Best counties to live in South Carolina

Written by:
June 17, 2021
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Best counties to live in South Carolina

What makes a particular county the best? Oftentimes, it's a good mix of opportunities for fun outdoor activities and cultural attractions. Throw in some historical sites, good schools, job opportunities, and affordable housing, and the county will most likely have happy residents.

Stacker compiled a list of the best counties to live in South Carolina using rankings from Niche. Niche ranks counties by a variety of factors including: public schools, educational attainment, cost of living, and housing.

Many counties on the list are experiencing growth due to their job opportunities, education, or home values. Others are adored for their historic or well-designed value, or devotion to cultural opportunities. Keep reading to see if your county made the list.

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Bill Fitzpatrick // Wikimedia Commons

#25. Calhoun County

- Population: 14,663
- Median home value: $107,200 (80% own)
- Median rent: $666 (20% rent)
- Median household income: $46,339
- Top public schools: Sandy Run School (C+), Calhoun County High School (C+), St. Matthews School (C)
- Top private schools: Calhoun Academy (B)
- Top places to live: Cameron (B)
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Upstateherd // Wikimedia Commons

#24. Edgefield County

- Population: 26,927
- Median home value: $129,300 (74% own)
- Median rent: $637 (26% rent)
- Median household income: $49,127
- Top public schools: Merriwether Middle School (B+), Fox Creek Charter High School (B+), W.E. Parker Elementary School (B)
- Top private schools: Francis Hugh Wardlaw Academy (B+)
- Top places to live: Edgefield (B), Murphys Estates (B), Trenton (B+)
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Jud McCranie // Wikimedia Commons

#23. Darlington County

- Population: 67,027
- Median home value: $92,600 (70% own)
- Median rent: $675 (30% rent)
- Median household income: $38,448
- Top public schools: South Carolina Governor's School for Science & Mathematics (A+), Mayo High School for Math, Science & Technology (A), Carolina Elementary School (A)
- Top private schools: Trinity Collegiate School (A), Emmanuel Christian School (B), Thomas Hart Academy (unavailable)
- Top places to live: North Hartsville (B+), Hartsville (B+), Darlington (C+)
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#22. Georgetown County

- Population: 61,952
- Median home value: $188,800 (79% own)
- Median rent: $901 (21% rent)
- Median household income: $48,456
- Top public schools: Waccamaw Elementary School (A), Waccamaw Middle School (B+), Waccamaw Intermediate School (B+)
- Top private schools: Lowcountry Preparatory School (A), Montessori School of Pawleys Island (unavailable), All Saints School (unavailable)
- Top places to live: Murrells Inlet (A), Andrews (C+), Georgetown (C)
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Brian Scott // Wikimedia Commons

#21. Abbeville County

- Population: 24,627
- Median home value: $90,800 (75% own)
- Median rent: $681 (25% rent)
- Median household income: $38,741
- Top public schools: Wright Middle School (A), Westwood Elementary School (A), Diamond Hill Elementary School (A)
- Top private schools: Cold Springs Mennonite School (unavailable)
- Top places to live: Abbeville (C+), Due West (A), Donalds (B)
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NatalieMaynor // Wikimedia Commons

#20. Newberry County

- Population: 38,194
- Median home value: $116,300 (73% own)
- Median rent: $765 (27% rent)
- Median household income: $44,226
- Top public schools: Whitmire Community Elementary School (A), Little Mountain Elementary School (A), Mid-Carolina Middle School (A)
- Top private schools: New Berry Academy (A)
- Top places to live: Newberry (B), Little Mountain (B), Silverstreet (B)
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Bill Fitzpatrick // Wikimedia Commons

#19. Laurens County

- Population: 66,846
- Median home value: $101,200 (70% own)
- Median rent: $734 (30% rent)
- Median household income: $43,304
- Top public schools: Clinton High School (B), Clinton Elementary School (B), Joanna-Woodson Elementary School (B)
- Top private schools: Laurens Academy (B)
- Top places to live: Joanna (B+), Clinton (B), Laurens (B)
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Robert Thomas Mckenzie Jr // Wikimedia Commons

#18. Florence County

- Population: 138,475
- Median home value: $131,900 (66% own)
- Median rent: $772 (34% rent)
- Median household income: $47,058
- Top public schools: Royall Elementary School (A), McLaurin Elementary School (B+), Lucy T. Davis Elementary School (B+)
- Top private schools: The King's Academy (B+), Florence Christian School (B), Carolina Academy (B)
- Top places to live: Quinby (A), Florence (B+), Lake City (C+)
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Itsbrandoyo // Wikimedia Commons

