These Are The 10 Worst Places To Live In South Carolina For 2019

We used science and data to determine which cities in the Palmetto State are the real 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 2019. This is our fifth time ranking the worst places to live in South Carolina.

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The Palmetto State of South Carolina is truly a glorious place. You have some of the best beaches in the south. Charleston might be one of America’s finest cities. And there’s more history in South Carolina than in the rest of the south combined.

You’ve got some great colleges, lots of culture, and the large areas of farming are a vital part of our economy.

But you knew that already if you live there.

But is it all charming in South Carolina? Of course not. Just like every other state, South Carolina has its issues. There are some cities that a real hot mess right now. The purpose of this post is to use science and data to determine which South Carolina cities have some serious issues, at least on paper.

After analyzing 62 of the Palmetto State’s most populous cities, we came up with this list as the 10 worst places you could live in South Carolina:

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

What? Where are these places you wonder? And before you get all riled up and say we’re picking on small town America, that’s not the case.

We understand there’s a lot of good in every place.

However, according to data (which doesn’t measure things like beauty and ‘friendly people’), there are far better options in the state for making a place home. And the worst place to live in South Carolina? That would be Dillon.

Read on below to see how we crunched the numbers and see how your city fared in 2019.

If you’re looking for something more national, check out the worst cities in America or the worst states in America.

For more South Carolina reading, check out:

How we determined the worst places to live in South Carolina for 2019

To figure out how bad a place is to live in, we only needed to know what kinds of things people like and then decide what cities have the least amount of those things.

We don’t think it’s a stretch to assume that people like the following things:

  • Good education
  • Lots of jobs
  • Low crime
  • Low poverty
  • Nice homes
  • High incomes
  • High population density (Lots of things to do)
  • Short work commutes
  • Health insurance

The data comes from the Census’s most recent American Community Survey and from the FBI Uniform Crime Report.

We broke crime down into violent crime and property crime to give violent crime a larger weight — if you did a simple calculation of all crimes per capita, property crimes are normally 7x more common and really bias that ranking.

Furthermore, only cities with at least 5,000 people were considered — leaving 62 cities.

We then ranked each city from 1 to 62 for all the criteria with a #1 ranking being the worst for the particular criteria.

Next, we averaged the rankings into one “Worst Place To Live Score”.

Finally, we ranked every city on the “Worst Place To Live Score” with the lowest score being the worst city in South Carolina — Dillon. Read on for a detailed look at the 10 worst cities in South Carolina.

This list is a scientific analysis based on real data and is completely unbiased.

Dillon, SC

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 6,540
Rank Last Year: 3 (Up 2)
Median Home Value: $105,300 (10th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 10.5% (16th worst)
More on Dillon:  Data | Photos

Yes, every dog has a few fleas. But the crime in Dillon is actually quite atrocious. Some of the punks there who are causing trouble need a time out. It’s that simple.

Residents here have a 1 in 42 chance of being the victim of a violent crime, meaning raped, attacked or murdered. And they have a 1 in 10.3 chance of being robbed each year. That’s off the charts high.

And the unemployment rate is at 10.5%, which isn’t horrible, but the 16th-highest in the state. Plus, residents here earn about $38,344 a year in combined household income, which is below the poverty line for a family of four.

To make matters worse, the schools spend the least amount, per student, than any other schools in the state.

Dillon is located right along I-95 on the North Carolina border.

Georgetown, SC

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 8,960
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 8)
Median Home Value: $158,000 (39th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 18.6% (2nd worst)
More on Georgetown:  Data | Photos

Georgetown ranks as the 2nd worst place to live in South Carolina for 2019.

While the unemployment rate is high (but not terrible), crime is a real factor here. It’s the 14th most dangerous place you can live in South Carolina, according to the latest FBI numbers. If you live here, you have a high chance of being a victim each year.

Residents here earn about $31,273 a year. That’s in the bottom half of what people in South Carolina normally make.

