Overall 11%
Goods & Services 4%
Housing 35%
Date & Last Updated: This data reflects 2020 and was released from C2ER in January, 2021; this is the most current data available.
The cost of living index is based on a national average of 100. For example, if the cost of living is 90, then it is 10% lower than average. If the cost of living is 110, then it is 10% higher than average. The breakdown for each index is as follows: goods & services (33%), groceries (13%), health care (5%), housing (30%), transportation (9%) and utilities (10%). If the cost of living data was unavailable for this city, estimates based upon nearby cities were used.
IndexCharlestonSouth CarolinaNational
Cost of living11194100
Goods & Services9699100
Health care9994100

Key findings

  • The cost of living in Charleston is 19% higher than the South Carolina average
  • The cost of living in Charleston is 11% higher than the national average
  • Charleston housing is 35% 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

Most Affordable Places to Live in and Around Charleston

See all the best places to live around Charleston

Compare Charleston, SC Cost of Living

      How would you rate the cost of living in Charleston?
      Write a review to give others more information about this area.
      Is the cost of living increasing or decreasing in Charleston?
      Write a review to give others more information about this area.
      See all Charleston poll results

      Salary Calculator

      This is how much you would need to earn in
      Price difference in compared to
      Cost of living index
      Goods & Services index
      Groceries index
      Health care index
      Housing index
      Transportation index
      Utilities index

      Median Income & Debt-To-Income Ratio

      Median IncomePer YearPer MonthMax Budget (28% DTI)Max Budget (36% DTI)
      A good indicator of the general affordability of housing in Charleston, SC, 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, the median monthly income is $85,700 for those who own their own homes. Under the standard rule, that income level would allow for $2,000 to be budgeted for housing expenses each month, at the most. Renters, on the other hand, earn about $37,219, per the median income in the area. That would allow for renters to spend up to $868 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%

      Goods & Services

      ItemCharlestonNational avg.Difference
      Haircut $19.37$18.624.0%
      Beauty Salon $57.83$39.0548.1%
      Toothpaste $2.61$2.3411.3%
      Shampoo $1.00$1.065.7%
      Movie $10.22$10.684.3%
      Bowling $17.27$14.6717.7%


      ItemCharlestonNational avg.Difference
      Ground Beef $4.68$4.2210.9%
      Fried Chicken $1.27$1.398.4%
      Milk $2.25$2.0510.0%
      Potatoes $4.23$3.2928.5%
      Pizza $8.86$10.6216.6%
      Beer $10.27$9.389.5%

      Health Care

      ItemCharlestonNational avg.Difference
      Optometrist $81.87$108.5724.6%
      Doctor $131.23$116.1713.0%
      Dentist $102.76$99.133.7%
      Ibuprofen $9.75$9.680.8%
      Lipitor $357.41$466.9223.5%


      ItemCharlestonNational avg.Difference
      Home Price $269,400.00$184,700.0045.9%
      Avg. Mortgage Payment $1,063.62$1,197.4211.2%
      Apartment Rent $1,052.00$949.0010.9%


      ItemCharlestonNational avg.Difference
      Gasoline $2.06$2.227.5%
      Tire Balancing $47.58$50.075.0%


      ItemCharlestonNational avg.Difference
      All Electricity$228.13$167.6736.1%
      Phone $187.31$175.646.6%
      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, SC106,11396-4%
      Goose Creek, SC40,5531011%
      Hanahan, SC20,7101011%
      James Island, SC11,8441099%
      Mount Pleasant, SC77,90712929%
      Charleston, SC129,88811111%

      Cities with similar population

      City, StatePopulationCost of Living IndexNational Avg.
      Enterprise, NV129,62011212%
      Cedar Rapids, IA129,53793-7%
      New Haven, CT130,40511414%
      Carrollton, TX129,2661044%
      Thornton, CO130,5111077%
      Charleston, SC129,88811111%
      Source: The Charleston, SC cost of living data displayed above is derived from the Council for Community and Economic Research (C2ER) for 2020.