Key findings

  • Aiken has a Livability Score of 68/100, which is considered average
  • Aiken crime rates are 57% higher than the South Carolina average
  • Cost of living in Aiken is 2% lower than the South Carolina average
  • Aiken real estate prices are 22% higher than the South Carolina average
  • Rental prices in Aiken are 6% higher than the South Carolina average

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      Top Rated Schools in Aiken

      Name Grades Students Proficiency
      South Aiken High9 - 121,44392%
      Silver Bluff High9 - 1267791%
      Aiken High9 - 121,43381%
      Chukker Creek ElementaryPK - 580759%
      Aiken Performing Arts Academy Charter9 - 123850%
      Aiken ElementaryPK - 583048%
      M. B. Kennedy Middle School6 - 890146%
      Millbrook ElementaryPK - 556946%
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      Aiken's Dirty Little Secrets

      The large (2100 acres) urban forest Hitchcock Woods is smack in the middle of Aiken. Hitchcock Woods is owned by the Hitchcock Woods Foundation, a very well-funded non-profit organization managed by a board of directors. Members of the board use prescribed (also referred to as controlled) burning to manage their forest. Among the directors' goals is restoration of the natural ecosystems of Hitchcock Woods, to a snapshot view of what this region looked like 10,000 years ago. The burn occurs daily, weather permitting, sometimes more than a hundred acres in one day. Burns are scheduled year-round except during Aiken's robust equestrian seasons, March into early April and for a week or so in October. These are also the best fundraising seasons for the board. (Hitchcock Woods supports many equestrian events.) The board does not risk choking out potential donors by burning during Aiken's busiest tourist seasons. Thus, visitors are often completely unaware of the burns. Smoke dispersal is a chronic concern. The burns' resulting heavy smoke and particulate travel throughout the entire town. Occasionally, especially with an evening weather inversion, the smoke settles at ground level. The burns will continue forever. The adverse health implications of exposure to this type of air contamination are well documented. The Foundation is aware of area residents' push-back and recognizes the resulting health complications as a potential deterrent to continued burning at will. So far, though (and for the past 25 years) the burns continue. And, because their largest neighbor burns, residents are quick to ignite their own debris in backyard pits and drums, further contributing to the region's unhealthy air. The Savannah River Site - - continues to take nuclear waste, most recently from the Swiss (That's right, as in Europe.) as part of the US federal government's nuclear non-proliferation agreements. There are various versions in the press about what will happen with all this waste, from shipping it to another state to on-site high-tech recycling into usable fuel. In vulgar terms, there is no certainty regarding the best way to flush the very full toilet that Aiken, South Carolina has become. Perhaps the saddest part of the story is that the fallout is common knowledge. Local media, including local television stations, regularly run advertisements that promote health and legal services to former employees and contractors who are suffering from radiation-related chronic illnesses as a result of their service at SRS.
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      Reason for reporting
      Source: The Aiken, SC data and statistics displayed above are derived from the 2016 United States Census Bureau American Community Survey (ACS).