Is Moving to South Carolina Right For You?

Is Moving to South Carolina Right For You?

Mossy trees in Charleston county, South Carolina

As far as gems of the east coast go, South Carolina could just be the cream of the crop. It is rich with state history and different types of beautiful scenery. With a welcome feeling in the warm climate, the Palmetto State is a land of many opportunities. Whether you are looking for calm beaches, famous Southern hospitality, or even affordable living spaces, South Carolina could very well be the next destination in your life’s journey. Are you wondering, “Should I move to South Carolina?” If not, you should be!

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To help you decide if moving to South Carolina is right for you, let’s begin with some Palmetto State basics. South Carolina is located on the southeast coast between North Carolina and Georgia with beaches on the Atlantic Ocean. South Carolina is known for its eye-capturing natural beauty and consistently warm climate.

A few of these natural and culturally significant locations include Charleston, the Congaree National Forest, or the Lincoln-established Beaufort Cemetery. There is nothing short of an excess of exciting new places to see and new things to do.

South Carolina is home to over 40 different counties, hundreds of industries, and countless unique cities and towns. This state offers a diverse set of options for anyone considering a move. The most popular counties in the state are Richland County, Greenville County, Charleston County, and Horry County. Each of these areas provides different opportunities that could just fit what you are looking for. The cost of living in South Carolina, specifically these counties, is affordable and ideal for anyone looking to settle down.

Here are just a few of the many residential areas South Carolina has to offer:

Richland County

Moving to Richland County, South Carolina

Richland County is one of the oldest municipalities in the United States. With a deep state and agricultural history rooted in the many Southern traditions of South Carolina, it offers a wide array of pros for anyone interested in moving. Home to a population hovering around 415,000 residents, this county boasts several bustling towns and cities to settle down in. None are more buzzing than Columbia, which is also the state capital of South Carolina.

The has city undergone an industrial turnover of its own in the last 50 years. It’s transformed from an old Southern town to an open hub for education and opportunity. The University of South Carolina is located in Columbia and is a major part of the Carolinian history and culture of the county.

Horseshoe quad on the University of South Carolina campus in Columbia, South Carolina.

Cost of Living in Richland County, South Carolina

One of the assets Columbia and Richland County has to offer is the affordability of average living expenses. In 2016, the average home in the Columbia area rents for around $950 a month, with the average selling cost of new and existing homes of $187,000. The area was also named one of the top 25 communities to retire to. There is also a wonderful culinary scene, the beautiful Lake Murray, and performance arts at the Colonial Life Arena. The West Columbia Airport is also located within the county, allowing for easy access for travel whenever you desire. The overall central location of Richland County within South Carolina’s geography is also appealing. It makes for easy driving access to many if not all of South Carolina’s major cities.

Greenville County

Moving to Greenville County, South Carolina

Greenville County is a budding area with plenty to offer to anyone interested in moving down south. Greenville County sits in the South Carolina upstate. Home to roughly 525,000 residents, it was founded in 1786 like Richland County and adds its own storied past to the state history. Also similar to Richland County, Greenville’s county seat city, Greenville, is the most popular city in the area. Greenville and the surrounding suburban areas have been consistently noted as one of the best areas on the east coast to live in.

Greenville is one of the most fun and interesting cities to visit in South Carolina! This is particularly due to its uniquely diverse set of things to do, see, eat, and experience. If you are an outdoors lover and an adventure junkie, you will feel right at home surrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains. There is also easy access to the 20 miles scenic Swamp Rabbit Trail, a hometown favorite. If you prefer to hang around downtown, the city of Greenville offers more than 300 events a year. There are tons of lively restaurants and sites to see in the historic city, as well. Greenville is a great starting point for anyone interested in moving to South Carolina.

Skyline over Greenville, South Carolina.
Skyline over Greenville, South Carolina

Cost of Living in Greenville County, South Carolina

Greenville County and the city of Greenville is also an affordable area to relocate to. It is recognized for having a large market for work across several different fields. The average cost of a home in Greenville County is around $45,000 less than the median cost of a home for the whole United States. There has been a recent uptick in pricing, but this was largely due to the improvement of the school districts in Greenville County.

Despite its small size, Greenville is home to a higher concentration of corporate headquarters than any other city within its region. Some of these corporations include Fortune 500 names, such as Lockheed, BMW, 3M, GE, and Michelin. With surpluses in tax revenue and steady investments in the city’s future, it is expected that Greenville will be able to accommodate even more growth in the future.

