South Carolina cities have room to improve in national entrepreneurial survey

Best CitiesSeven South Carolina cities were ranked in a recent national study of the best cities to start a business. Charleston-North Charleston ranked the highest of the seven, coming in at 82 of the 358 cities studied. Myrtle Beach-Conway-North Myrtle Beach is listed at 144, Columbia at 154, Greenville-Anderson-Mauldin at 185, Spartanburg at 277, Sumter at 310 and Florence at 340.

The study found that the best cities have low costs of living, high levels of business activity, easy commutes and friendly tax practices. Cheyenne, Wis., ranked at the top of the list as the best city to start a business in 2017.

The study analyzed data from 358 metropolitan areas with more than 50,000 people on 17 metrics and ranked the cities according to the Total Index Score for each. The study used data collected from the U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey, Business Dynamics Statistics, Tax Foundation and Bureau of Labor Statistics and a survey of 150 small business owners distributed throughout the country to understand what metrics are most important to them. The survey included questions about labor costs, revenue and taxes.

The 17 metrics measured for the study’s rankings included:

  • Employment (10%)
    • Unemployment rate
    • Median household income
    • Poverty level
  • Quality of life (10%)
    • Commuting to work
  • Education (15%)
    • Bachelor’s or higher
  • International diversity (5%)
    • Percent foreign born
  • Cost of living (15%)
    • Ratio mortgage value to household income
    • Monthly housing costs
    • Median gross rent 1 bedroom
  • Business activity
    • Firms per 100 employable people
    • New establishments +/- rate per 100
    • Percent of new firms started in past year
    • Percentage of total employment from startups
  • Taxes (15%)
    • Combined state and local sales tax rate
    • Property taxes

View the entire results of the survey here.