The state of South Carolina is in the southeastern region of the United States and on its borders there are North Carolina, Georgia, and the Atlantic Ocean. Its nickname is “The Palmetto State” and it is a state that is full of the history of America. South Carolina was the eighth state to ratify the U.S. Constitution and the first state to vote to secede from the Union during the U.S. Civil War. The capital and largest city is Columbia, but the Greenville-Anderson-Mauldin metropolitan area has a larger population by far. In the 46 counties of South Carolina, there are almost 5 million people, which makes it the 23rd most populated state in the nation with a population density of 155 people per square mile, ranking 19th in America. With an area of 32,020 square miles, South Carolina is the 40th largest state in the nation. South Carolina has the 14th highest percentage of senior citizens in the country, with approximately 15.8% of South Carolinians age 65 or older. However, is this historic state a smart choice for seniors who are looking to make a move during their older years?
Costs of Assisted Living in South Carolina
South Carolina's fees associated with assisted living average at $3,000, which is over $600 lower than the national average ($3628). Different facilities in South Carolina also have various costs of assisted living care, with such costs changing due to location, amenities or because Dementia or Alzheimer's care is needed. South Carolina assisted living costs are as little as $1,900 per month on average in Columbia, SC and can go as high as $3,600 per month in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. This price difference may also be related to the fact that Columbia is a University town while Myrtle Beach is more for tourists and those that live there are likely to be more affluent.
Due to more regulations and a higher level of care required by the residents, nursing homes are substantially costlier to run and therefore are more expensive for residents. In South Carolina, a semi-private room in a nursing facility costs over $72,600 per year, and a private room will cost almost $89,000 annually.
Adult Day Health Care - an alternative option for senior care, averages $1,200 per month or close to $14,300 per year in South Carolina. A Home Health Aide in South Carolina costs, on average $3,500 a month, or over $42,000 annually.
In the state of South Carolina, it is actually less expensive to be in an assisted living facility than it is to remain in your own home with a home health aide. And, you must consider that a Home Health Aide works for 44 hours per week and does not offer 24-hour care like Assisted Living facilities do. Additionally, while Home Health Aides are important and helpful, they are not licensed nurses which are available in most Assisted Living Facilities. Home Health Aides in SC usually do not do housekeeping that are part of the monthly payment at Assisted Living Facilities.
The cost of Assisted Living in South Carolina will be around $54,500 per year by the year 2030 – an increase of over $18,000. The cost of Nursing Home Care will increase to approximately $110,000 for a semi-private room and $120,000 for a private room by the same year.
Some popular cities for assisted living in South Carolina, and their costs, are:
- Columbia, South Carolina - $1,900;
- Sumter, South Carolina - $2,300;
- Florence, South Carolina - $2,325;
- Greenville, South Carolina - $2,750;
- Spartanburg, South Carolina - $3,043;
- Hilton Head Island, South Carolina - $3,445;
- Myrtle Beach, South Carolina - $3,615;
Pros and Cons of Senior Living in South Carolina
Here are some things to consider for seniors when choosing whether to retire to South Carolina:
- Popular for Retirees – South Carolina is one of the most popular states to retire in America, which is great if you want company of other people in your age group, but not necessarily if you are looking for a more diverse age group – although there are certainly areas which cater more to an elderly population, such as Hilton Head;
- Weather – South Carolina has mild winters, but the summers are hot and humid;
- Tourism – while there are certainly quieter parts of the state, areas like Charleston, the most famous city in the state, is one of the top tourist destinations in America. Bluffton and Beaufort are also well-known for their historic significance;
- Taxes – there is no state death tax and the state is tax-friendly to retirees; and
- Relatively inexpensive – the median home cost is less expensive than the national average, as are goods and services.
Financial Information for South Carolina Seniors
South Carolina has an income tax that is divided into six brackets and ranges from 0% to 7%. The state sales tax in South Carolina is 6% for most purchases; however, there is also a 7% lodging tax. There is an additional 1% local tax on most purchases made in South Carolina. Counties do have the choice to add to the sales tax for capital projects. And South Carolina citizens who are 85 years or older get a 1% exclusion from the state sales tax, but be prepared to show an ID.
Property taxes in the state of South Carolina are set and collected at the local government and both real and personal property are subject to taxation, with 2/3 of the county-levied taxes used for public education.
There are quite a few exemptions on property tax that SC seniors can take advantage of, such as a $50,000 homestead exemption which is available to South Carolinians who are at least 65 years old, completely blind or completely disabled.
South Carolina has no estate tax and does not have any inheritance tax.
