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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 Darlington.
Read on below to see how we crunched the numbers and see how your city fared in 2021.
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 2021
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.
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 $67,100. 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 3worst in the state, it's one of the worst places you can live in South Carolina.
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.
Things are starting to get progressively more 'modern' and in line with what you expect in a great state such as South Carolina when we get to Batesburg-Leesville. Sure, the unemployment rate is at 5.7% (which is really high), and the median income is $43,980. But the homes are at least above the $100,000 mark, and the schools aren't a complete mess.
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 5)
Median Home Value: $78,300 (2nd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 10.4% (9th worst)
More on Clinton: Data
Clinton ranks as the 5th worst city in South Carolina. Located in Laurens County, Clinton has the 4th lowest income levels in the state of South Carolina ($28,174), and some of the lowest number of doctors in the state. Crime is above average, and the unemployment rate is 10.4%.
The unemployment rate is a little lower here (6.9%), and the crime is a tad lower here as well, but things in Union aren't exactly peachy keen. Homes are valued at $85,000, which is 14th lowest in South Carolina.
On a positive note, the teacher-student ratio one of the lowest in Dillon, meaning the public school kids are getting a lot of attention, and hopefully a lot of love, too.
The city of Union doesn't even have a Facebook page yet.
If you're looking to live in South Carolina, Greenwood might not be the best choice as it places 7th in our ranking of the worst places to live for 2021.
The unemployment rate here is 9.5%, and households bring in a combined $33,699 a year in income. That's not too far from the poverty line, even though money goes a lot further in the boonies of South Carolina.
Crime is the 15th highest in the state in Greenwood as well. Just not a very desirable place at all to make home.
According to science, Georgetown is the 8th worst place you can live in South Carolina.
Let's see why. Georgetown has the 11th-highest crime rate in the state, surprisingly. In terms of number of crimes per person, Georgetown is certainly up there.
Factor in a very low housing cost ($163,300), and the 23rd-highest unemployment rate in the state (7.6%), and across the board, Georgetown doesn't sound like the best of the best.
Plus, there's simply not a lot to do here (unless you count having a Walmart and a Piggly Wiggly as fun). We're aware that people enjoy outdoor activities, but in terms of pure entertainment, you'd have to drive a ways away.
The crime in Marion is the 20th-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 16.4%, 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.
Some of the people in Lancaster need to mend some fences, because the crime rate here is a lot higher than it should be for a small town, where residents had a 1 in 80 chance of being victimized by a violent crime.
And the public school kids get some of the least amount of spending in South Carolina.
Perhaps they could use some friends down here. The city's event calendar is quite lacking in excitement.
How we determined the worst places to live in South Carolina for 2021
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 -- Darlington. 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, Darlington ranks as the worst city to live in South Carolina for 2021.
If you're curious enough, here are the best cities to live in South Carolina:
- Tega Cay (Pop. 10,412)
- James Island (Pop. 12,076)
- Mount Pleasant (Pop. 86,982)
For more South Carolina reading, check out:
- 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?