← Back to Blog

South Carolina: One of the Best Places to Retire

A photo of historical downtown area of Charleston, South Carolina, USA at twilight.

You’d think a pandemic might have slowed down people moving from one place to another, right? Not so. Surprisingly, 2020 was a big year for relocation, and the second-biggest moving destination in the country, according to a National Migration Study by United Van Lines, was to South Carolina. The number one reason for moving to the Palmetto State was retirement, accounting for 38% of the inbound migration.

South Carolina has long been an attractive option for retirees or those nearing retirement age. Study after study has shown that the popularity of retiring in South Carolina continues to grow. According to Patrick Mason, co-founder of the Center for Carolina Living and CarolinaLiving.com, many transplants fell in love with the state after visiting as tourists and then decided to call it home.

Another study that surveyed hundreds of potential retirees and visitors ages 45 to 65 found that “South Carolina itself is more and more attractive to retirees” and that “South Carolina was high on the list of places they are considering.” The study noted that there are now more than 150 senior living options from the coast to upstate, as well as thousands of retirees who are relocating to South Carolina communities not specifically geared to retirees.

Let’s look at 9 reasons why so many older adults find retiring in South Carolina so appealing.

1. No Social Security Tax: Social Security is not taxable, plus there’s a sizable deduction for other kinds of retirement income. For example, those over 65 can claim a $15,000 deduction, making it extremely friendly for seniors receiving income from sources other than Social Security.

2. Reasonable Cost of Living: The cost of living in the state is 11.5% lower than the US average. Even the cost of entertainment, meals out, alcohol, clothing, repairs and other services is 4.4% lower than the national average — all great reasons to consider retiring in South Carolina.

3. Beautiful Surroundings: Mountains, lakes, gorgeous coastline … this state has beauty in every corner of all kinds. So much so that the state has catalogued its own “Seven Natural Wonders” to explore, from the Angel Oak to Table Rock Mountain. You can live amid nature or in a retirement community like those of Oaks Senior Living and simply head for a taste of nature when the mood hits!

4. Nice Weather: The wonderfully mild winters (typically 50s-60s) make it possible for South Carolinians to stay active outdoors throughout the coldest months of the year. Snowstorms are typically scarce and nonexistent. Summers are hot and humid, but the rest of the glorious year makes up for it!

5. Free College Tuition: South Carolina law provides tuition exemption for residents 60 and older to take classes at state colleges (nominal fees may apply). Seniors can generally take any class offered, but many colleges also have specialized senior learning programs. Check with the institution’s admissions office for details.

6. Rich History: Our country’s history, much of it predating the Civil War, is evident across the state, from cobblestone streets to vintage mansions and forts. The state takes pride in preserving its past for all to enjoy and learn from.

7. Quality Healthcare: Getting older puts good healthcare at the top of our needs and wants list, and the state doesn’t disappoint. There are several prominent healthcare systems throughout the state that have been nationally ranked for different specialties, including cardiac surgery; rheumatology; ear, nose, and throat; and cancer.

8. Great Recreation: There’s world-class golfing of course, but also plenty of opportunities for water sports, hiking, biking, camping, mountain sports, bird-watching and much more across 80,000 acres of state parks and miles of coastline.

9. Laid-Back & Friendly: You’ll feel it when you walk down the street or sit down at a restaurant. There’s a vacation vibe that pervades every aspect of retiring in South Carolina. If you’re used to the bustle up east, it can take some getting used to, but it won’t take long!


If You’re Thinking About Retiring in South Carolina, Let’s Talk.

It’s not surprising you’re intrigued about retiring to our state! There’s a lot to love about South Carolina. That said, we hope you’ll take a few minutes to explore our senior living communities in Beaufort, Charleston, Greenville, Greenwood, and Mt. Pleasant, SC, and see what makes them the most welcoming places to call home. Then, if you’d like to learn more and set up a tour, just complete the contact form, and we’ll be in touch soon! We look forward to meeting you.

Sign up for our newsletter

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.