There are lots of people who throw the term ‘ghetto’ around. But where is the actual ghetto in South Carolina?
How do you decide if a city is ghetto or not? You ask the internet. According to the Urban Dictionary, a ghetto is defined as:
“urban; of or relating to (inner) city life” and “poor; of or relating to the poor life.”
Using that criteria, it’s not hard to scrape the internet, run some scientific data on where ghettos might exist in a state and then put out a list.
After analyzing all cities with a decent amount of people in them, we came up with this list as the most ghetto cities in South Carolina:
- Walterboro (Photos)
- Lancaster (Photos)
- Chester (Photos)
- Dillon (Photos)
- Spartanburg (Photos)
- Cheraw (Photos)
- Gaffney (Photos)
- Laurens (Photos)
Read on below to see where your town ranked.
For more South Carolina reading, check out:
- Worst Cities in South Carolina
- Most Dangerous Cities in South Carolina
- Safest Cities in South Carolina
What ghetto criteria did we use?
In order to rank the most ghetto cities in South Carolina, we had to determine what criteria defines a ghetto city.
Since a ghetto is defined as a poor area, we used income levels and education levels as a guide to determine where the most broke citizens of a state live.
Additionally, the staples of inner city life include cheap and discounted retail outlets.
We threw a lot of criteria at this one in order to get the best, most complete results possible. Using Yelp and Area Vibes, this is the criteria we used:
- Household income levels
- High school graduation rates
- Number of convenience stores
- Number of drug stores
- Number of discount stores
Note: For the sake of getting reliable numbers, we counted places within a city’s border, as well as within a short driving distance.
All of these results are listed in a per capita basis. Meaning number of stores per person in a state. Additionally, high school graduation rates are determined by looking at the total number of people who live in a city, not the current graduation rate of an area’s high schools.
Income: 2nd lowest in South Carolina
High school: 71%
Discount stores: 13th
Drug stores: 10th in SC
When you look at the numbers of inner city type stores, and the income level, Walterboro is the most ghetto city in South Carolina.
Residents here average about $22,600 a year in income for the entire household. The poverty rate is $25,000. Therefore, most of the population here is simply struggling to make ends meet.
Walterboro, population 5,282, is along I-95 north of Savannah. It’s also the 7th most dangerous city in the state.
Here’s what Twitter had to say about Walterboro:
“I had forgotten how ghetto Walterboro was
“Walterboro is too ghetto for me”
“to be honest, walterboro is the definition of ghetto”
High school: 65%
Drug stores: 6th most
Bennettsville has a really low graduation rate. When 1 out of 3 residents didn’t complete high school, a city has some real issues. It doesn’t get much lower than that. (But it does. See some cities below).
There are also a high number of drug stores in Bennettsville, and drug stores have been proven to be a significant factor in inner city life.
Bennettsville, population 9,088, is on Route 15 in the northeastern part of the state.
Here’s what Twitter had to say about Bennettsville:
“BREAKING GHETTO NEWS: The fish market in bennettsville now accepts ebt.”
High school: 75%
Drug stores: 4th most
Per capita, there are almost more inner-city shopping experiences in Lancaster than there are in any other city in South Carolina.
Way up near the North Carolina state line, households in Lancaster earn paltry salaries, and 1 out of 4 residents never finished high school. Lancaster is also the 6th most dangerous city in South Carolina.
Here’s what Twitter had to say about Lancaster:
‘Lancaster movie theater ghetto as hell people smoking in the movie theater”
High school: 58%
Convenience stores: 6th most
Like several other cities on this list, the residents of Dillon are struggling to make ends meet. Many earn below the poverty line in household incomes each month. And, close to half never finished high school, so things aren’t looking like they’ll improve any time soon.
Dillon is the most dangerous city in South Carolina, according to the FBI. If you want to visit them, take I-95 north of Florence. Better watch your back.
High school: 78%
Drug stores: 9th most
There are lots of inner city related stores and outlets in the city of Spartanburg, which is located in the north part of the state, not too far from Greenville.
Spartanburg is also the 4th most dangerous city in South Carolina.
Here’s what Twitter had to say about Spartanburg:
“I’m in Spartanburg & we are in the ghetto & I’m pretty sure I just saw a drug deal”
“Spartanburg is so ghetto that we have an Ice cream truck that accepts ebt… What is life?”
High school: 64%
Drug stores: 11th most
Cheraw is also in the northeastern part of South Carolina. The residents here are just about as broke as you can get. They have the 3rd lowest incomes in the state.
There are also a significantly higher number of drug stores in Cheraw.
Here’s what Twitter had to say about Cheraw:
“If we had a Starbucks in Cheraw it would be a ghetto one lol”
High school: 65%
Drug stores: 11th most
Those who live in Chester are just straight up struggling. Families average $23,333 a year in income, which is below the poverty line. In fact, 1 out of 4 people lives in poverty here, and nearly 1 in 3 didn’t finish high school.
There are also a higher than average number of discounted stores to shop, including the 11th most drug stores.
Chester is about an hour north of Columbia.
High school: 74%
Convenience stores: 12th most
A short drive north of Spartanburg is the ghetto town of Gaffney, population 12,473. Here, 20% of the city lives below the poverty line, and 1 in 4 dropped out of school.
There are a high number of inner city shopping stores in Gaffney, including one of the highest concentrations of convenience stores.
Here’s what Twitter had to say about Gaffney:
“Only in Gaffney does a ghetto liquor store make a fb page and writes statuses like ‘Only a few hours till close come get some bottles!’
High school: 70%
Drug stores: 1st
There are more drug stores in Laurens than anywhere else in South Carolina. When you factor in the horribly low income levels, and the fact that 3 in 10 people walking around Laurens is really uneducated, it’s, by definition, a really ghetto place.
Laurens is just south of Greenville along I-385.
High school: 67%
Convenience stores: 16th most
It’s official – the north side of South Carolina is a lot more ghetto than anywhere else. Newberry is no exception.
Here, nearly 1 in 3 residents dropped out of high school, and the income levels make it very hard to scrape by.
There You Have It
If you’re measuring the locations in South Carolina where there are a high number of poor and uneducated residents, and where there are a high number of discounted shopping stores, this is an accurate list.
Additionally, here are the least ghetto places in South Carolina:
- Five Forks (Pop. 14,306)
- Lake Wylie (Pop. 9,135)
- Forest Acres (Pop. 10,436)
- Tega Cay (Pop. 7,595)
- Wade Hampton (Pop. 19.910)
We also wrote about the most 10 redneck cities in South Carolina if you didn’t happen to see it. Click here to read it.
Plus, we found what might be the best Clemson football video ever. You’ll definitely believe the Tigers will win it all this year after watching it. Click here to see it.