the have since the ’50’s.
    In fact, my most senior male relative and his wife live there and I’m sure they would not agree with the premise of this article. Too bad that “writers” publish stuff like this without any consideration of the “personal” real-life stories of the “real people” who choose to call “Small town America” their home.
    I have fond memories of other Families, whom we grew up with and who’s lives were molded in the same “Church Family” as I was.
    Stories like this do a great dis-service to “real people” who I know and Love.
    I’m sure the same goes for families who choose to live in the other towns who this “writer” tagged as a town where “You’d never want to live”.
    Every time I travel US Hwy 321 through the “heart of Neeses, SC”, I don’t see it as a place where I’d “never want to live” I see it as a place that was part of molding my life because of the “People” who lived there and touched my life in a significant way.

  4. Windsor is not that bad, I thought for sure there were more people living there, the only thing I never liked was the nosy gossipers, most of them work or have worked at Windsor general, that’s the worst store

  5. Vance’s crime rate??
    The “Chief” of police spends 100% of his time in the portion of Hwy 6 that lies within the city limits. This speed trap is that rathole’s only source of revenue.

  6. I imagine the data he offered was correct as far as census and employment, etc. But the score is definately skewed by lack of or incorporating the wrong data into the scale. It doesn’t look like he removed the retired people for income and employment. Or the fact that any basic need or employment opportunity is a rocks throw outside of the city limit signs for these quaint little towns. This article certainly was not infotainment as he implied it was bias and ignorant. Bless his heart….

    1. I agree Karen….. I see there are similar articles about other states….. I haven’t read them but if they are conclusions drawn only from “statistics he found on the internet” I imagine the “real people” living in those small towns and others who are familiar with them feel the same as we have expressed here. 🙁

  7. I disagree with your analysis of Lowndesville,SC. We have lived in Columbia, Fort Mill, Anderson, and other places in SC and we love this place better than any. Sure it is very small, but the people that live here are fantastic. when we first moved here people up and down the road we live in dropped by to welcome us. They invited us to their churches and social events that they have. One of the biggest reasons that the town has lost so many younger folk is the fact that factories have closed nearby and the town could not help that. All of the few churches work together and help people out when they are sick, or if there is a death. I have NEVER lived in a town so friendly! Your article will also make it hard for people who need to move away to sell their property! Disgusting article!

    1. Oh yes and Lowndesville is on Lake Russell with some of the cleanest water in SC and some of the biggest and best bass caught anywhere!!!!!

  8. I believe your analysis of some of the small towns is skewed. Lowdnesville is a great retirement location. I have live all over the South–wouldn’t trade my current location for any of the former. Might add that I am not uneducated or criminally inclined. Also wish I could have purchased my home in the $40,000 range you outlined. You really shouldn’t “judge a book” by statistics, but, rather by the people who live there.

  9. I am going to ask my friends that are on Facebook to comment on this post. I am sure that they will disagree also. The cost of living is the same as most places and we are getting a new water line put in which will be helpful if any new businesses want to open here. There are several local hunting clubs that own land or rent land because of the great hunting opportunities here. The fishing is great with a clean deep lake full of bass,crappies,catfish, and bream! there are a good many people who own homes on Lake Russell that come in for weekends and holidays and they love it here too. I am so sorry that you published these towns that you say are the 10 worst towns in South Carolina, because not only the great residents of Lowndesville hurt by it, but the other residents of these towns are hurt too! Shame on you!

  10. I believe that my first comment is what I think about your post. Lowndesville is a great place to live and your survey should have included conversations with the people that live here.

  11. What is the importance of an article like this. We are the Johnson family from Neeses. After leaving for New York and Philadelphia to work most of us returned after retirement and brought savings and retirement income and purchased homes and are living royalty. It is a plus to travel out on the weekend to eat, shop and attend movies. Neeses is clean, friendly and peaceful. Try interviewing actual people who have lived there all of there lives.

  12. Mina Thompson,great comment. Your post is one reason we moved to Lowndesville. We are angry that our little town made this awful list because it is a slam on the people and the great real estate on a wonderful,clean lake,(Russell).

  13. Thanks everyone for your being this will be my first visit to South Carolina and I will be visiting Camden for the 4th of July, can share their thoughts on Camden?

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