Cost of Living in Charleston, SC


Article by Lisa Roberts

When deciding where to live, finances are always among the key parameters one analyzes. Making intensive and detailed calculations inevitably precedes every relocation, as it is of key importance to know the exact budget that will suffice for your everyday costs. If Charleston, SC is the location of your future home, we are here to help you. Here is all you need to know about the current cost of living in Charleston, SC before you start planning a relocation to this area.

About Charleston, SC

The latest data shows that the overall cost of living in Charleston is 4% higher than the US average. However, every year about 12,000 people decide to move here and call this city home. It is a perfect choice if you want to start a business, become an entrepreneur, get a top- quality education, or live among friendly people who greatly respect their history and tradition. There are countless leisure activities you can enjoy and breathtaking landscapes you can visit if you are a passionate nature lover.

Due to the many opportunities available in Charleston, people settle here from all parts of the state. All you have to do is give your movers a call and they will easily transport all of your items to your new Charleston address.

Housing Costs Will Surprise You

The recent population growth has caused a major change regarding housing costs. Namely, housing prices have skyrocketed in the last few years. The median home price equals $316,500, which is undeniably much higher than the national average. This further explains why a great majority of Charleston citizens are renters - more than 40%.

If you decide to rent yourself, you will have to pay from around $1,000 for a studio apartment to more than $2,000 for a 4-bedroom home or apartment. The price, naturally, depends on the location as well. Some of the neighborhoods that offer good value for your money include Downtown Charleston, Hanahan, Mount Pleasant, Summerville, Kiawah Island, Goose Creek, and Sullivan’s Island.

Healthcare Costs in Charleston, SC

Surprisingly, healthcare costs are slightly lower than both the federal and the state average. Whether it is a regular dental check-up, a visit to the doctor’s office, or a day at a hospital due to a health issue, the prices are more affordable than in other parts of the state. Yet, the healthcare centers and hospitals in Charleston offer excellent care and patients get proper treatment from the best medical experts on a regular basis.

The Costs of Education in Charleston

Young couples, students, and families with children are particularly interested in these costs. Once they start the research on this subject, they soon realize that Charleston has a lot to offer when it comes to education. There are 55 schools and 14 universities and colleges in the city, both public and private. Generally, all these educational institutions spend substantial sums on their students and employ highly qualified teachers and professors. Hence, it is not uncommon for international students to come to Charleston on their mission to improve their education and decide on their future careers.

If you opt for a private kindergarten, you will have to pay anywhere between $1,100 and $4,500 a year for the tuition fee. The average tuition fee at private elementary schools is around $6,000, but, depending on the school you choose, costs can vary from $2,000 to more than $20,000. Finally, when it comes to higher education, the average tuition fee is around $7,000, but the prices actually range from $2,000 to almost $28,000, depending on the institution you choose.

Transportation Costs in Charleston, SC

Not so long ago, Charleston was a city with no traffic jams, crowds, or parking problems. People who have lived here for years, however, claim that the population growth has brought a drastic change. Even though it takes more time to get from one point of the city to the other, more than 70% of Charleston citizens still use their cars on a daily basis to get to work and conduct their everyday tasks.

If we analyze the gasoline, maintenance, and car insurance costs, Charleston is below the US average. Gasoline is around $1.85, car insurance rates range from $1,000 to $1,500, and car maintenance expenses will vary greatly depending on the type of your car.

Interestingly, only 1% of the population uses mass transit. Despite the traffic jams getting increasingly more frequent and common in the city, it is evident that people still prefer driving over using buses.

Taxes in Charleston, SC

Tax rates have a powerful influence on whether the cost of living in Charleston, SC will be perceived as affordable or not. The sales tax, as well as the income tax, are higher than the national average, but if you are planning to become a homeowner, the good news is that the property taxes are among the lowest in the state. Moreover, if you are moving to Charleston to spend your retirement days, you will not be obliged to pay the tax on Social Security retirement benefits.

Job Opportunities are Ample

Those eager to pursue a career will find that job opportunities in Charleston are favorable. Although the cost of living is at a higher level than the US average, the average income is higher too. A Charleston citizen can earn around $33,200 a year on average. The median household income one can expect is around $53,000. Thus, with the expected employment growth, it seems the circumstances will get more favorable in the future. To all those who are considering where to move, the cost of living in Charleston, SC suggests that this is a city worth your time.




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