This Is the South Carolina City Experts Rank as the State’s #1 Dirtiest

Written by Patrick MacFarland
Published: March 11, 2024
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You can learn a lot when you’re traveling. You learn about the culture of the place, the cuisine, and a myriad of other things. Overall, it’s a learning experience. But when you visit a new city, you also notice if it’s clean or dirty. There are a lot of factors that go into why a city is dirty. Sometimes it has to do with the pollution in the city. Also, it’s how people live — whether the streets are paved, cleaned, or many other things. Another facet is how the city’s infrastructure looks. So let’s take a look at what experts rate as the dirtiest city in South Carolina. 

About Charleston

Charleston south Carolina

During colonial times in the United States, Charleston was the fourth most populous city, as well as the richest.

©SeanPavonePhoto/iStock via Getty Images

Founded in 1670, Charleston, SC, is located along the Atlantic Ocean where the Ashley, Wando, and Cooper Rivers meet. Although not the capital, the city is the most populated in South Carolina with a population of 150,000. Charleston is named after King Charles II and its history is quite significant when it comes to its early colonial history, although controversial when it comes to slavery and during the Civil War period. A monumental thing happened in 2018 when the city formally proclaimed its apology for playing a part in the slave trade in the country.

Pollution in Charleston

Two types of pollution are, unfortunately, quite rampant in the city of Charleston. The first type of pollution is air pollution. This is because there are a lot of cars, trucks, and corporations dirtying up the air. luckily in the past couple of years, Charleston has done slightly better. The other type of pollution is water pollution, and this is due to the amount of sea vessel traffic near Charleston’s port. Environmentalists have called on new laws to curb the amount of sea vessels entering Charleston waters. 

City’s Living Conditions

Charleston harbor

The first public university, the first museum, and the first playhouse all came about in Charleston.


Charleston’s crime rate is a little higher than the national average, but it is mostly at par with other larger cities. When it comes to bugs, there are a lot of them, especially in the summer. This is due to its humidity during the summer months, but it is still quite bothersome to have a lot of bugs, especially cockroaches roaming around the streets. Lastly, residents have complained about the trash and other nastiness on the Charleston streets. They have called on the government to do cleanups and do more to ensure that the city is cleaner. 

Infrastructure in Charleston

When it comes to Charleston’s infrastructure, it ranks #59 which means that the city’s infrastructure is satisfactory. But going further than that, there are adequate amounts of landfills, junk yards, and recycling centers. Overall, people are relatively satisfied with Charleston on all accounts.


And there you have it, Charleston is the dirtiest city in South Carolina. Experts have ranked Charleston as the dirtiest city because of several factors like pollution, the city’s living conditions, and the city’s infrastructure. Charleston is definitely much cleaner than most bigger cities around the nation, but unfortunately, it is less clean than other cities in the state.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © SeanPavonePhoto/iStock via Getty Images

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About the Author

Patrick Macfarland is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering travel, geography, and history. Patrick has been writing for more than 10 years. In the past, he has been a teacher and a political candidate. He holds a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science from SDSU and a Master's Degree in European Union Studies from CIFE. From San Diego, California, Patrick loves to travel and try new recipes to cook.

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