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Rural SC: Not Where It’s At …




|| By FITSNEWS ||  There’s an interesting post up on the website Road Snacks (um, yes … you read that right: Road Snacks) purporting to use “science and data” to determine the ten worst places to live in the Palmetto State.

Of course in the very next breath the author claims “this article is an opinion based on facts and is meant as infotainment. Don’t freak out.”

Anyway, the metrics appear to be somewhat legitimate.  Road Snacks’ Nick James used FBI crime data, Census data, Bureau of Labor Statistics data and other hard info to break down South Carolina’s ninety-four largest municipalities along the lines of population density, unemployment, median income, housing vacancy rates, education and crime.

Those metrics then get plugged in to produce a final score.  The lower the number, the worse the town.

Ready for James’ list?

1. Dillon – 16.42
2. Union – 18.25
3. Cheraw – 20.75
4. Chester – 23.25
5. Marion – 23.42
6. Abbeville – 25.42
7. Lancaster – 26.42
8. Lake City – 26.58
9. York – 26.92
10. Darlington – 27.58

The next ten cities on the list?  Laurens, Walterboro, Gaffney, Bennettsville, Myrtle Beach, Conway, Clinton, Georgetown, Parker and Greenwood.

Aside from Myrtle Beach (at No. 15), other large cities on the list include Spartanburg (No. 23), Columbia (No. 30), Greenville (No. 62) and Charleston (No. 88).  And again, according to the compilers of this list … the higher the ranking, the better.

Couple thoughts on the validity of this report …

First, we’d take issue with this website’s contention that population density is somehow a good thing.  We’d argue that’s not necessarily true.  Also, basing an academic ranking exclusively on the amount of government revenue flowing to a certain area is problematic.  Finally, the unemployment rate has become effectively meaningless these days in assessing the health of a workforce – as labor participation data is a far more reliable indicator.

Having said all that, there’s no denying the Palmetto State’s academic, employment and wage gaps are most pronounced in rural areas.  And there’s no denying crime is out of control throughout South Carolina.

But the real problem (as we’ve repeatedly argued) is that no matter where one lives in South Carolina, they are far less likely to have a job and far less likely to make a decent income than their peers in the rest of the country.

It’s been that way for decades … and it will continue to be that way until the Palmetto State’s leaders figure out a radical reversal of their current governing philosophy (a.k.a. “Mo Problems, Mo Money”) is needed.

But hey … “it’s a great day in South Carolina,” right?