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Charleston County

Moving to Charleston County, South Carolina

Perhaps the most well-known county in the Palmetto State is Charleston County, home of the culturally significant Charleston. Located along the coast in the beloved South Carolina Lowcountry, Charleston County is home to some of the most breathtaking landscaping, architecture, and history any city and county in the country have to offer. Just over 400,00 people call Charleston and its surrounding suburbs home. Many of which are out-of-state transplants who were considering moving to South Carolina some time ago.

Founded before the eighteenth century, Charleston County boasts countless landmarks that have been there for centuries. Fort Sumter, Broad Street along the Battery, and the Citadel Military Academy are just a few of these. Charleston County is also home to Folly Beach, Sullivan’s Island, Isle of Palms, and several other beachside communities. These beaches are known throughout the U.S. as some of the most beautiful and serene surf-and-sun spots in the whole country.

Pineapple Fountain in Charleston, South Carolina.
Pineapple Fountain in Charleston, South Carolina.

On top of the physical landmarks, Charleston County is also known for its vibrant culture, culinary scene, and opportunities. With a welcoming air, just strolling the streets of Charleston is an experience on its own. The annual Charleston Food and Wine Festival highlights some of the world-famous cuisines the Holy City has to offer. This includes award-winning eateries such as Church and Union, Halls Chophouse, Magnolia’s, and Lewis BBQ.

In the middle of downtown Charleston is the College of Charleston, one of South Carolina’s premier education institutions. Founded in 1770, the College of Charleston is one of the oldest and most storied college campuses in the entire country and offers a wide range of liberal arts education opportunities. With a very large market for tourism and hospitality, Charleston and Charleston County offer seemingly limitless amounts of potential job offerings.

Cost of Living in Charleston County, South Carolina

While Charleston and its Charleston County suburbs have a lot to offer in the diversion sector, there is definitely a price increase in housing as compared to some of the other counties in the state. In a report released by Jeff Cook Real Estate, the average median home cost in Charleston is $380,000. This is 36.9% above the reported national average, and significantly higher than the state average of South Carolina. The average cost of utilities, healthcare, and transportation are higher as well, but Charleston County offers some of the better school and childcare options that the state has. Charleston County, with all it has to offer, is a great option to consider when thinking about moving to South Carolina.

Horry County

Moving to Horry County, South Carolina

A quieter settling option than the aforementioned counties would be Horry County, which is located along the northern coastline of South Carolina. Horry County offers different landscapes to choose from, whether you’d rather be in a calmer, more rural area like Conway, or the hustle-and-bustle of Myrtle Beach.

With just over 350,000 residents, Horry County offers many opportunities just like Charleston, Greenville, and Richland Counties. Myrtle Beach is one of the oldest and most well-known beach vacation spots on the east coast, and with more restaurants per capita than New York City and Paris, there is more than enough room to accommodate the growing residential population and the millions of tourists that flock there every year. There are tons of attractions and things to do in Myrtle Beach, all while enjoying the warm and mild climate.

Just a few miles away from Myrtle Beach is Conway, the county seat of Horry County. A much smaller community of 23,800 residents, Conway is a calmer town that offers a great space for families looking to settle down. Unlike Myrtle Beach, Conway is not a tourist hub, and instead provides a much slower pace for families raising children. Located in Conway there is a Main Street with plenty of restaurants, entertainment events, and options of Horry County public schools or private and charter schools.

Main Street in downtown Conway, South Carolina.
Main Street in downtown Conway, South Carolina.

Cost of Living in Horry County, South Carolina

Conway also offers several amenities tailored towards families with children. At the Wacatee Zoo, you can find wildcats and reptiles galore! The Horry County Museum is a natural and societal history of Horry County, perfect for kids. Additionally, Coastal Carolina University is located in Conway and provides a unique and lively blend of students to boost the local economy. Data suggests that the average cost of a home in Conway is significantly lower than the national average. But, the average income of the household in Conway/Horry County is above the national average.

Final Thoughts About Moving to South Carolina

Although there are many positives about moving to South Carolina, there are also important negative things to consider as well. The biggest concern many people have about the Palmetto State is its public education system. Although there is room for concern, the state legislature is taking strides to provide the resources necessary to improve education across the state. Additionally, new charter schools are being introduced to provide opportunities to children all over South Carolina. Some people raise concerns about the cost of living in the most popular areas like Charleston and Greenville. While the averages may reflect a high price, there are plenty of rent-based living opportunities in all these cities and counties.

In all, South Carolina offers any potential mover many options for deciding where to lay your roots. Whether you value the cost of living, education, work, or fun, there is no shortage of places to settle down. Between the bustling hub of Charleston County, the tall buildings of Greenville County, the historical towns of Richland County, and the calm beaches of Horry County, there is no doubt that South Carolina is a wonderful place to live.

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