Safest Cities in South Carolina

  • Population
    5,084,156
  • Avg Annual Rent
    9636
  • Avg Household Income
    42829
  • Cost of Living
    22.80%
  • Violent Crime Rate
    17.32
  • Property Crime Rate
    466.58
  • Primary Care Ranking
    35
  • Mental Health Provider
    39

State Overview

The state of South Carolina lies on the Eastern Seaboard of the United States, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. It is known for its beaches, mountains, golf courses and historic attractions. Visitors can enjoy top attractions such as Charleston’s Historic District, Myrtle Beach and the rolling hills of Caesars Head State Park. With a population of just over 5 million people, South Carolina has plenty of urban areas and small towns dotted around the state. If you’re wondering which of these towns is the safest, we have the answers for you.

How We Determined the Safest Cities in South Carolina

We narrowed down the safest cities in each state based on two primary categories. First, we evaluated public safety factors including violent, property and hate crimes in each area to help determine the safest areas to live. We then evaluated financial and socioeconomic factors including household income, average rent and health insurance. In addition, we evaluated each state for natural disaster safety and public health safety. You can find a detailed breakdown of our methodology and links to sources here.

Here are the public safety factors we counted for each city:

*Public safety data is based on a population of 10,000 (for example, a “2” means two incidents for every 10,000 people).

  • Property crime – Number of property crimes reported in the city (FBI Crime Report)
  • Violent crime – Number of violent crimes reported in the city (FBI Crime Report)
  • Aggravated assaults – Number of aggravated assaults reported in the city (FBI Crime Report)
  • Hate crime – Number of hate crimes reported in the city (FBI Hate Crime Report)
  • Officer-related incidents – Number of officer-involved shootings reported in the city (Gun Violence Archive)
  • Mass shootings – Incidents in which four or more people are shot/killed in the city (Gun Violence Archive)

Here are the financial safety factors we counted for each city:

  • Annual rent – Annualized median rent
  • Unemployment rate – The average rate of unemployed residents in each city
  • Cost of living – The average annual rent and household income per city
  • Poverty rate – Percentage of families that reported experiencing poverty in the last 12 months
  • Uninsured employed – Percentage of employed residents that reported not having health insurance
  • Uninsured unemployed – Percentage of unemployed residents that reported not having health insurance

10 Safest Cities in South Carolina

  • No. 1 Bluffton

    Bluffton goes down in history as the site of the first meeting of the separatist movement. In 1844, about 500 people listened to Congressman Rhett give a protest speech under an oak tree that still stands in Bluffton today. Despite its rebellious history, Bluffton earns third place on our list thanks to exceptional financial and public safety statistics. Bluffton has the lowest poverty rate and second-lowest unemployment rate on our list, but a high cost of living prevents it from ranking any higher. 

    94out of 100

    Public Safety

    70out of 100

    Financial Safety

    Public Safety

    Total Violent CrimeSociety CrimesProperty CrimeHate CrimeOfficer IncidentMass Shootings
    3.5433 (2nd)18.602 (5th)111.61 (1st)0.4429 (3rd)0.4429 (3rd)0 (1st)

    Financial Safety

    Annual RentHousehold IncomeUnemployment RatePovertyUninsured EmployedUninsured Unemployed
    18852 (1st)74695 (1st)0.031 (10th)0.019 (10th)0.043 (3rd)0.46 (3rd)
  • No. 2 Summerville

    Summerville, which claims to be the “Birthplace of Sweet Tea and Southern Hospitality,” has brag-worthy stats in all categories, making it a hot contender for the title of safest city in South Carolina. Summerville ends up in fifth place thanks to a slightly higher hate crime index, cost of living and percentage of uninsured unemployed residents.

    85out of 100

    Public Safety

    68out of 100

    Financial Safety

    Public Safety

    Total Violent CrimeSociety CrimesProperty CrimeHate CrimeOfficer IncidentMass Shootings
    8.9208 (5th)18.229 (4th)337.44 (5th)0.6571 (5th)0.6571 (5th)0 (1st)

    Financial Safety

    Annual RentHousehold IncomeUnemployment RatePovertyUninsured EmployedUninsured Unemployed
    12708 (4th)59306 (4th)0.051 (5th)0.106 (4th)0.021 (7th)0.448 (4th)
  • No. 3 Greer

    Greer boasts the only BMW manufacturing plant in North America. Located halfway between the larger cities of Greenville and Spartanburg, Greer is also home to the Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport. Perhaps the presence of these two employers accounts for Greer‘s low unemployment rate. Greer also rises to second place overall thanks to its low cost of living. However, over half of Greer‘s unemployed residents do not have insurance, which is one of the highest rates on our list.

