Charleston cost of living index

In the event that the cost of living data was unavailable for this city, estimates based upon nearby cities were used. Each cost of living index is based on a national average of 100. If the amount is below 100, it is lower than the national average. If the amount is above 100, it is higher than the national average.
IndexCharlestonSouth CarolinaNational
Cost of living index11295100
IndexCharlestonSouth CarolinaNational
Goods & Services index102101100
Groceries index108109100
Health care index107100100
Housing index13180100
Transportation index9493100
Utilities index112104100
An overview of the general cost of living index for Charleston, SC is displayed above for your reference. Residents in Charleston, SC enjoy a cost of living index of 112. This index is 18% higher than the South Carolina average, and 12% higher than the national average. The following categories are used when determining the cost of living index for any given city: health care (5%), transportation (9%), utilities (10%), groceries (13%), housing (30%), and goods/services (33%). Clearly, housing and goods/services make up the majority of the formula for calculating the cost of living index. Because of this, the general cost of living for any given area can be estimated by looking at the cost of everyday goods in that area. For those living in Charleston, SC, the average cost of goods and services is 2% higher than it is in South Carolina, and it is 2% higher than the national average.

Did you know?

  • The cost of living in Charleston is 18% higher than the South Carolina average.
  • The cost of living in Charleston is 12% higher than the national average.
  • The cost of housing in Charleston is 31% higher than the national average.
  • South Carolina general sales tax is 18% higher than the national average.
  • South Carolina state income tax is 100% lower than the national average.

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Salary Calculator

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Price difference in compared to
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Groceries index
Health care index
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The salary calculator allows you to compare how much your current salary in Charleston, SC would be worth in another city. In other words, the salary calculator will adjust the figure you enter for cost of living so that you can determine how much more or much less you would need to earn while maintaining your current quality of living. If you are considering relocating to a more expensive city than Charleston, SC, the calculator will tell you how much more you need to earn so you can assess job offers more accurately. The Charleston, SC salary calculator is easy to use. All you do is enter the name of another city, then move the slider to your current income. After that, the salary calculator will crunch the numbers for you and give you the information you need about the place you are considering going. Additionally, it will show a detailed breakdown of the cost of living.

Median Income & Debt-To-Income Ratio

Median IncomePer YearPer MonthMax Budget (28% DTI)Max Budget (36% DTI)
Owners$82,923$6,910$1,935$2,488
Renters$31,861$2,655$743$956
If you want to find a good determining factor for the cost of living and the general affordability of housing in Charleston, SC, all you must look at is the percentage of monthly income that should be spent on housing expenses, otherwise known as the debt-to-income ratio (DTI). Generally speaking, no more than 28 percent of your total gross income should be spent on your housing expenses and not more than 36 percent of your gross income on total expenses, including debts. In Charleston, SC, the median monthly income is $82,923 for those who own their own homes. Under the standard rule, that income level would allow for $1,935 to be budgeted for housing expenses each month, at the most. Renters, on the other hand, earn about $31,861, per the median income in the area. That would allow for renters to spend up to $743 on monthly rental expenses.

South Carolina Sales Tax

StateGeneral Sales TaxWith Max Surtax
South Carolina6%9%

South Carolina Income Tax

StateIncome Tax (Low)Income Tax (High)
South Carolina0%7%
For those who live in Charleston, SC and want to know what the true cost of living is, they ought to look at both the South Carolina income tax rate and the South Carolina sales tax rate. By sales tax, we mean the taxes that are included whenever a person is purchasing any goods or services. The amount that is taxed depends upon the particular state, where some states have a sales tax of zero percent while others can have a tax higher than seven percent. In South Carolina, the sales tax is 6%, while the most you'll pay in surtax is 9%. There is also income tax to consider, which is based upon the amount of money made in a year. Just like sales tax, income tax depends upon the particular state but also depends upon what tax bracket the person is in. Income tax for the state can be higher than nine percent in some states to zero percent in others. For those that live in South Carolina, the income tax rate ranges between 0% to 7%.

Goods & Services

ItemCharlestonNational avg.Difference
Haircut $14.75$14.591.1%
Beauty Salon $38.90$34.6812.2%
Toothpaste $2.99$2.4720.9%
Shampoo $1.19$1.0216.4%
Movie $6.92$9.8729.9%
Bowling $3.31$4.3924.6%

Groceries

ItemCharlestonNational avg.Difference
Ground Beef $4.52$4.481.0%
Fried Chicken $1.69$1.4615.4%
Milk $2.46$2.364.4%
Potatoes $3.66$3.0619.6%
Pizza $9.00$9.242.6%
Beer $8.79$8.631.8%

Health Care

ItemCharlestonNational avg.Difference
Optometrist $100.50$99.780.7%
Doctor $108.23$105.033.0%
Dentist $104.00$88.7017.2%
Ibuprofen $10.19$9.418.3%
Lipitor $292.98$298.501.8%

Housing

ItemCharlestonNational avg.Difference
Home Price $248,200.00$175,700.0041.3%
Avg. Mortgage Payment $918.55$1,081.0315.0%
Apartment Rent $989.00$920.007.5%

Transportation

ItemCharlestonNational avg.Difference
Gasoline $2.02$2.093.6%
Tire Balancing $38.79$45.2914.3%

Utilities

ItemCharlestonNational avg.Difference
All Electricity$202.42$170.8018.5%
Phone $28.92$28.262.3%
Although the cost of living data is updated regularly, this cost of living information is to be used as estimates only as prices can change on an ongoing basis.

Nearby cities with low cost of living

City, StatePopulationCost of Living IndexNational Avg.
North Charleston, SC102,14398-2%
Hanahan, SC18,9991033%
Goose Creek, SC38,5451033%
Mount Pleasant, SC72,37912727%
Folly Beach, SC2,67916060%
Charleston, SC125,45811212%

Cities with similar population

City, StatePopulationCost of Living IndexNational Avg.
Stamford, CT125,40116161%
Simi Valley, CA125,69914545%
Hartford, CT125,21111313%
Coral Springs, FL125,15011616%
Concord, CA125,01714040%
Charleston, SC125,45811212%
Source: The Charleston, SC cost of living data displayed above is derived from the Council for Community and Economic Research (C2ER) for the fourth quarter of 2015.