Abbeville, SC

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 5,103
Rank Last Year: 16 (Up 13)
Median Home Value: $77,300 (4th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 16.7% (4th worst)
More on Abbeville:  Data | Photos

In Abbeville, the crime is low, and the schools are great. However, you all earn just about the lowest salaries in the state, and your unemployment rate is the 17th highest in South Carolina. Money doesn’t buy happiness, but it buys peace of mind.

The Abbeville area is heavily focused on agriculture production, near the Georgia state line.

Abbeville is located west of Greenwood in the western side of the state.

Greenwood, SC

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 23,148
Rank Last Year: 19 (Up 15)
Median Home Value: $92,800 (9th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 10.3% (17th worst)
More on Greenwood:  Data | Photos

If you live in South Carolina, you may or may not be surprised that Greenwood ranked, at least on paper, as the 4th worst place to live in the state. It has the 17th highest unemployment rate in the state, and the 8th most dangerous.

Incidentally, Greenwood is the 37th most densely populated city in South Carolina. Draw your own conclusions.

Walterboro, SC

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 5,143
Rank Last Year: 1 (Down 4)
Median Home Value: $109,100 (14th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 15.1% (8th worst)
More on Walterboro:  Data | Photos

Walterboro needs some tough love.

Years ago, someone told me the sun never shines in Walterboro. That’s not true, of course, but you can understand why she might say that when you analyze certain facts about Walterboro. Of the 62 cities considered in this ranking, Walterboro had the least to be proud of across the board.

Not only does Walterboro have South Carolina’s 14th lowest home value rank, but it also had the 8th and 7th highest rankings in unemployment and crime respectively. Statistics like that will certainly make the sun shine a bit dimmer, and it will win you are in contention for title of “Worst City in South Carolina.”

If you know anyone in Walterboro, tag them on Facebook and tell them you love them. They can probably use it right about now.

Darlington, SC

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 6,075
Rank Last Year: 5 (Down 1)
Median Home Value: $87,200 (7th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 15.0% (9th worst)
More on Darlington:  Data | Photos

Darlington’s crime is nearly in the top 10 in the state of South Carolina, and folks here are struggling to make ends meet. Besides having a good school system, there’s not a lot of upside to living here. Unless you like car racing.

Darlington is world famous for its racetrack, which brings in throngs of NASCAR fans from all over the country. The Bojangles Southern 500 is coming to town in September this year. Lock your cooler if you go. You wouldn’t want to have any beer stolen.

Chester, SC

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 5,446
Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 3)
Median Home Value: $73,800 (2nd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 14.0% (10th worst)
More on Chester:  Data | Photos

Little Chester, on the way to Charlotte, is in a bad place. Again, the household incomes here are really, really low, and the average home value is $73,800. That means it ranks as the 2nd lowest in South Carolina.

You can make a case that based on the fact that Chester has no real indoor entertainment, and crime is the 29th worst in the state, it’s one of the worst places you can live in South Carolina.

Marion, SC

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 6,590
Rank Last Year: 6 (Down 2)
Median Home Value: $111,500 (16th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 18.4% (3rd worst)
More on Marion:  Data | Photos

The crime in Marion is the 4th-highest in the state, and there were two murders here two years ago. That’s really a shame for such a little town. Plus, the unemployment rate is 18.4%, which is the 3rd highest in the state of South Carolina.

They need jobs here. The problem is, the closest town is Florence, and that’s a half hour away.

Hartsville, SC

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 7,694
Rank Last Year: 8 (Down 1)
Median Home Value: $108,400 (13th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 16.1% (6th worst)
More on Hartsville:  Data | Photos

If you’re looking to live in South Carolina, Hartsville might not be the best choice as it places 9th in our ranking of the worst places to live in the Palmetto State for 2019.

The average family earns $28,070 a year out here, and 32.9% of the population is below the poverty line. Nearly 16.1% of the population is out of work.

