What’s the cost of living in South Carolina?

1 min readLast updated June 27, 2023by Rachel Carey

Wondering about the cost of living in South Carolina? This article summarizes everything you need to know, from tax rates to healthcare costs.

When considering a move to a new state, understanding the cost of living is vital for effective budgeting and financial planning. If South Carolina is at the top of your list, here are some current statistics related to the cost of living in the state that could help you make up your mind.    

The average cost of living in South Carolina 

South Carolina is home to just over 5 million people.  

According to research, the cost of living in South Carolina is 5% lower than the national average. 

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

Housing costs 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. 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

The average price of rental apartments nationwide is $1,702. The average apartment rent in Charleston is $1938. 

Utility costs in South Carolina 

Utility costs play a significant role in South Carolina's overall cost of living. According to Forbes, the average monthly cost is around $453.

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

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.   

Transportation costs in South Carolina 

Transportation costs, including gas prices and vehicle maintenance, impact South Carolina's overall cost of living.  

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.  

Healthcare costs 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. Therefore, it is advisable to research and consult with healthcare providers and insurance companies to obtain accurate cost estimates. 

MIT 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

Childcare costs 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.  

Taxation in South Carolina 

South Carolina’s state income tax rate ranges between 0% and 7% 

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%

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. 

The bottom line 

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. In addition, consulting with a financial advisor can provide valuable insights and assistance in managing expenses and financial planning. 

Whether you’re retirement planning or considering relocating to chase a new career, Unbiased can assist you with your move's financial ins and outs. Find the right advisor for your needs today. 

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.