6 Reasons You Shoudn’t Move to Charleston, SC

6 Reasons You Shoudn’t Move to Charleston, SC

Arthur Ravenel Jr. bridge over a river in Charleston, SC

Charleston, SC is a beautiful city to live in in the Lowcountry area of South Carolina. In this city, you’ll find a plethora of history, wealth, and beauty, but don’t let these qualities distract you from the cons as well. Whether it’s the traffic that would sway you or more pressing matters like social status, Charleston has bad attributes that are often disregarded. There are cons to consider when wondering if moving to Charleston, SC is a good idea.

Moving to a new town, city, or state is a life-impacting decision for anyone. It is important if not necessary to love where you live! Moving should be exciting and fun not stressful and scary. This is why it is essential to do your research before deciding where to move your life.

Cost of Living

It is no secret that Charleston is one of the wealthiest cities in South Carolina and has an extremely pricey cost of living. Due to its beautiful location and the historical buildings and grounds that surround the peninsula, the price of homes in Charleston can be quite hefty. In addition, other living expenses can add up as well, especially Downtown. 

Of course, housing prices change with the current housing market, but Charleston homes have always been and will always be a pricier selection. This is because of the high-end areas of Charleston, the location of the coast, and the historical background of Charleston. While living in Charleston, SC sounds good in theory, it is a lifestyle many cannot afford.

 Taxes in Charleston are also quite high which can make simple purchases more expensive than you expect. Charleston county has a current sales tax of 9%, hospitality tax of 2%, and tour tax of $0.50 on each ticket of admission as of 2023. Before you decide to move to Charleston, SC, consider your own cost of living. You can calculate your estimated cost of living for Charleston here.

Weather and Natural Disasters

Natural disaster in Charleston, SC

As with any area in the South, Charleston, SC is a hot area for the majority of the year. Temperatures average above the 90s every day during the summer and this heat will carry through about mid-November and rev back up again starting as early as February. To make matters worse, the humidity in Charleston can be unbearable at times. Living on the coast makes the air thick and humid causing the temperature to feel hotter than it already is.

Not only does this hot weather feel bad but it can cause some major hair problems. If you have someplace nice to go or are going to work, showing up to places dripping sweat is an issue. 

There are also a lot of natural disasters that impact Charleston every year. Whether you’re a resident or visitor in Charleston, SC, it’s important to be aware of the risks and prepare for the possibility of a natural disaster. Given the city’s history with hurricanes and other major weather events, residents and visitors should be prepared for anything. 

Social and Safety Issues

While the majority of people living in Charleston are very welcoming, there are some underlying prejudices to be found in the city. Over recent years there have been multiple shootings and violent crimes in Charleston. Many of these impacted the Black community of Charleston and continue to today. The city was once a capital of slavery and those social constructs still underlie the city today.

Charleston, SC also has a high population of homeless and unemployed, which could connect to the high crime rate of the city. Charleston has an increased police presence as well which creates some mixed feelings among the residents. Whether it’s the social constructs or crime that scare you, safety is a concern with living in any city. 

If you are thinking of moving to Charleston, SC, be sure to keep your safety in mind. This historic city is known for its lush gardens and beautiful architecture, but it’s also a busy city with plenty of dangerous areas. Make sure to stay aware of your surroundings and never wander off alone. Don’t walk around at night alone, for example, and avoid areas where there have been recent crimes or suspicious activity.

Traffic Problems

Cars in traffic

As with any city, traffic is a huge issue in Charleston, SC. The busy streets cause build-up easily as well as frequent crashes. This is partially due to the business of the city itself and the narrow streets of downtown.

Parallel parking can be found on the side of the main streets, making them even harder to drive down. There are many one-way roads downtown, which confuses drivers who are not used to these sorts of roads or the city itself.

Another issue of living with the traffic in Charleston, SC is pedestrian traffic and distracted drivers. Due to the location of the College of Charleston as well as hotels, apartments, and homes downtown, and a large number of tourists, there is a lot of pedestrian traffic. You will often find pedestrians and drivers on their phones while walking or driving. You will also notice that many pedestrians jay-walk and drivers don’t follow the traffic rules all of the time either, especially on busy streets like King Street. 

Construction and Expansion Issues

Almost any street you go to in Charleston will have regular construction happening. This is due to the influx of people moving to Charleston, SC for school or a living. There is construction at the College of Charleston, on King Street, down many side streets, at the Battery, and in many other main parts of Charleston. 

This construction is not only loud and annoying to residents and visitors, but it can impact traffic. Many construction sites have to close roads or redirect traffic to be able to bring in materials or use more space. This construction can also make it harder to enjoy the scenic views and sounds of Charleston by obstructing buildings and having loud drilling and such throughout the day.

Because Charleston is a peninsula, there is little room to expand. There is nearly no more room to build outwards on the peninsula. This is forcing people to start constructing buildings that are taller, which is also an issue. There are laws in Charleston that prevent buildings from building up to a certain height because of danger and preserve historical buildings and areas.

Another issue with expanding in Charleston, SC is the fact that many of the buildings and areas of Charleston are historic and protected by the city. This means that many of these buildings cannot be knocked down or reconstructed to preserve their history. Known as the “Holy City” many of these buildings include churches, but the attraction of these sites is dying so many sit empty and unattended to. This is problematic because it prevents the construction of new homes and businesses. 

Entertainment in Charleston, SC

Nightlife in Charleston, SC

While there is much to do in Charleston, SC, these options for entertainment aren’t for everyone. Charleston can be quite a pricey city and if you don’t have the proper income, you will find it hard to participate.

The city offers residents many restaurants, nightclubs, bars, and what seems like endless shopping. These are some of the many things that families with small children, college students, or regular-income people may not be able to participate in. Whether it’s because of your age, the prices, or your ability to take time to enjoy these things, Charleston is quite exclusive to the older, richer crowd. 

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Although Charleston, SC is a beautiful city that many call home, it is important to consider both the pros and the cons when moving anywhere. Many people that move to Charleston decide to move because of the warm weather, the short distance from the beach, city life, history, etc. The issue is that many let these attributes cloud their vision and judgment. It is hard not to immediately fall in love with the city at first glance, but don’t forget that living in Charleston is much different than vacationing in Charleston.

Living in Charleston, SC comes with safety concerns, traffic issues, high cost of living and taxes, unpredictable weather coupled with heat and humidity, entertainment exclusivity, and many other issues to consider. The best advice is to do your research and visit the different areas of Charleston thoroughly before deciding to move. Don’t let the city’s beauty deceive you and consider the cons just as much as the pros of Charleston, SC. 

Reese Ledford comes from Fort Mill, South Carolina, right outside Charlotte, North Carolina. She is currently studying English and Political Science at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, South Carolina. In her free time, she loves to travel, draw, write, exercise, and spend time with friends and family.