And when you consider the crime, it’s just crazy to think of how dangerous it is to live way out here. When you’re in Hartsville, every year, you have a 1 in 8.9 chance of being robbed. Can you imagine? Perhaps it’s an economic factor, or the fact that the people out there are so isolated, but the fact remains, it’s the 2nd most dangerous place in the state, per capita.

Cheraw, SC

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 5,702
Rank Last Year: 10 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $111,500 (16th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 20.8% (1st worst)
More on Cheraw:  Data | Photos

If you’ve ever driven north on Route 52 into North Carolina, you might have passed through the tiny town of Cheraw. It’s located at the base of Sand Hills State Forest, so it’s in a beautiful place.

Unfortunately, science doesn’t measure beauty, and according to the data, Cheraw needs a fixin’. The median income here is staggeringly low, and at $23,000 a year, folks here are struggling to make ends meet. While the unemployment rate isn’t horrible, it’s not good either.

If you’re passing through, maybe give a wave and a friendly smile. Folks down here sure need it.

Wrapping Up The Worst In South Carolina

If you’re looking at areas in South Carolina with the worst economic situations, where there’s higher than average crime, and not a lot to do, this is an accurate list.

And in the end, Dillon ranks as the worst city to live in South Carolina for 2019.

If you’re curious enough, here are the best cities to live in South Carolina:

  1. Clemson (Pop. 15,375)
  2. Mauldin (Pop. 24,813)
  3. Mount Pleasant (Pop. 80,661)

For more South Carolina reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Worst Places To Live In South Carolina

Rank City Population Unemployment Rate Home Value
1 Dillon 6,540 10.5% $105,300
2 Georgetown 8,960 18.6% $158,000
3 Abbeville 5,103 16.7% $77,300
4 Greenwood 23,148 10.3% $92,800
5 Walterboro 5,143 15.1% $109,100
6 Darlington 6,075 15.0% $87,200
7 Chester 5,446 14.0% $73,800
8 Marion 6,590 18.4% $111,500
9 Hartsville 7,694 16.1% $108,400
10 Cheraw 5,702 20.8% $111,500
11 Union 7,926 11.5% $76,500
12 Myrtle Beach 30,760 9.2% $178,300
13 Laurens 8,931 8.2% $85,900
14 York 8,001 5.4% $132,400
15 North Charleston 108,186 7.1% $155,900
16 Lancaster 8,948 16.3% $119,900
17 Clinton 8,538 7.3% $80,300
18 Orangeburg 13,215 13.6% $121,900
19 Hardeeville 5,084 7.0% $301,600
20 Clover 5,731 8.9% $125,000
21 Bennettsville 8,493 16.1% $73,200
22 Sumter 40,286 11.2% $141,000
23 Camden 7,000 5.5% $155,500
24 Newberry 10,257 9.9% $88,600
25 Gaffney 12,756 7.1% $107,700
26 Easley 20,521 7.0% $148,000
27 Conway 21,534 10.6% $148,400
28 West Columbia 17,056 6.2% $133,500
29 Anderson 27,011 7.7% $123,200
30 Cayce 13,668 6.0% $122,400
31 Columbia 132,236 8.4% $168,800
32 North Myrtle Beach 15,510 6.4% $263,300
33 Seneca 8,199 5.0% $147,300
34 Florence 37,840 7.7% $157,500
35 Rock Hill 70,764 7.6% $140,500
36 Central 5,161 10.8% $106,400
37 Spartanburg 37,384 7.9% $118,600
38 Hilton Head Island 39,666 4.5% $454,300
39 North Augusta 22,268 8.0% $150,600
40 Greer 28,587 4.3% $154,600
41 Moncks Corner 9,759 3.9% $168,400
42 Beaufort 13,413 5.1% $210,700
43 Bluffton 17,164 4.1% $244,100
44 Hollywood 5,083 0.7% $234,600
45 Irmo 11,950 7.4% $126,300
46 Port Royal 12,218 7.5% $211,500
47 Aiken 30,277 5.9% $175,200
48 Goose Creek 41,040 6.6% $174,500
49 Greenville 64,061 5.4% $255,600
50 Summerville 49,122 6.8% $189,400
51 Hanahan 21,729 4.3% $205,700
52 Fountain Inn 8,455 5.6% $129,800
53 Fort Mill 14,451 5.1% $222,700
54 Simpsonville 20,741 4.8% $155,500
55 Charleston 131,204 4.8% $286,200
56 Lexington 20,653 4.1% $178,300
57 Forest Acres 10,466 4.3% $185,800
58 James Island 11,908 2.7% $261,300
59 Tega Cay 9,464 5.6% $306,600
60 Clemson 15,375 4.5% $207,500
61 Mauldin 24,813 6.5% $153,700
62 Mount Pleasant 80,661 3.5% $413,600

