Why You’ll Love the Cost of Living in South Carolina

Choosing to live in South Carolina may be one of the best decisions you’ll ever make and not just because of the warmth of the climate and the people. 

There’s another important reason.

The cost of living in South Carolina is easy on your budget.

The cost of living is 11.5 % cheaper than other states according to the data from Sperling’s Best Places.

What determines a state’s cost of living rating?

The costs of housing, groceries, utilities, health, and transportation are key to calculating the cost-of-living index for each state. 

Information about the “living wage” and job opportunities are important factors too. 

Let’s take a closer look at basic living costs, wages, and job opportunities in South Carolina, beginning with this chart that rates where South Carolina stands in relation to other states.  All the numbers are percentages of 100. 

Cost of Living in South Carolina

These cost-of-living indices from Sperling’s Best Places data are based on a US average of 100. An amount below 100 means South Carolina is cheaper than the US average. A cost-of-living index above 100 means South Carolina is more expensive.

Compared to the national average, one dollar in South Carolina is worth $1.11 – eleven cents more than elsewhere in the US. 

South Carolina cost of living is 88.5%

COST OF LIVINGSouth CarolinaUnited States
  Median Home Cost$170,100$231,200

What do these amounts mean for you day-to-day?

A breakdown of costs from the chart:

Groceries: (January 2021) Loaf of 12 grain wheat bread $3.24, Gallon of milk $3.59, dozen eggs $1.54, pound of regular ground beef $2.88, fresh boneless skinless chicken breasts $3.48 pound. Fruit and vegetable prices fluctuate in season. Local produce is available year-round.

Housing: Homes in South Carolina are fairly affordable. According to Neighborhood Scout, the median home value in the state is just $170,100 placing it about 26% lower than the national average.

Statewide, the median home value is nearly $61,100 below the national average.  

  1. S.C. average cost of Utilities:
  • Average electric bill: $145
  • Average water bill: $32
  • Average sewer bill: $37
  • Average gas bill: $100

Individual cities or towns in South Carolina may rank slightly lower or higher than this chart. For example, the Beaufort SC cost of living is -7.4% lower than the National Average. (salary.com)


Transportation: The average transportation costs in South Carolina for drivers and public transit are between $1,280 and $1,850 per year not including car insurance. 

Gas prices in South Carolina are usually some of the lowest in the country.

Miscellaneous costs: These costs generally include entertainment, meals out, alcohol, clothing, repairs, and other services. Such costs are 4.4% lower than the national average but will vary among families.

Taxes are lower in South Carolina:

South Carolina is in the top 10 lowest taxed states, so living here offers lower real estate taxes, sales tax, and personal income tax. 

  • Gas taxes are low, which means the costs of transportation are the lowest in the US.
  • Property taxes are among the lowest in the country.
  • South Carolina has a state income tax with some excellent tax deductions for resident retirees. The highest income tax rate in South Carolina is 7%. Retired persons under 65 can deduct up to $3,000 in retirement income from their state income tax bills.

Consider, too, that the cost of living is not generally as high in South Carolina small towns like Beaufort, so groceries, entertainment venues, housewares, and restaurants cost less than in many other states.

Real estate statistics from 2020 are positive. Most cities set records for sales.

A popular real estate choice for the newly retired is a traditional neighborhood community like Celadon where new homes with beautiful Lowcountry architecture are set in an environment focused on health and well-being. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it expensive to live in South Carolina?

According to the statistics listed above it is 11.5% less expensive to live in South Carolina than in about half of all the other states in the US.

The Economic Policy Institute indicates that the annual cost of living for a single person without any children averages to $2,332 monthly in South Carolina; if you have a spouse and two children, then the relevant figure becomes $4,748 per month.

What should I know before moving to South Carolina?

Other than recognizing that your life is about to change in many positive ways (recreation, climate, food, and southern hospitality) you should draw up a budget to determine what your expenses will be. Take a look at the job market so you’ll know where to look for work, and what your interests are.

What jobs are in demand in South Carolina?

If you are still working, there are plenty of opportunities across many business sectors throughout South Carolina. The state unemployment rate is about 3.8% and seems to be on the way down even further. Job growth has been on the rise over the past 10 years, thanks to a great variety of large and small companies who make their home in the state. 

Opportunities for the “almost-retired” professional who offers consulting or similar services from home or a community-based office are unlimited. 

How much does it cost to retire in South Carolina?

South Carolina is tax-friendly toward retirees. Social Security income is not taxed. Wages are taxed at normal rates, and your marginal state tax rate is 5.90%. 

Public and private pension income are only partially taxed.

Calculate your cost of living, your desired lifestyle, and your retirement income to determine your personal retirement costs in South Carolina.

Come for a visit and discover the charm of Beaufort and Celadon.

If you are considering a move to South Carolina we’ve made it easy for you to spend a few days in Beaufort South Carolina the Southeast’s most desirable coastal town.

Take a look at our Discovery Visit offer.

Two nights in your choice of three beautiful inns and three days to explore Beaufort and Celadon.

Let us show you how our thoughtfully planned community helps our residents get the most out of life.