What is the cost of living in South Carolina?

1 min readLast updated November 15, 2023by Rachel Carey

From housing and healthcare to childcare, groceries, and utilities, we cover everything you need to know about the cost of living in South Carolina.


  • The cost of living in South Carolina is 5% below the national average.

  • The average monthly cost for utilities is approximately $453.

  • Food and grocery costs are comparable to the rest of the US.

  • Healthcare costs depend on individual circumstances and insurance coverage.

What is the average cost of living in South Carolina?

Knowing what the average cost of living is in South Carolina is only the beginning. While this can be helpful in giving you a broad idea, it’s important to see how this plays out in terms of taxes, housing, healthcare, and other aspects of life.

We’ll touch on those topics in a moment. According to research, the average cost of living in South Carolina is 5% lower than the national average. The state is home to just over 5 million people. 

Data gathered in 2022 from MERIC, the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center, indicates that the state ranks 20th in a list of states with the lowest to the highest cost of living.

How much will I pay in taxes in South Carolina?

South Carolina’s state income tax rate ranges between 0% and 7%. The sales tax rate in South Carolina is currently 6%.

However, it's important to note that additional local sales taxes may be imposed by municipalities and counties, which can vary within the state. These local sales taxes are added on top of the state sales tax rate. Check out the complete guide to taxes in South Carolina here.

Here's a comparison of income tax rates among some neighboring states: 

StateIncome Tax Rate Range
South Carolina 0% - 7%
North Carolina 5.25% - 5.499%
Georgia 1% - 5.75%
Tennessee No state income tax
Alabama 2% - 5%

How much does housing cost in South Carolina?

As of March 2023, the average home value in South Carolina is estimated to be around $273,977, according to the Zillow Home Value Index as of March 2023. 

It’s important to note that housing prices can significantly differ across various regions within the state. The average price of rental apartments nationwide is $1,702. The average apartment rent in Charleston is $1938.

In addition, understanding these costs in relation to the average salary in South Carolina is crucial for budgeting that takes into account the reality of the cost of living in South Carolina.

Here are some examples of typical home prices based on Zillow's data:

CityAverage Home Value
Columbia $216,536
Charleston $502 776
North Charleston $283,499
Mount Pleasant $725,549
Rock Hill $296,975

How can I manage the cost of living in South Carolina?

The average cost of living in South Carolina is only an average. What the cost of living will be for you depends on your situation and your preferences.

If you need to manage the cost of living carefully in order to live where you want to live in this beautiful state, there are a few hints and tips you can follow. These include negotiating for a higher salary or looking for a job that offers better remuneration, making adjustments to your standard of living, moving to a more affordable zip code, and finding a part-time/remote job or other additional income source.

Speak to a financial advisor who can help you create a bespoke financial plan that helps you budget and save effectively. Let us match you with an SEC-regulated financial advisor.

What is the average cost of utilities in South Carolina?

Utility costs play a significant role in the overall cost of living in South Carolina. According to Forbes, the average monthly cost is around $453. These costs include utilities such as the energy bill, monthly water bill, internet, natural gas, phone bill, and streaming.

UtilityAverage cost in South Carolina
Energy bill $138.65
Monthly water bill $33
Internet $25
Natural gas $96
Phone bill $114
Streaming $46.75

What are the average grocery and food costs in South Carolina?

When it comes to groceries and food costs, South Carolina generally aligns with prices found elsewhere in the United States. According to Zippia, those in Charleston pay $411 on average each month. This is the 7th highest in the country. 

According to 2021 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average spending on food at home is $5,259 annually, or about $438 per month for US households.

What are the average transportation costs in South Carolina?

South Carolina is the 40th largest state in the US. The area of 32,030 square miles (82,933 square kilometers) makes easy access to transport, such as your own vehicle, an essential. Transportation costs, including gas prices and vehicle maintenance, impact the average cost of living in South Carolina.

According to MIT, a single adult with no children can expect to pay upwards of $5,400. Gas prices in South Carolina are typically in and around the national average. South Carolina was below the national average at the time of writing. These prices fluctuate over time.  

It is also worth noting that prices can vary across different regions within the state. 

How much does healthcare cost in South Carolina?

Understanding healthcare expenses is crucial when considering the cost of living. The specific healthcare costs in South Carolina can vary depending on factors such as insurance coverage and individual circumstances.

Do some research and consult with healthcare providers and insurance companies to obtain accurate cost estimates when working out how living costs could impact you. Check out the average cost of health insurance in the US here.

Take a look at MIT healthcare cost estimates: 

ScenarioAnnual healthcare expenditure
One adult, no children $3,041
One adult, one child $7,777
One adult, two children $7,787
Two adults (one working), no children $6,350
Two adults (one working), one child $7,787
Two adults (one working), two children $7,713
Two adults (two working), no children $6,350
Two adults (two working), one child $7,787
Two adults (two working), two children $7,713

What is the average childcare cost in South Carolina?

Families in South Carolina currently pay around $6,053 per year for childcare for one child. This figure doubles for two children.  

However, it's important to note that this figure can vary across the state, depending on location, type of childcare, and other factors.

How much does it cost to live in South Carolina?

The amount of money needed to live comfortably in South Carolina can vary depending on location, lifestyle, family size, and personal preferences. However, as the most expensive state in the US, you may need more than you first think.

It's essential to consider these factors, along with personal circumstances and preferences, when evaluating the cost of living in South Carolina. Learn more about the cost of living and how to manage it at Unbiased.

Let us match you with a financial advisor who understands your needs and can offer expert financial advice to help you navigate your options.

Senior Content Writer

Rachel Carey

Rachel is a Senior Content Writer at Unbiased. She has nearly a decade of experience writing and producing content across a range of different sectors.