    79out of 100

    Public Safety

    76out of 100

    Financial Safety

    Public Safety

    Total Violent CrimeSociety CrimesProperty CrimeHate CrimeOfficer IncidentMass Shootings
    14.501 (7th)27.741 (7th)360.63 (6th)0.8442 (6th)0.8442 (6th)0 (1st)

    Financial Safety

    Annual RentHousehold IncomeUnemployment RatePovertyUninsured EmployedUninsured Unemployed
    10656 (7th)57630 (6th)0.035 (9th)0.089 (7th)0.033 (5th)0.542 (1st)
  • No. 4 Duncan

    Neighboring the higher-ranking town of Greer, Duncan also benefits economically from the BMW factory located there. However, Duncan ranks lower on our list due in part to high poverty and unemployment rates.

    91out of 100

    Public Safety

    48out of 100

    Financial Safety

    Public Safety

    Total Violent CrimeSociety CrimesProperty CrimeHate CrimeOfficer IncidentMass Shootings
    5.7471 (3rd)2.8736 (1st)183.91 (2nd)2.8736 (8th)2.8736 (8th)0 (1st)

    Financial Safety

    Annual RentHousehold IncomeUnemployment RatePovertyUninsured EmployedUninsured Unemployed
    9768 (8th)39167 (9th)0.088 (2nd)0.192 (2nd)0.057 (2nd)0.322 (8th)
  • No. 5 Charleston

    Known for its cobblestone streets and French quarter districts, Charleston falls 6th overall in our list. You can visit Waterfront Park, which overlooks Charleston Harbor, or visit Fort Sumter National Monument, a battleground in the Civil War.

    73out of 100

    Public Safety

    70out of 100

    Financial Safety

    Public Safety

    Total Violent CrimeSociety CrimesProperty CrimeHate CrimeOfficer IncidentMass Shootings
    11.379 (6th)18.892 (6th)207.74 (3rd)0.2918 (2nd)0.2918 (2nd)0 (1st)

    Financial Safety

    Annual RentHousehold IncomeUnemployment RatePovertyUninsured EmployedUninsured Unemployed
    14496 (3rd)64599 (3rd)0.041 (8th)0.083 (8th)0.011 (10th)0.343 (7th)
  • No. 6 Elloree

    With a population of 652, Elloree is the smallest town to grace our list of the safest cities in South Carolina. Notably, it has the second-lowest cost of living of all the cities on the list. A high hate crime index, unemployment rate and poverty rate coupled with a low percentage of household internet access prevent Elloree from ranking any higher.

    90out of 100

    Public Safety

    48out of 100

    Financial Safety

    Public Safety

    Total Violent CrimeSociety CrimesProperty CrimeHate CrimeOfficer IncidentMass Shootings
    0 (1st)15.337 (3rd)245.4 (4th)61.35 (10th)61.35 (10th)0 (1st)

    Financial Safety

    Annual RentHousehold IncomeUnemployment RatePovertyUninsured EmployedUninsured Unemployed
    3456 (10th)24750 (10th)0.108 (1st)0.233 (1st)0.144 (1st)0.483 (2nd)
  • No. 7 Easley

    Located at the edge of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Easley features gorgeous scenery with waterfalls galore, plus a unique festival devoted to tall tales. Easley has impressive financial and public safety statistics across the board but doesn‘t have the best stats in any category, which pulls it into a comfortable fourth place.

    65out of 100

    Public Safety

    70out of 100

    Financial Safety

    Public Safety

    Total Violent CrimeSociety CrimesProperty CrimeHate CrimeOfficer IncidentMass Shootings
    7.0745 (4th)42.447 (10th)591.43 (9th)0.4729 (4th)0.4729 (4th)0 (1st)

    Financial Safety

    Annual RentHousehold IncomeUnemployment RatePovertyUninsured EmployedUninsured Unemployed
    8736 (9th)47411 (8th)0.062 (4th)0.091 (6th)0.031 (6th)0.383 (6th)
  • No. 8 Greenville

    The second-largest city on our list, Greenville is considered the cultural and entertainment center of the upstate region. It also boasts the lowest hate crime index and the lowest percentage of employed residents without insurance. Although Greenville‘s poverty and unemployment rates may seem high out of context, they are actually among the lowest on our list.

