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Best State to Live in 2023

by Shannon Steinberg on Dec 13, 2023

Americans are passionately fond of their homes. Ask them “What is the best state to live in?” and most will tell you it's where they're from. But while every state has its advantages, they’re not all equally popular. Last year, more Americans moved to South Carolina than anywhere else in the country. While we can’t say for certain it’s the best state to live in, it’s worth asking: why is it such an attractive moving destination?

Low Cost of Living

Prices in South Carolina are six percent below the national average. Compared to major outbound states, they’re even more competitive. Living in South Carolina costs 20 percent less than California and 23 percent less than Massachusetts, both of which lost population in 2023.

While transportation, healthcare, and consumer goods are more affordable in South Carolina than most other states, its housing market is where the real savings are felt. Homebuyers pay an average of 18 percent less in South Carolina than they would elsewhere, while renters generally pay 30 percent less.

Taxes are low too. South Carolina’s property tax is a measly 0.52 percent, the sixth lowest in the nation and almost half the national average (0.99 percent). In addition, the state recently lowered its top income tax rate from seven percent to six-and-a-half percent. Thanks to its graduated individual income tax, some residents aren’t required to pay taxes at all!

Growing Economy

Though overshadowed by its larger neighbors, South Carolina has been quietly attracting businesses and investments for years. In 2021, its economy added more jobs than it could fill. Employment is at an all time high and even though the state's labor force has grown tremendously, employers still struggle to fill all of their available openings. As a result, wages in the state have risen steadily, around 15 percent since 2022.

Finance, insurance, and real estate are the fastest growing sectors in the economy, followed by manufacturing and business services. With more residents graduating from high school and college than ever before, the quality of the state’s workforce has improved significantly, making it even more attractive to employers. Its industries are expected to grow more than 12 percent over the next ten years, adding over 263,000 new jobs.

Great Weather

Situated midway between New England and the Florida Keys, South Carolina has a warm, bright climate ‒ never too hot, never too cold. Along the coast, the average temperature hovers around 64°F, while the mountains are roughly ten degrees cooler. Unlike some other Southern states, South Carolina experiences all four seasons.

While it rarely snows along the coast, during winter there are occasional flurries up in the mountains. Spring brings green trees and scattered showers. Most residents take advantage of the rising temperature and low humidity to explore the inland plains. Summer is warm, great for hiking through the mountains or relaxing at the beach. Autumn is cool but comfortable. The changing foliage transforms the forests into a riot of red, orange, and yellow.

Breathtaking Scenery

The varied landscapes of South Carolina are truly astonishing. From the grand, colorful architecture of Charleston to the rugged Blue Ridge Mountains to the windswept beaches of the Atlantic coast, the state contains dozens of stunning sights and miles of unspoiled wilderness.

Hikers can climb roaring waterfalls and rolling hills, covered with dense, richly colored forests. Boaters can drift through green swamps with towering trees, looming out of eerily still waters. Surfers can ride glittering blue waves as they crash onto sun-baked sand.

On Johns Island, you’ll find Angel Oak Tree, over 1,500 years old, with branches so long and massive they spread over the ground like creeping vines. At the Botany Bay Plantation, you can walk down long country lanes shaded by gnarled, leafy branches dripping with Spanish Moss. Or check out the lighthouse on Morris Island, standing defiantly against the wind.

City dwellers can admire the magnificent columns and dome of the Columbia State House, the brightly painted homes along Charleston’s Rainbow Road, and the magnificent harbors, white-brick seawalls, and spacious promenades that dot the state’s coastal communities.

Art and Culture

They say life moves slower in South Carolina, but there’s little evidence of it. People here are bursting with energy and imagination. The Spoleto Festival in Charleston brings together some of the most renowned performers in the country each spring for a 17-day celebration of opera, theater, dance, jazz, chamber music, and symphony orchestra.

But Spoleto only scratches the surface. There are dozens of other music festivals held throughout the year, such as the Aiken Bluegrass Festival, the Downhome Blues Festival, Music on the Mountain, Jazz on the Square in Spartanburg, and the state fiddling contest, not to mention the Jam Room Music Festival, which features rappers and indie bands performing on two stages in the streets of downtown Columbia.

Hungry residents can eat their way across the state during the fall food festivals, which let them sample South Carolina’s signature cooking styles, everything from oysters and shrimp to barbeque, sweet potatoes, and spaghetti. 

History buffs can join in the Civil War reenactments that take place every year. These mock battles help bring history to life by recreating the campaigns that transformed the state during the mid-19th century.

Painters, sculptors, and musicians from as far away as Arkansas and Louisiana come to participate in Artfields, which, for nine days, turns the entire town of Lake City into a giant art gallery. The stunning showcase draws and inspires visitors from all over the South.

South Carolina also operates the country's oldest, continuously operating playhouse, Town Theater, which stages stirring, modern revivals of classic works. The South Carolina Shakespeare Company tours schools and universities throughout the state, to help students engage with the bard’s work. At the same time, Broadway in Columbia gives you a chance to experience the biggest blockbuster shows from New York and beyond.

Moving to South Carolina

Moving can be stressful, but Allied’s Personal Moving Plans remove the headache and uncertainty. We know every household is different, which is why we tailor our approach to your needs. From packing to shipping to final delivery and setup, there’s nothing we can’t help with. Our options and flexibility let you create a plan that fits your budget and schedule, for moves that run smoothly from start to finish. Contact us today for a free quote!

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