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Cost of Living in South Carolina, 2023

December 15, 2022
Thinking about moving to the Palmetto State? Find out more about the cost of living in South Carolina, from housing, food, transportation, and more!

South Carolina is a great state with lots to offer. One of the many incredible draws to this state is that it has one of the lowest crime rates in the country. Whether you are interested in the stunning beauty, warm and relaxed atmosphere, or a combination of both, there are plenty of things to enjoy in South Carolina.

Those who enjoy great weather or consider themselves outdoor enthusiasts will feel right at home in South Carolina, as the state has unbeatable scenic landscapes, ranging from upstate mountains to sandy beach coastlines.

Although South Carolina has become such a popular place to live, living costs remain lower than the nation’s average. Thankfully, you can easily find something within your budget by taking a closer look at the cost of living in South Carolina. The good news is, we’ve already done all the research, so you don’t have to. Start by checking out this apartment guide, then keep scrolling for all the details on building out your new budget in South Carolina.

South Carolina Housing Costs

Regardless of where you choose to call home, housing costs (rent or mortgages) are going to be one of your highest living expenses. You’ll want to build a budget around your anticipated housing costs to get an idea of just how high they can be.

The cost of living in South Carolina is lower than the national average. With that in mind, you’ll still want to get an idea of what areas might be within your budget. For a more detailed breakdown, here is a list of average rent prices in the five most popular South Carolina cities, including Spartanburg, Myrtle Beach, Greenville, Charleston, and Columbia.

CityAverage 1-Bedroom RentAverage 2-Bedroom Rent
Spartanburg, SC$934$1,048
Myrtle Beach, SC$1,107$1,358
Greenville, SC$1,098$1,297
Charleston, SC$1,481$1,690
Columbia, SC$1,106$1,304

Though South Carolina’s rent prices are relatively affordable, you can still find considerable savings by renting with a roommate. For example, if you rent in Charleston and split the two-bedroom apartment costs, you can save approximately $740.50 per month, which adds up to $8,886 in savings over a 12-month lease!

South Carolina has rental properties in all forms, from high-rise modern apartments to single-family, historic homes. Needless to say, there’s something to fit every renter’s taste in South Carolina.

Finding the Best South Carolina Apartment for You

If you're uncertain about a neighborhood, consider a month-to-month apartment before making a long-term 12-month commitment. If it's your first time renting or if you don't have a high credit score, consider no credit check apartments. Lastly, if you prefer to rent from the owner of an apartment and have a more personal relationship with them rather than property managers, consider a for rent by owner apartment.

South Carolina Transportation

Getting around in South Carolina can be costly, with average annual transportation costs of $5,509 for a single individual, according to the MIT Living Wage Calculator. If you’re a family of four with two working adults and two children, you can anticipate paying around $15,012 in transportation costs on an annual basis.

South Carolina has a multitude of public transportation options, including:

  • Statewide Buses
  • Coastal Buses
  • Midlands Buses
  • Pee Dee Buses
  • Upstate and Piedmont Buses

While public transportation is one option, having reliable private transportation is easier. You can get a better idea of the costs associated with having your vehicle by looking at the average gas prices in the major cities in South Carolina:

Considering the national average is currently $4.40 per gallon of regular gas, South Carolina’s gasoline costs are considerably low.

Boardwalk in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

South Carolina Food Costs

The average single South Carolina resident spends around $3,351 annually on food, roughly $279.25 per month. For a family of four with two working adults and two children, these costs nearly triple to $9,856 annually, approximately $821.33 per month.

Note that these figures are associated with food picked up at the local BI-LO, Food Lion, Harris Teeter, or Piggly Wiggly and entirely prepared in the home. If you are anything short of a mastermind in the kitchen, you may also want to budget for additional food costs as well.

With so many delicious restaurants and iconic South Carolina foods, it’s hard to resist a few meals outside of your kitchen. Don’t forget to account for eating out in your budget, including trying out the famous boiled peanuts, pimento cheese, BBQ, collards, and sweet tea.