#17. Berkeley County

- Population: 215,044
- Median home value: $185,500 (72% own)
- Median rent: $1,109 (28% rent)
- Median household income: $63,309
- Top public schools: Berkeley County Middle College High School (A), Marrington Middle School of the Arts (A), Stratford High School (A)
- Top private schools: Bishop England High School (A), St. John's Christian Academy (B), Faith Christian School & Daycare (C)
- Top places to live: Hanahan (A), Goose Creek (A), Ladson (B+)
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Pollinator // Wikimedia Commons

#16. Kershaw County

- Population: 65,112
- Median home value: $131,100 (82% own)
- Median rent: $775 (18% rent)
- Median household income: $51,479
- Top public schools: Mt. Pisgah Elementary School (B+), Baron DeKalb Elementary School (B), Doby's Mill Elementary School (B)
- Top private schools: Camden Military Academy (A)
- Top places to live: Camden (A), Lugoff (B+), Elgin (B)
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Bill Fitzpatrick // Wikimedia Commons

#15. Greenwood County

- Population: 70,411
- Median home value: $122,800 (64% own)
- Median rent: $733 (36% rent)
- Median household income: $42,336
- Top public schools: Ninety Six Elementary School (B+), Edgewood Middle School (B+), Greenwood High School (B)
- Top private schools: Greenwood Christian School (B+), Palmetto Christian Academy of Greenwood (A), Cambridge Academy (unavailable)
- Top places to live: Greenwood (B), Ninety Six (B+), Cokesbury (B)
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Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

#14. Oconee County

- Population: 77,528
- Median home value: $159,800 (73% own)
- Median rent: $762 (27% rent)
- Median household income: $49,134
- Top public schools: Walhalla Elementary School (A), Walhalla High School (A), Walhalla Middle School (B+)
- Top private schools: Oconee Christian Academy (B+), Trinity Baptist Preschool (unavailable), Foothills Christian School (unavailable)
- Top places to live: Seneca (B+), Utica (B), Walhalla (B)
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Calatayudboy // Wikimedia Commons

#13. Lancaster County

- Population: 92,308
- Median home value: $199,800 (80% own)
- Median rent: $776 (20% rent)
- Median household income: $58,849
- Top public schools: Indian Land Middle School (A), Harrisburg Elementary School (B+), Indian Land Elementary School (B+)
- Top private schools: Carolina Christian Academy (B+), Field of Dreams - Edgewater (unavailable), The Goddard School - Indian Land (unavailable)
- Top places to live: Elgin (B), Irwin (C+), Springdale (C+)
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Festiva76 // Wikimedia Commons

#12. Aiken County

- Population: 168,301
- Median home value: $147,300 (73% own)
- Median rent: $819 (27% rent)
- Median household income: $51,399
- Top public schools: Tall Pines STEM Academy (A), Hammond Hill Elementary School (B+), Chukker Creek Elementary School (B+)
- Top private schools: Mead Hall Episcopal School (A), South Aiken Baptist Christian School (B+), Victory Christian School (B+)
- Top places to live: North Augusta (A), Aiken (A), Belvedere (B+)
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Pollinator // Wikimedia Commons

#11. Horry County

- Population: 332,172
- Median home value: $181,500 (72% own)
- Median rent: $959 (28% rent)
- Median household income: $50,704
- Top public schools: Socastee Middle (A), Ocean Bay Elementary School (A), HCS Early College High School (A)
- Top private schools: Christian Academy of Myrtle Beach (B+), Conway Christian School (B+), North Myrtle Beach Christian School (B)
- Top places to live: Socastee (A), Forestbrook (A), Surfside Beach (A)
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Upstateherd // Wikimedia Commons

#10. Anderson County

- Population: 198,064
- Median home value: $145,800 (72% own)
- Median rent: $778 (28% rent)
- Median household income: $50,865
- Top public schools: Southwood Academy for the Arts (A), Powdersville Middle School (A), Powdersville Elementary School (A)
- Top private schools: Montessori School of Anderson (A), Anderson Christian School (B+), New Covenant School (B)
- Top places to live: Powdersville (A), Northlake (A), Pendleton (A)
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KudzuVine // Wikimedia Commons

