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North Carolina vs South Carolina – Which is the Best Place to Live?

Hey there, Marti Hampton here! Have you ever wondered about the differences between North and South Carolina? Often referred to collectively as the Carolinas, there are a lot of similarities. But there are notable differences too.

Today, I’m going to break them down in a side-by-side comparison. If you’re thinking about making a move and these two states are on your list, you won’t want to miss this.

We’re going to cover everything from cost-of-living to job opportunities, education, climate and environment, and lifestyle.

And if you end up leaning toward North Carolina and Raleigh ends up high on your list, stick around so I can let you know how to get in touch with one of our Marti Hampton Real Estate agents.

Cost of Living in NC vs SC

Up first, cost-of-living. Compared to other states, both North Carolina and South Carolina rank pretty well in this area. But South Carolina does have a slight edge.

Keep in mind that these costs vary based on where you live in each state. Bigger cities like Raleigh or Charlotte in North Carolina and Charleston or Greenville in South Carolina will both have higher costs than more rural areas.

Let’s see exactly how they stack up.

It’s about 14% less expensive to live in South Carolina overall. This is due to more affordable housing and overall lower taxes. But North Carolina’s property taxes are lower and healthcare-related expenses are too.

Either way, both states are still pretty attractive when it comes to cost-of-living.

Job Opportunities in NC vs SC

So what about job opportunities? This is another close one. Both states have growing job markets and low unemployment rates.

According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, South Carolina was recently named the fastest-growing job market in the country.

And North Carolina had two cities that made Indeed’s list as the best places in the country for job-seekers: Raleigh and Durham-Chapel Hill.

While they both have thriving economies, the job opportunities they offer are pretty different. Your industry and career goals might be the deciding factor on this one.

In North Carolina, there are a wide variety of booming industries. Some of the most rapidly growing are biotechnology, energy, finance, and IT.

The Raleigh area is well-known for Research Triangle Park, or RTP, the largest research park in the country. You may have recently heard about Apple’s plans to build its East Coast hub in RTP.

The thriving tech industry means exciting job opportunities. North Carolina is also known for food processing & manufacturing and furniture.

South Carolina is known for manufacturing, automotive, and tech. The largest growth recently has been in industries like leisure and hospitality, education and health services, construction, and government. You’ll find companies like Michelin and Commonwealth headquartered there.

Education in NC vs SC

Now, let’s move on to the topic on top of most parents’ minds – education. In both states, you’ll find a mix of public, private, and charter schools to choose from.

In North Carolina, Wake County has a highly regarded public school system. And there’s no shortage of opportunities for higher education. We can claim the first HBCU in the country and top-rated universities like Duke and UNC-Chapel Hill.

Not to be outdone, South Carolina has excellent universities like Clemson and USC.

Weather in NC vs SC

On to the great outdoors. You might think that neighboring states would be more alike in this area.

While both have tons of outdoor recreation options, the landscape and weather dictate which activities are more popular in each state.

North Carolina has stunning mountain ranges perfect for skiing, hiking, and rock climbing in the west. While the east coast offers beautiful beaches ideal for swimming, surfing, and exploring the Outer Banks.

Across the state, you’ll find opportunities for kayaking, whitewater rafting, canoeing, and fishing.

South Carolina is home to Congaree National Park’s cypress swamps and Paris Mountain States Park’s vast hiking and biking trail systems.

It has a flatter landscape, perfect for beach lovers. Boating, fishing, and water sports are a way of life for many. Plus, thanks to its subtropical climate, South Carolina enjoys slightly warmer temperatures year-round compared to North Carolina.

You’ll experience more of a change of seasons in North Carolina and can enjoy snow activities in cities like Asheville, Brevard, and Boone.

(in a playful tone) And can you really even call it winter if you haven’t been snow tubing at a Sugar Mountain or Beech Mountain resort?

Community in NC vs SC

Finally, that brings us to community and lifestyle. Here again, the city you live in will have a big impact on what the culture and lifestyle is like.

Both states are known for their Southern charm. They each have high inbound rates for people moving there and have been attracting people from across the country, from Seattle to Florida.

You’ll notice more diversity in many parts of North Carolina as its urban areas like Raleigh and Charlotte are becoming melting pots of various cultures. If you’re looking for a food, arts, or music scene you may be more likely to find what you’re looking for here.

If you prefer a slower pace and coastal charm, that may sway you toward South Carolina.

And even though this isn’t a food segment, I have to mention barbecue when comparing the Carolinas. Both states have amazing options, but North Carolina leans towards pulled pork while South Carolina tends toward mustard sauce. Tough choice, right?

Lastly, while political preferences might not be a primary factor for everyone, it’s worth noting that this is an area where these states are pretty distinct. South Carolina tends to be more conservative and North Carolina tends to be more politically diverse.

And there you have it – the lowdown on the Carolinas. Now you’ll have to lean on your personal preferences and priorities when you make a decision on which one is right for you.

If you’re leaning toward North Carolina, hang out and explore these other videos for detailed insights about what it’s like to live in Raleigh.

And while we’ve tried to cover everything in our videos, nothing quite beats talking to one of our experienced agents.

If you’re interested in learning more, or ready to take the next step in finding the North Carolina home of your dreams, fill out the form below. Someone from our team will be in touch soon!

Fill out the form below to schedule a quick call with one of our agents and let them know what you’re looking for. We’ll find that perfect home for you!\

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