To get a better idea of how to budget, here’s a look at some of the average costs for a three-course meal for two people in a mid-range restaurant across South Carolina:

South Carolina Healthcare Costs

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle should always be a top priority, regardless of where you choose to live. Whether you only see your doctor for regular checkups or suffer from chronic illnesses, having proper health insurance is essential. In emergencies, having good medical coverage can also be beneficial to ensure you can afford any treatments necessary.

A single adult without children will pay around $2,957 for medical care in a single year, while a family of four with two working adults and two children can expect to pay $9,278, not including child care. To cover these two children, child care can add on an average of $11,201 per year.

See what coverage is available in your new state before making your big move by checking out the federal healthcare marketplace. If you need to relocate outside of an enrollment period, which usually falls in November, you can report your move to ensure you qualify for out-of-state coverage.

It is possible to stay on your parent’s policy if you’re moving out of state, as long as you are under 26 years old. Before moving, check with your current provider to see which doctors fall in the network in your new location to be sure.

South Carolina Utilities

Depending on the city you move to, average utility bills can vary. Considering the national average cost of utilities is $240 monthly, South Carolina is reasonable. Only Charleston is slightly above average. The average cost of monthly utilities, including electricity, heating, cooling, water, and garbage for a 915-square-foot apartment, is broken down by the major cities in South Carolina:

Learn more about the estimated utility costs per city!

Remember that these average costs do not include other expenses, such as internet. The average monthly costs of internet of 60 Mbps or more, unlimited data, or cable/ADSL in these major cities are:

You may also want to account for your monthly cell phone bill, which could cost around $94 per month according to the national average. You might be able to bundle your cell phone with your internet provider to help save on some of these costs. Other discounts may include specials for new customers, so don’t be afraid to ask your provider about these and more.

South Carolina Fitness and Entertainment

There is no shortage of fitness and entertainment opportunities in South Carolina. Before moving to South Carolina, take a look at this breakdown of fitness and entertainment costs.

Fitness

While winters are relatively mild in South Carolina, summers are hot and humid. This humid climate can make outdoor exercise challenging in the summertime. To maintain your fitness year-round, you might want to consider a gym membership.

Thankfully, the average cost of a monthly fitness club membership in South Carolina’s major cities is relatively low:

South Carolina has several outdoor activities that can help you save on costs when weather permits, including walking, hiking, sailing, etc. But, if you plan to be outdoors year-round, remember that you’ll have to adjust your wardrobe accordingly, which will also come at an additional cost.

National and State Parks

South Carolina is home to eight national parks, including:

  • Charles Pinckney National Historic Site
  • Congaree National Park
  • Cowpens National Battlefield
  • Fort Sumter and Fort Moultrie National Historical Park
  • Kings Mountain National Military Park
  • Ninety Six National Historic Site
  • Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail
  • Reconstruction Era National Historical Park

In addition to the wide range of national parks, South Carolina also has 47 state parks work check out.

Columbia Museum of Art in Columbia

Museums

You’ll find countless museums in South Carolina, great for year-round family entertainment. Some of the most famous museums in the state include:

  • Children’s Museum of the Upstate in Greenville
  • South Carolina Railroad Museum in Winnsboro
  • Coastal Discovery Museum on Hilton Head Island
  • BMW Zentrum Museum in Greenville
  • Anderson County Museum in Anderson
  • Columbia Museum of Art in Columbia

Other Expenses to Consider in South Carolina

South Carolina is a great place to live, though it’s important to note that here there is a progressive state income tax. Additionally, note that the state sales taxes also rank in the top 20 highest in the country at 6%, with most counties imposing an additional local sales tax on top of that.

Big moves from out of state come with other expenses to consider, including things like movers, storage, hotels, and transportation. There will also be additional fees such as apartment application fees, security deposits, pet deposits, and other optional add-ons once you get to your new home.

