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How To Know If You’ll Regret Moving to South Carolina

According to The Economics Times, South Carolina was the most popular state to move to in 2023.  While many factors make this Southern state a desirable place to live, work, and play, it’s not the right fit for everyone. 

In fact, South Carolina was named one of the worst states to live in in 2023

If you’ve been thinking about relocating to the Palmetto State, it’s natural to wonder whether you’d regret moving to South Carolina.

In this guide, we’ll take a closer look at the allures that draw many people to South Carolina over similar places like California.  

We’ll also identify which factors typically come into play if you’re thinking of moving to a new place. 

Finally, we’ll assess aspects of South Carolina that could lead to second-guessing or feelings of regret about moving there. The ultimate goal? To help you enjoy peace of mind when making the monumental decision about where to call home. 

What Makes South Carolina a Great Place to Live? 

Located in the warm and sunny Southeast, South Carolina boasts a beautiful blend of historical Southern charm, natural beauty, rich culture, and picturesque landscapes. It also offers a breadth and depth of things to see and do. 

Here are a few of South Carolina’s top selling points: 

A Warm and Sunny Climate

South Carolina is known for its temperate weather, comprising mild winters and hot, sunny summers. This makes it an ideal year-round destination for exploring the state’s pristine beach, stunning coastline, and lush forests. 

If you enjoy participating in outdoor activities, you’ll find plenty to do—and perfect weather to do it—in South Carolina in the spring, summer, fall, and winter. 

A Rich Heritage and Culture

One of the original American colonies, South Carolina’s strong heritage is deeply embedded in its modern-day look and feel. 

Cities like Charleston played significant roles in the Civil War and other historical events, while places like Beaufort and Georgetown boast antebellum architecture reflecting South Carolina’s history and cultural identity. 

While South Carolina is very much a Southern state, it’s also home to a surprising amount of cultural diversity, with Upcountry and Low Country areas offering very different experiences. From the folksy Blue Ridge Mountains to sleepy Piedmont with its small-town feel to bustling Myrtle Beach, there’s truly something for everyone in South Carolina. 

Southern Charm

Known for its friendly people, strong sense of community, and slower pace, South Carolina is the embodiment of Southern charm. 

A Positive Economic Outlook

South Carolina is currently ranked 9th among US states for its economic performance, which is a major draw for people relocating from other states. Its many booming industries include manufacturing, tourism, and agriculture, while a growing technology sector—particularly in cities like Charleston and Greenville—is attracting the next generation of South Carolinians. 

An Affordable Cost of Living

South Carolina's living cost is significantly lower than the national average. Groceries, housing, transportation, and other factors are more affordable in South Carolina than in other parts of the country. 

For example, the median home cost in South Carolina is $259,900 compared to the national average of $338,100. 

Overall, this makes it a smart option for individuals and families looking to enjoy a high quality of living for less. 

Extraordinary Natural Beauty

Nature enthusiasts will revel in the state’s diverse ecosystems, parks, reserves, and wildlife sanctuaries. 

Whether exploring Congaree National Park via kayak or hiking Table Rock State Park’s rugged yet rewarding trails, residents find ample opportunities to connect with nature while leading active lifestyles. 

Key Considerations When Evaluating Places to Live

Despite its many charms, South Carolina isn’t a perfect fit for everyone. Like all cities and towns, the state’s desirability hinges on your unique goals, preferences, and lifestyle. That’s why it’s so important to do your research when contemplating whether—and where—to move. 

Here are some things to think about when planning a potential move. 

Your Goals and Priorities

Before delving into potential locations, spend some time thinking about and prioritizing what matters most to you. What may be a huge deal for you may mean very little to someone else. Defining your priorities creates a roadmap in the decision-making process.

Career Opportunities

Career opportunities can make or break whether a city or town is right for you. When researching prospective homes, look for cities and regions with industries relevant to your profession as well as a strong job market in your field. 

