Cost of Living

The cost of living in the greater Charleston area is lower than the national average. In Dorchester County, costs are even lower, especially for real estate. Housing prices in St. George, Harleyville, and Ridgeville are lower still.

According to the ACCRA Cost of Living Index, the Charleston Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) offers a reasonable cost of living compared to similar coastal regions in the country. This quarterly survey compares relative living costs for middle-management households among U.S. metropolitan areas and cities. Residents in the Lowcountry also get a break when it comes to taxes, with the area's state and local tax burden significantly lower than the national average.

Charleston, S.C. MSA Cost of Living Index

All Items (Composite) 98.4
Grocery Items 106.0
Housing 85.4
Utilities 113.2
Transportation 95.8
Health Care 105.2
Miscellaneous Goods and Services 101.4

U.S. Cities Baseline Index = 100
Source: ACCRA Cost of Living Index,, 2012 Annual Average.

S.C. Tax Burden Lower than U.S. Average

South Carolina has one of the lowest per capita tax rates in the country. Property, sales & use, individual, and corporate income taxes per capita are significantly lower than the U.S. average. In South Carolina, homeowners are exempt from property tax on the first $100,000 in value of their home.

Tax Burden

South Carolina United States
State & Local Taxes, Total (Per Capita) $2,742 $4,160
Property $970 $1,388
Sales & Use $686 $953
Individual Income $617 $886
Corporate Income $55 $151

Source:, 8/2012