South Carolina is a tax-friendly state for seniors, due to the following:
- Income from Social Security is not taxed;
- Withdrawals from retirement accounts are partially taxed;
- Wages are taxed at normal rates, in South Carolina this is 5.0%;
- Public pension income is partially taxed; and
- Private pension income is partially taxed.
South Carolina is a lower-price state than the national average. For example, what you could purchase for $100 in South Carolina is what you would expect to spend $110.50 on in another state. The cost of living is lower in South Carolina than it is in other states with housing being the biggest difference. Out of 100 points, South Carolina came in with a cost of living of 92.60. South Carolina rated lower overall (93), transportation (97), health (99), and housing (75); however, it rated higher in groceries (104.5), utilities (107), and miscellaneous (101).
Places of Interest for Seniors Living in South Carolina
There are many things that might be of interest for senior citizens in South Carolina State, all of which can’t be included in this list so we urge you to research and visit some places that you would enjoy. However, some of the more interesting things that seniors, and those who visit them, may enjoy in South Carolina include:
- Fort Sumter – located in Charleston, South Carolina – this is the location where the first skirmish of the Union and Confederate armies of the Civil War occurred. The Union forces surrendered after a 34-hour bombardment by the South;
- Middletown Place – located in Charleston, South Carolina. It is a National Historic Landmark that was an 18th century rice plantation and the 65-acres now include America’s oldest landscaped Gardens, the Middletown Place House Museum, and the Plantation Stableyards;
- Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum – located in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina – the history of this museum began in 1976 when the famed USS Lexington entered into Charleston Harbor. The museum opened to the public on January 3, 1976. Today, the museum has the USS Yorktown and 29 aircraft on display as well as other military planes and ships that senior citizens can explore;
- Rainbow Row – located in Charleston, South Carolina. Named for a series of 13 colorful historic houses that are the longest cluster of Georgian row houses in the US. The address is from 79 to 107 East Bay Street. The houses were restored in the 1930s and 1940s and named “rainbow row” due to the pastel colors that they were painted with. It is a popular tourist attraction and one of the most photographed parts of Charleston;
- Riverbanks Zoo and Gardens – located in Columbia, South Carolina – home to nearly 2,000 animals representing 350 species from around the world. It is located on 70 acres and is considered one of America’s best public gardens. There is a “diving expedition” to a “Pacific Coral Reef,” a “Safari” through the “Plains of Africa,” and an interactive “Outback encounter” with sociable lorikeets;
- Angel Oak Tree – located on Johns Island, South Carolina – this Southern Live Oak tree is estimated to be over 500 years old and produces shade that covers 17,200 square feet. It was the 210th tree to be registered with the Live Oak Society;
- Myrtle Beach Sky Wheel – located in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina – this Ferris Wheel reaches 20 stories above the Atlantic Ocean. There are 42 climate-controlled gondolas for comforting seniors and people of all ages, and at night it is illuminated by over one million LED lights;
- Fort Moultrie – located on Sullivan’s Island, South Carolina – this is a fortification that was created to take care of the state and the city of Charleston. The initial fort was created using palmetto logs, which is how state flag and nickname came about. It is the only area of the National Park System where the entire 171-year history of American seacoast defense, from 1776-1947, can be traced. It was named after the commander in the Battle of Sullivan’s Island, General William Moultrie;
- Rose Hill Mansion – located in Blufton, South Carolina – this historic mansion is known as the most beautiful plantation house in the Low County. It was originally built in the late 1850s by Dr. John Kirk and his wife. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980 but was destroyed by a fire in 1987. It was purchased and restored by the Middletown White Foundation and, after extensive renovation, is open to the public daily;
- Charles Pinckney National Historic Site – located in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina – part of the country estate of Charles Pinckney, a signer of the U.S. Constitution. There is a museum on the property that senior citizens can explore that shows the lives and the relationships of African-Americans with slave owners; and
- Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church (frequently called Mother Emanuel) – located in Charleston, SC – it was started in 1816 and it is the oldest African Methodist Episcopal church in the Southern U.S. It is believed that the church was founded by Denmark Vesey who was executed on July 2nd, 1882. Most recently, it was unfortunately the site of the shooting of nine people by a self-proclaimed white supremacist.
