Richest Cities in South Carolina (2024)

by Kristen Carney Kristen Carney

Updated: June 20, 2024

Richest City in South Carolina

The richest city in South Carolina is Kiawah Island in Charleston County with an average household income of $371,032 as of 2022. While exceptionally affluent, Kiawah Island only has a population of 1,975 as of 2023. The richest city in South Carolina with at least 5,000 people is Tega Cay in York County with an average household income of $169,602 as of 2022 and 14,057 people as of 2023 according to the most current Census data available (citation).

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20 Richest Cities in South Carolina

Rank City County Population Average Income Median Income
1 Kiawah Island Charleston 1,975 $371,032 $214,250
2 Smyrna Cherokee; York 57 $291,742 -$1
3 Sullivan's Island Charleston 1,922 $291,546 $171,838
4 DeBordieu Colony Georgetown 696 $274,191 $237,560
5 Isle of Palms Charleston 4,370 $268,363 $160,417
6 Briarcliffe Acres Horry 545 $243,637 $134,375
7 Pimlico Berkeley 2,232 $227,005 $134,464
8 Pawleys Island Georgetown 135 $224,528 $91,250
9 Seabrook Island Charleston 2,103 $197,995 $117,386
10 Daufuskie Island Beaufort 569 $184,115 $146,349
11 The Cliffs Valley Greenville 842 $183,551 $129,667
12 Vance Orangeburg 124 $180,253 -$1
13 Baxter Village York 4,419 $169,811 $141,709
14 Tega Cay York 14,057 $169,602 $140,172
15 Silverstreet Newberry 166 $164,056 $97,500
16 Lake Murray of Richland Richland 6,914 $163,081 $111,477
17 Five Forks Greenville 18,592 $160,957 $133,750
18 Mount Pleasant Charleston 95,232 $155,726 $115,167
19 Fort Mill York 33,626 $146,042 $128,125
20 Hilton Head Island Beaufort 38,097 $141,072 $93,694

Median Income versus Average Income: Which Should You Use?

We usually suggest using median income data – either instead of or in addition to – average income data as a true indicator of wealth. If you haven’t thought about median versus average since your last standardized test, you aren’t alone. Here’s what they are:

  • average is the sum of a set of numbers divided by the count of numbers in the set
  • median is the middle number in the set of numbers
illustation of median vs average

Now let’s say you had the following simplified set of income data.

Household 1: $30,000
Household 2: $50,000
Household 3: $1,000,000

The average income for this set is $360,000. The outlier data point ($1,000,000) skews the average WAY up. Conversely, the average income would be skewed WAY down if someone had an income of $500. The median income for the same data set is $50,000. Outlier data doesn’t skew the median.

Most Business Owners Should Use Median Income

So most business owners should use the median income as a true indicator of wealth, because it provides a more accurate representation of a typical income, especially in areas with significant income disparity.

When Should You Use Average Income

If your target market is high-income households, the average income may be more relevant. This is because the average income can highlight the presence of a higher concentration of wealthy individuals, which is beneficial for luxury goods and services marketing. We’re using average income on this page because using the Census’s highest reported median value of $250,001 could result in multiple ties for the richest geography.

Why do so many cities have a median value of $250,001?

The Census' American Community Survey uses $250,000+ as a jam value for median income estimates to protect privacy, ensure data consistency, and simplify reporting. A "jam value" in survey data refers to a placeholder or default value used when actual data points are unavailable, incomplete, or exceed certain thresholds. We represent this jam value as $250,001 to make it easy for you to sort.

SOURCES

United States Census Bureau. Annual Estimates of the Resident Population: April 1, 2020 to July 1, 2023. U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division. Web. May 2024. http://www.census.gov/.

United States Census Bureau. B01001 SEX BY AGE, 2022 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates. U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey Office. Web. 7 December 2023. http://www.census.gov/.

United States Census Bureau. B19013 Median Household Income, 2022 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates. U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey Office. Web. 7 December 2023. http://www.census.gov/.

United States Census Bureau. “DP03 SELECTED ECONOMIC CHARACTERISTICS.” 2022 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates. U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey Office. Web. 07 December 2023. http://www.census.gov/.

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