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 (Photos)
  6. Marion (Photos)
  7. Chester (Photos)
  8. Central (Photos)
  9. Greenwood (Photos)
  10. Union (Photos)

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.

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.

1. Cheraw

Cheraw, South Carolina

Source: Public domain

Population: 5,793
Median Income: $23,209
Unemployment Rate: 21.2%
Poverty Rate: 32.5%
More on Cheraw: Add A Comment | Data | Jobs

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.

User comment that mentions Cheraw: I am from Chesterfied and to say Cheraw is one of the worst places in the state to live is outrageous. The towns of Chesterfield and Cheraw may be rivals in sports but that’s where it stops with me. The historic downtown part is beautiful. It has many great people and great businesses! I have many friends and family members that live in Cheraw that will certainly agree with me.

Your comment could be here. Add a comment on a city or town.

2. Abbeville

Abbeville, South Carolina

Population: 5,184
Median Income: $20,125
Unemployment Rate: 14.7%
Poverty Rate: 39.5%
More on Abbeville: Add A Comment | Data | Jobs

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: Public domain

Population: 9,071
Median Income: $26,105
Unemployment Rate: 17.5%
Poverty Rate: 38.4%
More on Georgetown: Add A Comment | Data | Jobs

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

Population: 7,816
Median Income: $27,213
Unemployment Rate: 21.8%
Poverty Rate: 31.8%
More on Hartsville: Add A Comment | Data | Jobs

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

Darlington, South Carolina

Population: 6,185
Median Income: $26,018
Unemployment Rate: 17.9%
Poverty Rate: 30.8%
More on Darlington: Add A Comment | Data | Jobs

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.

User comment that mentions Darlington: This article is the biggest waste of space I have ever seen on the internet. Nick Jones did not do any research before composing this worthless article. His ignorance shines like a new penny. He most feel he is perfect and without flaws.How dare he label others with terms like redneck’. I can’t help but to wonder how he refers to blacks, gays, women and anyone else who is different from him. I wish everyone who reads this crap would commit on what they feel is the meaning of of the word redneck. I am a life long resident of South Carolina, except for the 4 years I served in the military defending the rights and freedom of jerks like Mr. Jones. I have visited all of the towns on this list and resided in a couple of them. Each one of these places are filled with natures beauty that is unmatched by most places in the United States and even the world. The majority of the people who live here are what are referred to as salt of the earth. They are hard working, law abiding, respectful, mannered, patriotic, god loving folks who would give you the shirt off of their back if you needed it. The area mentioned in this disrespected post is referred to as the upstate, except for Darlington.The upstate of South Carolina is home to many respected colleges and universities. Clemson, Bob Jones, Furman, Landers, Erskine, USC Upstate just to name a few. Only an Idiot would judge the population of a town by a small group of it’s citizens. Rednecks- You don’t even know the definition of the word and it shows through by the other stupid statements you made in this worthless article. Please do the fine citizens of South Carolina and stay out of our state. You should never critical of something you know nothing about. Get an education, then you can write something useful and intelligent.’

Your comment could be here. Add a comment on a city or town.

6. Marion

Marion, South Carolina

Population: 6,756
Median Income: $28,948
Unemployment Rate: 19.9%
Poverty Rate: 33.9%
More on Marion: Add A Comment | Data | Jobs

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: Public domain

Population: 5,498
Median Income: $24,239
Unemployment Rate: 19.1%
Poverty Rate: 30.0%
More on Chester: Add A Comment | Data | Jobs

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.

User comment that mentions Chester: I live in Chester and its not a bad place, and ghere are plenty of things to do you just have to look

Your comment could be here. Add a comment on a city or town.

8. Central

Central, South Carolina

Population: 5,187
Median Income: $26,095
Unemployment Rate: 10.6%
Poverty Rate: 36.5%
More on Central: Add A Comment | Data | Jobs

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

Population: 23,260
Median Income: $27,998
Unemployment Rate: 12.7%
Poverty Rate: 35.1%
More on Greenwood: Add A Comment | Data | Jobs

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.

User comment that mentions Greenwood: This video makes me laugh I live in greenwood sc and iv been to all the other places they listed. Let’s just say this guy that made the video probably lives I’m gmas basement and got his facts off of tmz

Your comment could be here. Add a comment on a city or town.

10. Union

Union, South Carolina

Population: 8,081
Median Income: $26,858
Unemployment Rate: 14.0%
Poverty Rate: 30.2%
More on Union: Add A Comment | Data | Jobs

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:

  • 10 Cheapest Places To Live In South Carolina
  • 10 Worst Places To Live In South Carolina
  • 10 Most Dangerous Cities In South Carolina
  • Detailed List Of The Poorest Cities In South Carolina

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

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