U.S. News analyzed 100 metro areas in the United States to find the best places to live based on quality of life and the job market in each metro area, as well as the value of living there and people's desire to live there. Charleston ranks as #27 with an overall score of 6.8 out of 10.
What's the cost of living in Charleston, SC?
The average Charleston resident earns less than the average American. Also, the region's cost of living is noticeably higher than the national average, which makes Charleston a difficult place to live for those on a budget. Housing costs are fairly high in the area, and Charlestonians tend to pay more for everyday expenses – such as food and transportation – than residents of other U.S. metro areas.
What kind of jobs are there in Charleston, SC?
Charleston's tourism industry is booming. The influx of travelers – particularly during the summer months – creates a variety of jobs, especially in the hospitality and service industries.
The technology industry is also big in Charleston, and downtown offices continue bustling even in tourism's off-season. The sales, advertising, marketing and art professionals also contribute to Charleston's year-round livelihood. Some of the metro area's largest employers are manufacturing companies, including Boeing and Nucor Steel.
The region's unemployment rate is roughly equal to the national average.
What's the weather like in Charleston, SC?
Heat and humidity sometimes make it tough to enjoy Charleston's outdoor spaces, generally between May and September. These summer months can prove unbearably hot, soupy and mosquito-filled. The other three seasons offer comfortable temperatures that residents enjoy; however, Charleston's location on the Atlantic Ocean makes it susceptible to hurricanes and tropical storms.
What's the best way to get around Charleston, SC?
Downtown Charleston is small, covering just under 8 square miles. Most people drive to get around and, unfortunately, this leads to traffic congestion. Traffic is a particularly large problem in the summer when the region teems with tourists.
Public parking is available almost everywhere; however, there are usually high costs or long walks involved. There is no metro rail or subway, but there is a trolley and public bus service offered through Charleston Area Regional Transportation Authority. Biking is also a viable means of transportation, and because the region is very flat, it makes it easier to get somewhere by bike.
The Charleston International Airport is only about 12 miles from downtown Charleston. Amtrak trains stop in North Charleston (about 10 miles northwest of downtown), while Greyhound buses stop about halfway between the city center and the airport.
Who lives in Charleston, SC?
Charleston's median age skews slightly older, though the downtown area features large pockets of younger residents, particularly around the College of Charleston. The region also bursts with youth during the summer months, as the service industry hires extra employees to handle the influx of seasonal tourism.
Charleston, nicknamed the Holy City, is home to more than 400 places of worship for various religions and different denominations. When it comes to politics, the metro area is pretty evenly split between liberal and conservative views, though Democrats hold a slight majority.
Downtown Charleston caters more to millennials and residents without children at home, though there are families who call the region home. Neighboring communities like Mount Pleasant, James Island and Daniel Island are popular among families who need more space without the premium cost.
Similar to most metro areas, homelessness remains an issue in Charleston, and the area offers several emergency shelters for these individuals.
What is there to do in Charleston, SC?
Charleston is a foodie's heaven. The booming food and beverage industry provides countless places to eat, drink and be entertained. After a delicious meal, residents can catch a performance at the area's new Gaillard Center, or they might walk off their calories with a stroll at the waterfront Battery Park.
Speaking of exercise, the town is very active. Outdoor yoga classes are quite popular, as are water sports like surfing, paddle boarding, kayaking and fishing. The surrounding towns – Mount Pleasant, Folly Beach and Isle of the Palms – offer additional outlets for such outdoor activities, too.
Charleston also has a long, intriguing past, leaving many historic places to tour and visit: Fort Sumter, various plantations and historic homes, Charleston City Market, Charles Towne Landing and the famous Angel Oak Tree are just a few of the must-see places.
To read the complete US News and World Report on Charleston, SC click here: http://realestate.usnews.com/places/south-carolina/charleston