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:
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.
For more South Carolina reading, check out:
- 10 Best Places To Live In South Carolina
- 10 Cheapest Places To Live In South Carolina
- 10 Most Dangerous Cities In South Carolina
The 10 Worst Places To Live In South Carolina For 2019
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.
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 Georgetown. Sure, the unemployment rate is at 18.6% (which is really high), and the median income is $31,273. But the homes are at least above the $100,000 mark, and the schools aren’t a complete mess.
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.
If you live in Greenwood, you’re either going to fiercely protect your town, or you agree that it should be on this list. Either way, it doesn’t matter, because science says it’s the 4th worst place to live in the state.
You’ve got the 8th highest crime rate in South Carolina, which saw 316 violent crimes last year. You have a 1 in 13.6 chance of being robbed and a 1 in 73 chance of being attacked, raped or killed here for every year you spend in the city limits of Greenwood.
Plus, folks are simply out of work. Greenwood sports the state’s 17th highest unemployment rate (10.3%), and families bring in a combined $30,273 a year, which is far below the state average.
No wonder homes are cheap; you can get one yourself for only $92,800.
Most of the rest of the cities on this list deserve to be on here due to their high crime numbers. Walterboro is the 7th most dangerous city in South Carolina, according to the FBI. Residents had a 1 in 12.9 chance of being the victim of a property crime. That’s really high for South Carolina, but not even the highest in the state.
Home values are the 14th cheapest in the state, and income levels are almost as low as you can get. Households in Walterboro bring in just under $28,929 a year annually.
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 $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.
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.
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 for 2019.
Hartsville 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, Hartsville may not be your first choice for a vacation.
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.
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
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.
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:
- Clemson (Pop. 15,375)
- Mauldin (Pop. 24,813)
- Mount Pleasant (Pop. 80,661)
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