#9. Pickens County

- Population: 124,029
- Median home value: $147,700 (67% own)
- Median rent: $768 (33% rent)
- Median household income: $49,573
- Top public schools: Youth Leadership Academy (A), D.W. Daniel High School (A), Clemson Elementary School (A)
- Top private schools: Easley Christian School (A), Lakeview Christian School (B), Clemson Montessori School (unavailable)
- Top places to live: Clemson (A+), Central (A), Easley (A)
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Lazyksaw // Wikimedia Commons

#8. Dorchester County

- Population: 158,299
- Median home value: $198,800 (72% own)
- Median rent: $1,099 (28% rent)
- Median household income: $63,080
- Top public schools: Beech Hill Elementary School (A), Rollings Middle School of the Arts (A), Fort Dorchester Elementary School (A)
- Top private schools: Pinewood Preparatory School (A), Cathedral Academy (B+), Dorchester Academy (B)
- Top places to live: North Charleston (B), Reevesville (B), St. George (B)
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#7. Spartanburg County

- Population: 307,617
- Median home value: $141,400 (71% own)
- Median rent: $794 (29% rent)
- Median household income: $52,332
- Top public schools: Meeting Street Academy-Spartanburg (A), Reidville Elementary School (A), Pine Street Elementary School (A)
- Top private schools: Spartanburg Day School (A+), Oakbrook Preparatory School (A), Westgate Christian School (B+)
- Top places to live: Reidville (A), Boiling Springs (A), Duncan (A)
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Ralph Hightower // Wikimedia Commons

#6. Lexington County

- Population: 290,278
- Median home value: $157,000 (74% own)
- Median rent: $917 (26% rent)
- Median household income: $61,173
- Top public schools: River Bluff High School (A), Meadow Glen Elementary School (A), New Providence Elementary School (A)
- Top private schools: Northside Christian Academy (A), Grace Christian School (B+), Union United Methodist Church Kindergarten (unavailable)
- Top places to live: Lexington (A+), Seven Oaks (A), Cayce (A)
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#5. Beaufort County

- Population: 186,095
- Median home value: $298,100 (73% own)
- Median rent: $1,202 (27% rent)
- Median household income: $68,377
- Top public schools: May River High School (A), Hilton Head Island High School (A), Riverview Charter School (A)
- Top private schools: Hilton Head Preparatory School (A+), Beaufort Academy (A), Heritage Academy (A)
- Top places to live: Hilton Head Island (A), Bluffton (A), Shell Point (B+)
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Connor401 // Wikimedia Commons

#4. York County

- Population: 265,872
- Median home value: $201,100 (72% own)
- Median rent: $980 (28% rent)
- Median household income: $65,361
- Top public schools: Pleasant Knoll Middle (A+), Gold Hill Elementary School (A+), Tega Cay Elementary School (A+)
- Top private schools: Lake Pointe Academy (A), Westminster Catawba Christian School (A), Walnut Grove Christian School (A)
- Top places to live: Tega Cay (A+), Riverview (A+), Fort Mill (A+)
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#3. Richland County

- Population: 411,357
- Median home value: $163,100 (60% own)
- Median rent: $972 (40% rent)
- Median household income: $54,767
- Top public schools: Spring Hill High School (A+), Dutch Fork High School (A+), Ballentine Elementary School (A)
- Top private schools: Hammond School (A+), Heathwood Hall Episcopal School (A+), Ben Lippen School (A)
- Top places to live: Forest Acres (A+), Irmo (A+), Blythewood (A)
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#2. Charleston County

- Population: 401,165
- Median home value: $315,600 (62% own)
- Median rent: $1,190 (38% rent)
- Median household income: $64,022
- Top public schools: Academic Magnet High School (A+), Charleston School of the Arts (A+), Wando High School (A)
- Top private schools: Porter-Gaud School (A+), Ashley Hall School (A+), Palmetto Christian Academy (A)
- Top places to live: Mount Pleasant (A+), Sullivan's Island (A), Isle of Palms (A)
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#1. Greenville County

- Population: 507,003
- Median home value: $183,800 (67% own)
- Median rent: $918 (33% rent)
- Median household income: $60,351
- Top public schools: SC Governor's School for Arts & Humanities (A+), Eastside High School (A), Greenville Technical Charter High School (A)
- Top private schools: Christ Church Episcopal School (A+), St. Joseph's Catholic School (A), Southside Christian School (A)
- Top places to live: Five Forks (A+), Wade Hampton (A), Greenville (A)

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