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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 South Carolina, you may or may not be surprised that Batesburg-Leesville ranked, at least on paper, as the worst place to live in the state. It has the 18th highest unemployment rate in the state, and the 24th most dangerous.
Incidentally, Batesburg-Leesville is the 8th most densely populated city in South Carolina. Draw your own conclusions.
There's probably not many people in South Carolina that would be surprised to see Georgetown on this list. In fact, if Georgetown wasn't somewhere in the top 10, most people would start to wonder if our data was accurate.
Here are the statistics. Georgetown has the 15th worst crime rate in South Carolina. No surprises there. How dangerous is it though? There were almost 98 violent crimes in Georgetown in 2020. Residents here had a 1 in 91 chance of being killed, raped or attacked. Just wow.
The home values in Georgetown are the 37th cheapest in the state ($162,800), the unemployment rate is the 2nd highest (19.4%), and the annual household income is 13th lowest in South Carolina, at $30,972. That's basically at the poverty level for a family of four.
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.
When you're looking at science and data, the city of Greenwood is the 5th worst place you can live in the state of South Carolina. Let's see why.
Residents who live in Greenwood, located in Greenwood County, have the 4th most crimes in the state committed against them. Factor in a much-lower income level--per resident--and homes valued around $92,000, and you've got yourself a crummy place to live. In terms of comparing it to the rest of South Carolina, that is.
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.
When you're looking at science and data, the city of Walterboro is the 9th worst place you can live in the state of South Carolina. Let's see why.
You may be surprised to hear that the crime here is the 20th-highest in the state per capita, according to the FBI data base.
Residents in Walterboro had a 1 in 16.5 chance of being robbed in 2019. To put things into perspective, since the average person has 300 friends on Facebook, if everyone you friended lived in Walterboro, statistically, 25 of them would have been the victim of a property crime, meaning a home robbery, car break in or a stolen wallet.
Walterboro's other issues are a very high unemployment rate (14.9%) and income levels of its residents ($30,359).
Rank Last Year: 18 (Up 8)
Median Home Value: $83,600 (4th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 9.6% (19th worst)
More on Clinton: Data
Clinton is the 3most dangerous place in the state of South Carolina. That's part of the reason it's the 10th worst place in South Carolina.
The fact remains, that when you're within Clinton city limits, you have a 1 in 25.0 chance of being robbed or having something you own vandalized.Does that sound like a fun place to live?
Did you know Clinton also has the 19th highest unemployment rate in the state at 9.6%? Or that homes are only valued at $83,600?
Say what you want about cheap living. The fact is, homes are priced by demand, and there's little demand to live in Clinton.
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:
- 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?