These Are The 10 Poorest Cities In South Carolina For 2018


We analyzed the over 90 places in South Carolina to determine which ones are at the bottom of the income ladder.

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South Carolina brings to mind images of Columbia, beautiful landscapes, and some of the best people you’ll find in the good ole US of A.

However, like all states, South Carolina has certain places that are going on hard times. These places have an above average percent of people that are living in poverty, out of work, or not making as much as they should be.

With all the talk about income inequality going on around the country, we thought it prudent to take a look at the places in each state that are struggling to make it even as the economy continues to improve. So we set our sites on bringing attention to the places in South Carolina that could use a helping hand.

To do so, we analyzed the newest Census data from the American Community Survey for the 62 places in South Carolina with more than 5,000 people.

We were left with this set of the ten poorest places in the Palmetto State for 2018:

  1. Cheraw (Photos)
  2. Abbeville (Photos)
  3. Georgetown (Photos)
  4. Hartsville (Photos)
  5. Darlington
  6. Marion
  7. Chester (Photos)
  8. Central
  9. Greenwood (Photos)
  10. Union

Again, this isn’t a commentary on the people that live there or the vibrant culture and traditions of these places. Instead, it’s just a look at the facts.

And according to the facts, Cheraw is the poorest place in South Carolina for 2018.

Rich people not your cup of tea? Feel free to check out the richest places in South Carolina or the most dangerous.

For more on how we calculated the top ten, and for more information about these places, read on.

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How We Determined The Poorest Places In South Carolina For 2018

The first thing that comes to most people’s minds when they think about determining the poorest places is to simply the poverty rate. That is, the number of people living below a federally established level of income for a household of a certain size.

However, we don’t think that one statistic wholly encompasses what it means to be one of the ‘poorest places’. So we looked at this set of criteria from the newly released 2012-2016 American Community Survey:

  • Poverty Level
  • Median Household Income adjusted for the cost of living
  • Unemployment Rate

The ‘median household income adjusted for the cost of living’ attempts to gauge how expensive it is to live in a place and how that impacts the quality of life. For example, a town might have fewer people living below the official poverty line, but the cost of living is so high they’d still feel poor.

The unemployment rate tries to capture the prospects for improvement in the city or town. If more people are employed, the brighter the future looks and vice versa.

After we collected the data for all 62 places with more than 5,000 people in South Carolina, we ranked each place from 1 to 62 for each of the criteria, with 1 being the poorest.

We then averaged all the rankings for a place into a ‘Poor Score’ with the place having the lowest overall Poor Score, Cheraw, crowned the ‘Poorest Place In South Carolina For 2018’.

You can learn more about the top ten below or skip to the end to see the rankings for all 62 places.

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1. Cheraw

Cheraw, South Carolina

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 5,793
Median Income: $23,209
Unemployment Rate: 21.2%
Poverty Rate: 32.5%
Cheraw, unfortunately, ranks as the poorest place in South Carolina thanks to combination of low pay and and a lack of jobs.

The city of 5,793 people averages the 2nd lowest median household income in South Carolina and the 8th highest poverty rate. At the very least, the cost of living ranks in the bottom 15% of place in the state, so things like housing are relatively affordable.

2. Abbeville

Abbeville, South Carolina

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 5,184
Median Income: $20,125
Unemployment Rate: 14.7%
Poverty Rate: 39.5%
The second poorest city in South Carolina is Abbeville.

The city ranks as having the 2nd highest incidence of poverty and 1st lowest median household income. However, the unemployment rate ‘only’ ranks as the 10th highest in the Palmetto State.

3. Georgetown

Georgetown, South Carolina

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 9,071
Median Income: $26,105
Unemployment Rate: 17.5%
Poverty Rate: 38.4%
Placing as the third poorest city, Georgetown’s median income ranks as the 6th lowest.

And that’s a sign that there’s a relatively substantial jump in the quality of the economy from second to third place on our list. The poverty rate is 38.4% and ranks near the bottom of places in the state.

But what makes up for the relatively low incomes of the city is its low cost of living. The income you do make here goes further than in most parts of the Palmetto State.

4. Hartsville

Hartsville, South Carolina

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 7,816
Median Income: $27,213
Unemployment Rate: 21.8%
Poverty Rate: 31.8%
Hartsville ranks as the fourth poorest place in South Carolina.

The town ranks as having the 9th lowest median household income and the 9th highest incidence of poverty in the state.

That being said, there’s still a ton of cultural diversity in the city as it hosts many events throughout the year.

5. Darlington


Population: 6,185
Median Income: $26,018
Unemployment Rate: 17.9%
Poverty Rate: 30.8%
The fifth poorest city in South Carolina is Darlington.