Factors such as job growth, unemployment rates, and overall economic outlook are also important. 

Cost of Living

A lower cost of living enables you to spend less money while saving more of your income. It also means you’ll have access to more expensive things than you would if you lived somewhere with a higher cost of living. 

This doesn’t mean it’s automatically better to live somewhere with a lower cost of living. In fact, some of the world’s most desirable cities have high costs of living. However, it’s important to consider the financial feasibility of living somewhere with a high cost of living. 

Additionally, keep in mind that a higher salary can offset a higher cost of living.

Quality of Life

Factors such as healthcare, education, public services, and safety are all determinants to quality of life. Online resources and community reviews can provide insights into a state’s livability, although there’s no substitute for visiting places and experiencing them first-hand to gauge if they align with your lifestyle and preferences.

Climate and Environment

Climate plays a crucial role in day-to-day satisfaction. Some people prefer a year-round warmer climate while others enjoy four distinct seasons. If you love to hike and ski, winter weather and proximity to the mountains may be a top priority for you whereas if you live for the summer months and love beautiful beaches, you’ll have different priorities across everything from weather to geographical features. 

Cultural and Community

What’s the cultural scene like in a particular city or state, and what recreational opportunities exist there? The availability of museums, theaters, parks, and sports facilities typically indicates a vibrant and dynamic culture. 

Social dynamics are also critical. Attending local events, exploring a variety of neighborhoods, and interacting with locals can help you get a better sense of the community. 

Furthermore, if you have specific hobbies or interests, you’ll want to confirm that a prospective location offers or supports these activities. 

Educational Opportunities

Access to quality education can significantly impact your family's future success and well-being. 

If you have kids or are considering raising a family, education is crucial. Research the quality of the local public schools, availability of good colleges and universities, and additional educational resources in the area. 

Transportation and Commute

A strong transportation infrastructure connects people with the resources they need to live well. Proximity to public transportation, highways, and airports can directly impact your daily routine and overall convenience. 

Additionally, consider your tolerance for commuting. If you prefer to drive, is there a lot of traffic? If you prefer not to battle traffic every day, are there reliable public transportation options? 

Future Outlook

Urban planning initiatives, development projects, and community growth all speak to the long-term prospects of a particular location. Cities and towns with a positive trajectory may offer better opportunities for career advancement, property value appreciation, and an overall improved quality of life.

9 Reasons You Might Regret Moving to South Carolina

While South Carolina has many positive attributes, like all states, it also has its drawbacks. If you’re considering living in South Carolina, you should be aware of these potential downsides to help anticipate whether you might eventually regret moving to South Carolina. 

Here are some aspects of living in South Carolina that residents find challenging: 

9. Natural Disasters

South Carolina is very vulnerable to natural disasters, including hurricanes, tropical storms, and flooding. In fact, South Carolina has a staggering 86 percent chance of being hit by a tropical storm system every year. On average, the state sees around 11 tornadoes annually.

Coastal areas are particularly at risk, which requires residents to stay vigilant and prepared for weather-related disruptions and evacuations. Hurricane impacts can also cause property damage. 

8. High Crime Rates

With the fifth-highest property crime rate and the sixth-highest violent crime rate in the country, South Carolina ranks high on the list of high-crime states. 

While some spots like Myrtle Beach and Dillon are especially dangerous, this isn’t the case for all South Carolina destinations. Cities and towns like Fort Mill, Travelers Rest, Seneca, and Simpsonville, are considered very safe. 

The takeaway? If you’re concerned about safety and relocate to one of the state’s high-crime cities, you may regret moving to South Carolina. 

7. Extreme Weather

Earlier, we highlighted South Carolina’s vulnerability to natural disasters. In addition to being due to its Southern coastal location, this can also be attributed to its climate and weather—including extremely high heat and humidity in the summer. 

The eighth-hottest state in the nation, South Carolina’s subtropical climate can be extremely uncomfortable for many people. And while air conditioning can mitigate sweltering summer weather, it can also be expensive. 