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13 thoughts on “These Are The 10 Worst Places To Live In South Carolina For 2019

    1. Low crime rate…In DILLON?? That’s just not true at all. I have lived here most all of my life and I am in my mid-forties now. Dillon is plagued with drugs, crime, and prostitution. And with the lack of decent paying jobs-mainly due to the fact most companies know it would be foolish to invest their resources here with the lack of educated and/or skilled workers. This town truly should be razed to the ground. I mean, just walk or ride around town and it’s abundantly clear that this is not a very nice place. Pretty much the main source of recreation is simply surviving…definitely not thriving. The schools? But hey, at least we have those Mighty Dillon Wildcats! Right. Now, bash away…But nothing I have stated is untrue.

      Fun Facts:

      1-The overall crime rate in Dillon is 336% higher than the national average.
      2- For every 100,000 people, there are 32.83 daily crimes that occur in Dillon.
      3- In Dillon you have a 1 in 9 chance of becoming a victim of any crime.

      Awesome job!

  1. I live and teach in York. I have to question where the writer got the education statistics. We are ranked in the top 10 the state, not the bottom third. I’m not saying York is Eden (we have a 70% poverty index), but if you are going to write an article calling places the “worst place to live” get the facts straight.

  2. I read your release regarding the 10 worst places to live in South Carolina. Needless to say it was a real shock to see what you said about Cheraw, SC. I have lived here since 1978 and you certainly don’t know all the pluses for this town and area. First of all, your data regarding the median income is way off base. According to the US Bureau of Census, American Community Survey in 2015 the median income for the Cheraw area is $41,170 and area population is estimate to be 14,944. We have one of the most beautiful historic districts in the State, a very active arts commission bringing entertaining and cultural opportunities on a continuing basis to our town. We have great recreational programs for our children, and good schools. We are fortunate to have a good industrial base in our community, with long standing successful companies employing 3,500 in our town. This figure does not include the many positions in our schools and small businesses around the area. Cheraw is fortunate to have Northeastern Technical College with an enrollment of over 1,000. We are home of the official SC Jazz Festival each October, which brings top notch Jazz artist to our town and visitors from all over the country. We will be hosting the National Dog Trials here at our H. Cooper Black Recreational facility this fall.

    Don’t feel sorry for us living in Cheraw. We are thankful to live in a town like Cheraw. Is there room for improvement——— of course. The same can be said for any city or town all over this great country of ours. As president of the Greater Cheraw Chamber of Commerce, we continue to work towards improvement. Come to Cheraw and interview our citizens and visitors. I am sure you will leave with a “hug,” and a different perspective regarding our beautiful town..

    Articles such as your do more harm to communities than help improve them. This is especially true for businesses and industries we may try to recruit, in order to provide more job opportunities and improve the standard of living.

    Make sure you have accurate facts and an understanding of our town before you release misleading information.

    Roger J. Jones
    Greater Cheraw Chamber of Commerce

    1. Folks! This is, by the publisher’s own definition: infotainment. Y’all are taking it way too serious. No matter how thin you fry cornbread, it still has two sides! From my own personal experience of living in a small city, I believe the best thing is to be involved with your city’s Downtown Development Authority<research that!