The city ranks as having the 4th lowest median income in the state. However, an extremely low cost of living prevents a good number of folks from living in poverty as the poverty rate only ranks as the 11th highest in South Carolina.

Still not the best news for Darlington.

6. Marion

Marion, South Carolina

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 6,756
Median Income: $28,948
Unemployment Rate: 19.9%
Poverty Rate: 33.9%
Marion ranks as the sixth poorest place in the Palmetto State.

It ranks as having the 7th highest incidence of poverty and the 3rd highest unemployment rate.

7. Chester

Chester, South Carolina

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 5,498
Median Income: $24,239
Unemployment Rate: 19.1%
Poverty Rate: 30.0%
Chester places as the seventh poorest city in South Carolina.

The city of over 5,498 ranks as having the 16th highest incidence of poverty in the state. However, it has a very low cost of living which helps to pay the bills each month.

8. Central


Population: 5,187
Median Income: $26,095
Unemployment Rate: 10.6%
Poverty Rate: 36.5%
Central ranks as the eighth poorest city in South Carolina.

The big issue for the town is the unemployment rate which ranks as the 19th highest in the state.

9. Greenwood

Greenwood, South Carolina

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 23,260
Median Income: $27,998
Unemployment Rate: 12.7%
Poverty Rate: 35.1%
Greenwood couldn’t stay out of the top ten poorest places in South Carolina; it ranks number 9.

While the median income is the 10th lowest, there are a substantial number of people that live below the poverty line. Overall, Greenwood ranks as having the 6th most people living in poverty of all the places we analyzed in South Carolina.

10. Union

Union, South Carolina

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 8,081
Median Income: $26,858
Unemployment Rate: 14.0%
Poverty Rate: 30.2%
And rounding out the top ten poorest cities in South Carolina is Union.

The city of 8,081 people ranks in the bottom 20% for both median income and poverty rate in the Palmetto State.

There You Have It – The Poorest Places In South Carolina For 2018

Like we said earlier, when we set out to identify the poorest places in South Carolina, we weren’t sure what we’d encounter, but it ended up being some of the best places to live in South Carolina.

When you look at the data, the cities and places mentioned above meet the criteria for being at the very bottom of the income ladder for everyone that lives there.

If you’re curious enough, here are the richest cities in South Carolina, according to data:

Richest: Mount Pleasant
2nd Richest: Lexington
3rd Richest: Hilton Head Island

For more South Carolina reading , check out:

  • These Are The 10 Safest Places In South Carolina
  • These Are The 10 Worst Places To Live In South Carolina
  • These Are The 10 Most Ghetto Cities In South Carolina
  • Detailed List Of The Poorest Cities In South Carolina

    City Rank Poverty Rate
    Cheraw 1 32.5%
    Abbeville 2 39.5%
    Georgetown 3 38.4%
    Hartsville 4 31.8%
    Darlington 5 30.8%
    Marion 6 33.9%
    Chester 7 30.0%
    Central 8 36.5%
    Greenwood 9 35.1%
    Union 10 30.2%
    Lancaster 11 31.1%
    Walterboro 12 26.8%
    Lake City 13 30.3%
    Bennettsville 14 30.6%
    Dillon 15 36.2%
    Orangeburg 16 28.6%
    Laurens 17 25.8%
    Batesburg-Leesville 18 25.2%
    Conway 19 28.7%
    Clinton 20 30.7%
    Spartanburg 21 26.6%
    Newberry 22 23.7%
    Myrtle Beach 23 22.9%
    Anderson 24 23.3%
    Sumter 25 20.6%
    Seneca 26 20.6%
    Gaffney 27 29.3%
    Clemson 28 40.2%
    Columbia 29 22.9%
    North Charleston 30 22.7%
    West Columbia 31 21.6%
    Rock Hill 32 19.0%
    York 33 22.1%
    Clover 34 19.8%
    Florence 35 17.6%
    Cayce 36 22.1%
    Port Royal 37 15.7%
    Camden 38 17.2%
    North Augusta 39 12.4%
    Greenville 40 16.8%
    Easley 41 12.6%
    Moncks Corner 42 14.0%
    Aiken 43 17.2%
    Beaufort 44 20.6%
    Irmo 45 12.7%
    North Myrtle Beach 46 13.0%
    Greer 47 16.7%
    Charleston 48 16.3%
    Summerville 49 10.5%
    Forest Acres 50 10.8%
    Goose Creek 51 10.6%
    Fountain Inn 52 11.0%
    Hanahan 53 10.7%
    Fort Mill 54 11.1%
    Mauldin 55 6.2%
    James Island 56 8.6%
    Bluffton 57 8.4%
    Simpsonville 58 6.0%
    Tega Cay 59 0.9%
    Hilton Head Island 60 10.7%
    Lexington 61 9.0%
    Mount Pleasant 62 6.4%

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