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:
- Dillon (Photos)
- Georgetown (Photos)
- Abbeville (Photos)
- Greenwood (Photos)
- Walterboro (Photos)
- Darlington (Photos)
- Chester (Photos)
- Marion (Photos)
- Hartsville (Photos)
- 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.
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
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.
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 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.
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 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 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’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.
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.
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:
- Clemson (Pop. 15,375)
- Mauldin (Pop. 24,813)
- Mount Pleasant (Pop. 80,661)
For more South Carolina reading, check out:
- These Are The 10 Best Places To Retire In South Carolina
- These Are The 10 Richest Cities In South Carolina
- 10 Safest Places In South Carolina
- 10 Best Cities For Singles In South Carolina
Detailed List Of The Worst Places To Live In South Carolina
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