    2. My wife and I passed thru Cheraw last Monday ( 2/4/18 ) on our way to Patrick…..We both thought it was a pretty little town….We ate lunch at the ” River’s Edge Restaurant “….We enjoyed our meal and liked our friendly server…Even bought a coffee cup to commemorate our passing thru……Looked like there was a lot of history there ………THANKS ,

  3. I am in complete agreement with Roger Jones. Cheraw is known for some of the most beautiful homes in the state. It has two very beautiful golf courses and one of the nicest State Parks anywhere. It is recovering from the stupidity of NAFTA better than most textile based areas and has some promising business opportunities. The old town is scenic and has some good reasons to shop there. The churches are beautiful, plentiful and well attended. Community relations are a plus. While I live in the sister town of Chesterfield (which wasn’t even mentioned) I am in Cheraw daily as I play golf and attend church there. If there is a weak spot it is the typical small town store vacancies due to the presence of Walmart. But, there are some pretty unique places to shop as well with some of the most friendly people you will find anywhere. This article may have filled space in some newspaper or magazine, but it really does not reflect most of these places accurately at all.

  4. I agree 100% with our Cheraw Chamber of Commerce President, Roger Jones. He was spot on!! I would like to also add, insensitive articles as these, are only hurting our small towns across America. Instead of adding to the problems small towns face today, maybe Nick James needs to put his time and efforts into something more positive, like finding solutions to the problems. If more people would stop dwelling on all the negatives and start focusing on the positives, we may be able to move this country forward.

  5. 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.

  6. As a native of Cheraw, I too was shocked to see that Cheraw was listed as #3. It is a gorgeous town, and I feel privileged to have grown up in such a beautiful place. There is a lot to love in Cheraw.

    I lived in Lancaster for a few years, and they had some of the nicest people there. It was the most expensive town I had ever lived in, but it had a lot to offer when I lived there!

  7. This is, as L G White says:
    September 4, 2015 at 11:56 pm
    Folks! This is, by the publisher’s own definition: infotainment. Y’all are taking it way too serious. No matter how thin you fry cornbread, it still has two sides! From my own personal experience of living in a small city, I believe the best thing is to be involved with your city’s Downtown Development Authority<research that!

    I also agree with what Roger J. Jones, President, Cheraw Chamber of Commerce says. 

    THIS is NOT to be taken seriously.  I know the Batesburg-Leesville area and, while it may be fairly accurate regading employment, Columbia, Lexington, Aiken and Augusta, GA and other cities like those, which have less unemployement are just a short drive away.    Not difficult to look for work and not too far to drive in exchange for a quieter and slower paced lifestyle.   Not everyone wants to go to a movie or restaurant every night or even once a week.  Some people like and want a slow paced area. More people know each other and in that same manner, they also look out for one another.  

    This is just data being manipulated to carry out an agenda.  If you don't believe that, just look up the other stories:

    1.  Most Miserable Cities
    2.  Most Snobbiest
    3.  Most Boring

    THIS is just THREE of those 'data manipulated' lists put out.  I would definitely call them infotainment, because they certainly DO NOT TAKE INTO ACCOUNT OTHER FACTORS PEOPLE CHOOSE (WANT) WHEN DECIDING WHERE TO LIVE.  

  8. Our small Town of Cowpens, S.C. Is a great place to live, with great schools for our children, plenty of great restaurants, and the most friendliest people you’ll ever meet. Very little to no crimes to speak of committed here in our little town and when you see lots of people walking, it’s not because they’re out looking for trouble, it’s because our citizens are very health conscious and we walk for exercise and to meet up with other walkers to chat while we walk. There’s plenty more niceties about Cowpens, just so many to mention. It’s THE BEST PLACE to start and grow your family.
    Thanks for the opportunity to share my thoughts on our quant beautiful little Town of Cowpens, South Carolina.

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