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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 64 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:
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 Batesburg-Leesville.
Read on below to see how we crunched the numbers and see how your city fared in 2020.
For more South Carolina reading, check out:
- Best Places To Live In South Carolina
- Cheapest Places To Live In South Carolina
- Most Dangerous Cities In South Carolina
The 10 Worst Places To Live In South Carolina For 2020
If you live in Batesburg-Leesville, this might not be a surprise, but you have the 24th highest crime rate, per capita in the state of South Carolina. Every year you spend here, you have a 1 in 21.3 chance of being the victim of a property crime like a car break in or home invasion robbery.
That's a lot of stolen cell phones, laptops and black license plates.
Plus there were 92 violent crimes in the last FBI reporting year. That means if you spent a year there, you'd have a 1 in 58 chance of being raped or attacked.
Finally, the folks who live here earn the 32nd lowest salaries in South Carolina At $45,294 a household, that's simply not enough to get by for most folks.
While the median household income in Georgetown is higher than other towns on this list, causing it to be lower down on the list of "worst cities", Georgetown still has the 2nd worst unemployment rate in the state, as well as the 15th worst crime index.
Therefore, though the average Georgetown household brings in a higher income, there are fewer people working here than in other cities across the state. It doesn't help that everyone has to be constantly worried about crime, either.
The crime in Marion is the 3rd-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 20.5%, which is the 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.
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 $75,100. That means it ranks as the 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.
Greenwood needs some tough love as it ranks as the 5th worst city to live in South Carolina for 2020. There's not a lot to do here, and when you factor in some of the lowest student support in the state and some of the worst weather, it's not a place you might want to move to.
And the crime in Greenwood is the 4th highest in the state, where 1 in 14.6 people have a chance of being the victim of a property crime, according to the latest FBI numbers.
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 68 chance of being the victim of a violent crime, meaning raped, attacked or murdered. And they have a 1 in 15.3 chance of being robbed each year. That's off the charts high.
And the unemployment rate is at 12.0%, which isn't horrible, but the 12th-highest in the state. Plus, residents here earn about $36,125 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.
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.
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.
you're looking to live in South Carolina, Walterboro might not be the best choice as it places 9th in our ranking of the worst places to live for 2020.
Walterboro doesn't have the worst crime in the state, but it's sure up there. And when you factor in one of the lowest household incomes in the state and a sky high unemployment rate, Walterboro may not be your first choice for a vacation.
Rank Last Year: 18 (Up 8)
Median Home Value: $83,600 (4th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 9.6% (19th worst)
More on Clinton: Data
When you're looking at science and data, Clinton is the 10th worst place you can live in the state of South Carolina. Let's see why.
First off, the crime here is really high, in comparison to the rest of South Carolina. Clinton is the 3most dangerous place you can live in the state, where you have a 1 in 25.0 chance of being the victim of some type of property crime. Meaning lots of people are getting robbed here.
Homes here average $83,600, which is the 4th lowest in the state. You can defend 'cheap living' all you want, but the fact is, homes are priced by demand, and there's not a lot of demand to live in Clinton.
Income levels are just about $30,707, the 11th lowest in South Carolina.
When you add it all up, Clinton really is quite an undesirable place to live. The people who have to live in here could use a big hug right about now.
How we determined the worst places to live in South Carolina for 2020
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
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 64 cities.
We then ranked each city from 1 to 64 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 -- Batesburg-Leesville. Read on for a detailed look at the 10 worst cities in South Carolina. You can download the data here.
This list is a scientific analysis based on real data and is completely unbiased.
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, Batesburg-Leesville ranks as the worst city to live in South Carolina for 2020.
If you're curious enough, here are the best cities to live in South Carolina:
- Mauldin (Pop. 25,009)
- James Island (Pop. 12,010)
- Mount Pleasant (Pop. 83,700)
For more South Carolina reading, check out:
- Best Places To Retire In South Carolina
- Richest Cities In South Carolina
- Safest Places In South Carolina
- Best Cities For Singles In South Carolina
Where Are The Worst Places To Live In South Carolina?