South Carolina’s muggy climate also makes it home to an unappealing array of bugs, including 61 different mosquito species. And that’s not getting into the fire ants, spiders, chiggers, termites, and cockroaches. 

Because of its warm weather, abundant blooming trees, and long allergy season, allergy sufferers may also regret moving to South Carolina. In fact, both Greenville and Columbia are among the country’s worst cities for people with allergies

6. Economic Disparities

While South Carolina is home to some economically thriving areas, other regions face challenges like high poverty rates and limited economic opportunities.

5. Limited Public Transportation

Especially in more rural areas, South Carolina's public transportation options are limited. This means residents are forced to rely heavily on driving. If you enjoy taking advantage of public transportation, South Carolina may be a frustrating place for you to live. 

Lack of public transportation also adds to roadway congestion, especially during rush hour in urban areas like Charleston and Columbia. South Carolina may not be a good fit if you don’t enjoy sitting in traffic to get to work or around town. 

4. Political Climate

If you end up living in an area surrounded by people with different political ideologies, you may not feel at home. Like all states, South Carolina has a political climate that may or may not agree with you.

Historically, South Carolina has been known as a “red” state, and it appears to be growing even more conservative. As such, people with more liberal viewpoints may feel at odds with their neighbors and communities. 

This isn’t to say South Carolina isn’t welcoming to liberals. Some cities like Folly Beach, Columbia, Charleston, and Greenville are known for their liberal leanings

3. Family Unfriendliness

Southern states are known for their warm and welcoming ways. However, this isn’t necessarily the case for families. In fact, South Carolina earned a top 10 spot on WalletHub’s “worst states list.” 

Largely to blame for this issue? Educational system challenges, with many schools facing teacher shortages, struggling to meet national standards and suffering from disparities in educational outcomes. 

Concerns about the quality of education and limited access to good schools can lead to regret among parents who moved to South Carolina to give their kids the best possible educational opportunities.

2. Health and Access to Healthcare

Access to quality healthcare is a crucial consideration for individuals and families. Unfortunately, many people find South Carolina’s healthcare infrastructure lacking due to factors like limited access to specialized medical services, long wait times, and concerns about the overall quality of healthcare. 

Further proof that South Carolina’s healthcare system has more than its share of problems? The state’s abysmal 41st place ranking for overall health in the country. While this is a slight improvement from 42nd place five years ago, it’s too little too late for some residents. 

1.  Alligators

South Carolina is home to more than 100,000 alligators, some weighing as much as 1,000 pounds! Gators tend to keep to themselves, but they also like exploring the local beaches, lakes, marshes, and even golf courses. 

And while fatal alligator attacks are rare, they do happen—especially to people (and pets!) who accidentally walk too close to any body of fresh water where an alligator may be lurking. 

If you’re alligator-averse, be sure to steer clear of Lake Marion, known to be one of the state’s most alligator-infested bodies of water. 

Choosing where to live is a personal decision requiring careful consideration. While South Carolina’s low cost of living, friendly Southern hospitality, mild weather, natural beauty, and other upsides may make it an excellent place to live for many people, others may be less pleased with downsides ranging from high crime to extreme weather. 

The good news? If you end up disappointed and regret moving to South Carolina, there’s another state with everything you’re looking for. Practicing due diligence can help you find it. 

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Dana Hanson

Written by Dana Hanson

Dana has extensive professional writing experience including technical and report writing, informational articles, persuasive articles, contrast and comparison, grant applications, and advertisement. She also enjoys creative writing, content writing on nearly any topic (particularly business and lifestyle), because as a lifelong learner, she loves to do research and possess a high skill level in this area. Her academic degrees include AA social Sci/BA English/MEd Adult Ed & Community & Human Resource Development and ABD in PhD studies in Indust & Org Psychology.

Read more posts by Dana Hanson

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