    60out of 100

    Public Safety

    70out of 100

    Financial Safety

    Public Safety

    Total Violent CrimeSociety CrimesProperty CrimeHate CrimeOfficer IncidentMass Shootings
    15.803 (8th)37.065 (9th)403.69 (7th)0.1437 (1st)0.1437 (1st)1.1493 (10th)

    Financial Safety

    Annual RentHousehold IncomeUnemployment RatePovertyUninsured EmployedUninsured Unemployed
    11244 (5th)53571 (7th)0.048 (6th)0.098 (5th)0.015 (9th)0.392 (5th)
  • No. 9 Forest Acres

    Forest Acres — a suburb of Columbia known for its farmers‘ markets, free concerts and friendly atmosphere — clinches the top spot on our list of safest cities in South Carolina thanks in part to its low cost of living. The 10,375 residents of Forest Acres earn the second-highest average household income on our list, but the average annual rent remains relatively affordable. About 20% of unemployed residents do not have insurance, which is one of the lowest rates on our list. All of these positive stats propel Forest Acres to the top spot despite its poverty rate, which shows room for improvement.

    55out of 100

    Public Safety

    76out of 100

    Financial Safety

    Public Safety

    Total Violent CrimeSociety CrimesProperty CrimeHate CrimeOfficer IncidentMass Shootings
    20.241 (10th)27.952 (8th)630.36 (10th)0.9639 (7th)0.9639 (7th)0 (1st)

    Financial Safety

    Annual RentHousehold IncomeUnemployment RatePovertyUninsured EmployedUninsured Unemployed
    11064 (6th)64926 (2nd)0.046 (7th)0.116 (3rd)0.036 (4th)0.202 (9th)
  • No. 10 Chapin

    Chapin has the second-highest average annual rent of all the towns on our list, giving it a high cost of living. However, most of the town‘s 1,629 residents seem capable of affording it, since Chapin also has the second-lowest poverty rate on our list, as well as the second-highest rate of home internet access. However, Chapin‘s ranking is pulled down due to its hate crime index.

    66out of 100

    Public Safety

    63out of 100

    Financial Safety

    Public Safety

    Total Violent CrimeSociety CrimesProperty CrimeHate CrimeOfficer IncidentMass Shootings
    18.416 (9th)6.1387 (2nd)454.27 (8th)6.1387 (9th)6.1387 (9th)0 (1st)

    Financial Safety

    Annual RentHousehold IncomeUnemployment RatePovertyUninsured EmployedUninsured Unemployed
    14760 (2nd)58958 (5th)0.081 (3rd)0.047 (9th)0.02 (8th)0.056 (10th)

South Carolina State Safety

Natural Disaster Safety

According to Insurance Journal rankings, South Carolina sits at ninth in terms of risk of natural disasters. South Carolinians are most at risk from disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes and tropical weather. One of the most recent hurricanes to hit South Carolina was Hurricane Florence, which caused extensive flooding, $600 million in damage and 59 deaths. Hurricane Joaquin in 2015 also caused more than $2 billion in damages after heavy rainfall flooded homes and broke dams.

9out of 50

Natural Disaster

Health Safety

Data taken from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that the leading cause of death in South Carolina is heart disease. This is followed by cancer, accidents and respiratory disease. According to America’s Health Rankings, South Carolina is in 23rd place in the U.S. for its number of drug-related deaths.

Regarding the availability of healthcare, South Carolina is in 35th place in the U.S. for its number of primary care physicians per 100,000 people. The state’s mental health care is slightly worse, with the state coming in 39th place in the U.S. for the number of mental health care providers. South Carolina has also been ranked as 25th for its rate of air pollution.

39out of 50

Health Safety

Top 29 Safest Cities in South Carolina

Bluffton22,578131
Summerville45,656472
Greer23,691523
Duncan3,4802204
Charleston137,092855
Elloree6523216
Easley21,1441167
Greenville69,6081448
Forest Acres10,3752019
Chapin1,629101110
Conway24,78491711
Cayce13,48118912
Beaufort13,920131313
Rock Hill74,049171514
Inman2,341191415
York8,20321816
Holly Hill1,190211017
South Congaree2,466151818
Pickens3,170161919
Winnsboro3,19772720
Calhoun Falls1,92562921
Columbia133,540241622
Yemassee825251223
Blacksburg1,899122824
Manning3,958232625
North Charleston90,159262326
Myrtle Beach33,687292227
Estill1,807272428
Hartsville7,608282529