Furnishing your new home will also come at an expense. Since you’ll want to do some decorating to make it feel like a home, you’ll have to account for this spending in your budget. Check out a few tips on how to decorate your apartment on a budget to avoid overspending in this area of your move.

What Salary Do I Need to Live in South Carolina?

Your recommended salary in South Carolina will depend on the type of lifestyle you plan to lead. You can look at a few different options to figure out an ideal salary.

Living Wage

The average income in South Carolina is is $17.47 an hour, which is the basic wage needed to pay for essentials, such as housing, food, and necessities for an individual adult.

Median Household Income

The median household income in South Carolina $58,234 a year, which is around $29.12 an hour. The average household income in the rest of the country is $69,021.

The 30% Rule

Another rule to determine your recommended salary in South Carolina is the 30% rule. According to the 30% rule, you should not spend more than one-third of your gross income on rent.

For example, if you’re planning to rent in Charleston, the median rent for a one-bedroom is $1,481. According to the 30% rule, your monthly wages should be at least $4,936.37. a month or an annual salary of $59,240.

Final Thoughts

If you want to move to a beautiful state with a fantastic quality of life, South Carolina might be the state for you. Register with Apartment List today and start checking out the thousands of available apartments to rent in South Carolina!

FAQs: Cost of Living in South Carolina in 2023

How expensive is an apartment in South Carolina?

A one-bedroom apartment in South Carolina costs $941 in Spartanburg and a two-bedroom apartment in Spartanburg costs $1,272.

A one-bedroom apartment in South Carolina costs $1,107 in Myrtle Beach and a two-bedroom apartment costs $1,358.

A one-bedroom in South Carolina costs $1,098 in Greenville and a two-bedroom costs $1,297.

A one-bedroom in South Carolina costs $1,481 in Charleston and a two-bedroom costs $1,690.

A one-bedroom in South Carolina costs $1,106 in Columbia and a two-bedroom costs $1,304.

What is the cheapest rent in South Carolina?

The cheapest rent in South Carolina is a one-bedroom apartment, with an average rent of $941 in Spartanburg.

How expensive is it to live in South Carolina?

In South Carolina, rent averages $941 per month for a one-bedroom apartment in Spartanburg. Monthly food costs run $279.25 per month for an individual or $821.33 for a family of four. A three-course meal for two people in Spartanburg costs $35. In Charleston, a mid-range meal for two costs $70.

How far is South Carolina from Georgia?

South Carolina to Georgia is 183.9 miles and takes about 3 hours and 14-minutes to drive. It takes about an hour to fly from South Carolina to Georgia.

How far is South Carolina from North Carolina?

It takes 202.6 miles to drive from South Carolina to Georgia and takes about 3 hours and 46 minutes. Flying from South Carolina to North Carolina takes about 45-minutes.

How far is South Carolina from Florida?

The distance between South Carolina and Florida is 497.7 miles and takes 7 hours and 42 minutes to drive. A flight will take about an hour and twenty minutes.

What is the population of South Carolina?

According to the US Census Bureau, there are 5,190,705 people living in South Carolina. The population of Columbia is 133,273.

What is a good salary in South Carolina?

To comfortably live in a one-bedroom apartment in South Carolina, you should earn at least $37,640 a year to live in Spartanburg. To comfortably live in a one-bedroom apartment in South Carolina, you should earn at least $45,000 a year to live in Myrtle Beach. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the median household income in South Carolina is $58,234.

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Emily Kho
EMILY KHO
Emily is a professionally trained writer who covers a wide range of topics associated with the rental market and real estate industry. With over a decade of professional writing experience, Emily comes from a strong background in the field backed with a Bachelor of Science from the world-renowned William F. Read More
Tristian Brown
SENIOR CONTENT ASSOCIATE
Tristian Brown is a Senior Content Marketing Associate at Apartment List, where he manages high-quality content that helps modern renters find the perfect home. He brings an immense wealth of knowledge to the team, having earned a Bachelor of Arts in Marketing and European Management from the University of San Diego and EM Strasbourg Business School. Read More
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