Some cities to consider for South Carolina Senior Living
Here are some cities or towns that have ranked highly in different categories that are helpful to seniors:
- Garden City, South Carolina (sometimes called Garden City Beach) – located in Horry County, South Carolina. Although it is considered a city, it is not incorporated and does not yet have a city council or a mayor. The population is approximately 11,200 with almost 34% seniors age 65 or older. Last year, Garden City ranked #1 out of 108 of the “Best Places to Retire in South Carolina,” #20 of 112 of the “Best Places to Buy a House in South Carolina,” and #20 of 112 of the “Best Places to Live in South Carolina;
- Hilton Head Island, South Carolina (also called Hilton Head) – located on Hilton Head Island in Beaufort County, South Carolina. The island has 12-miles of beachfront property on the Atlantic Ocean and is a popular tourist location. The year-round population of Hilton Head is approximately 41,000 of whom almost 29% are aged 65 or older, however during the summer months the population can almost quadruple to more than 160,000. Last year, Hilton Head ranked #3 out of 108 of the “Best Places to Retire in South Carolina,” #1 of the “Healthiest Places to Live in South Carolina,” and #13 out of 64 of the “Best Places to Live in South Carolina;”
- Little River, South Carolina – a city in Horry County, South Carolina. It is named for the “Little River” which defines the border between North and South Carolina and where the River flows into the Atlantic Ocean. Each May, Little River is home to the Blue Crab Festival every May. The population is around 9,150 with around 10.5% of the population who are elderly residents 65 or older. Last year, Little River ranked #5 out of 108 of the “Best Places to Retire in South Carolina,” #67 out of 112 of the “Best Places to Buy a House in South Carolina,” and #66 of 112 of the “Best Places to Live in South Carolina;”
- Socastee, South Carolina – located in Horry County, South Carolina. Socastee has a population of approximately 21,000 around 8.5% of whom are age 65 or older. Last year, Socastee ranked #8 out of 108 of the “Best Places to Retire in South Carolina,” and #20 out of 108 of the “Healthiest Places to Live in South Carolina;”
- Tega Cay, South Carolina – a city located in South Carolina in the York County. Tega Cay is situated on Lake Wylie peninsula, thus its name - which means "Beautiful Peninsula" in Polynesian. The population of Tega Cay is estimated to be 10,000 of which around 9% are elderly SC residents age 65 or older. Last year, Tega Cay ranked #19 out 112 of the “Best Places to Retire in South Carolina,” #1 out of 112 of the “Best Places to Buy a House in South Carolina” and #1 out of 67 of the “Best Suburbs to Raise a Family in Charlotte Metro;”
- Seven Oaks, South Carolina – located in Lexington County, South Carolina and only six miles away from the state capital of Columbia. The population of Seven Oaks is estimated to be around 16,000 people with approximately 11% seniors who are at least 65 years old. Last year, Seven Oaks ranked #12 out of 112 of the “Best Places to Retire in South Carolina,” #1 out of 112 of the “Best Places to Live in South Carolina,” and #1 out of 40 of the “Best Suburbs to Live in South Carolina,”
- Greenville, South Carolina – located in, and the county seat of Greenville County, South Carolina. Greenville has been ranked as one of the “Top Fastest Growing Cities in the United States.” It is the biggest city in the Greenville-Spartanburg-Anderson Combined Statistical Area. The population of Greenville is estimated to be around 107,000 of which over 14% are 65+ years of age. Last year, Greenville ranked #65 out of 112 of “Best Places to Retire in South Carolina,” #14 of 108 of the “Healthiest Places to Live in South Carolina,” and #5 out of 112 of the “Best Places to Live in South Carolina;”
- Mauldin, South Carolina – a town in Greenville County, South Carolina. It is a principal city of the Greenville-Anderson-Mauldin Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population of Maulidn, South Carolina is approximately 26,500 residents, with around 9% of residents age 65 or older. Last year, Mauldin ranked #14 of 112 of the “Best Places to Retire in South Carolina,” #2 out of 112 of the “Best Places to Live in South Carolina,” and #3 out of 54 of the “Safest Places to Live in South Carolina,”
- Murrells Inlet, South Carolina – an unincorporated area located in Georgetown County, South Carolina. There are landmarks in Murrells Inlet that are registered and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, including Atalaya, Murrells Inlet Historic District and Richmond Hill. The population of Murrells Inlet is approximately 9,000 with almost 21% who belong to the 65+ senior citizen community. Last year, Murrells Inlet ranked #2 out of 108 of the “Best Places to Retire in South Carolina,” and #54 out of 112 of the “Best Places to Buy a House in South Carolina; and
- Newberry, South Carolina – located in, and the county seat of, Newberry County, South Carolina. It was once called “Newberry Courthouse” and Newberry didn’t officially become a city until 1976, at which point it did not report the change to the census bureau for over 25 years. It is the home to Newberry College, Wells Japanese Garden, and the Newberry Opera House. The population is approximately 11,000 with over 17% senior citizens who are at least 65 years old. Last year, Newberry ranked #23 out of 108 of the “Best Places to Retire in South Carolina, #1 out of 112 of the “Most Diverse Places to Live in South Carolina,” and #31 out of 54 of the “Safest Places to Live in South Carolina.”