The Charleston area tended to score near the top among places to live in the state, although a few communities tumbled due to lower educational and family life factors.

The findings stem from a recent survey by WalletHub. 

In its 2018’s Best Places to Live in South Carolina report, the personal-finance website notes that home values in the Palmetto State are up 7.2 percent in the past year and expected to grow another 6 percent in the next year.

"South Carolina isn’t one of the biggest states economy-wise," WalletHub says. "It ranks 26th out of the 50 states by GDP (gross domestic product). But it is doing fairly well, as its unemployment rate of 4 percent is right in line with the national average. The housing market is healthy, too," the researcher notes.

WalletHub compared more than 50 cities in the state across a host of indicators for family-friendliness, "ranging from number of attractions to median family income to the quality of the school system."

In its breakdown by communities, the firm found that Mount Pleasant ranked second in South Carolina, the highest among local cities and towns. The East Cooper town of close to 80,000 people ranked first in the education, health and safety category; second in socio-economics; fifth for family life and fun; and 17th for affordability.

Placing first overall was Five Forks, an affluent "census-designated" area 11 miles east of Greenville with 8,000 people. The community placed first in affordability and in socio-economics. Beaufort scored best in family life and fun but was hindered by low rankings for education, health and safety and in affordability.

The Lowcountry ranked in the top half for the most part, including:

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  • Charleston, 12th overall; 11 - family life and fun, 10 - education, health, safety, 22 - affordability, 21 - socio-economics.
  • James Island, 13th overall; 42 - family life and fun, 12 - education, health, safety, 18 - affordability, 8 - socio-economics.
  • Summerville, 18th overall; 22 - family life and fun, 15 - education, health, safety, 26 - affordability, 25 - socio-economics.
  • Hanahan, 23rd overall; 40 - family life and fun, 6 - education, health, safety, 38 - affordability, 19 - socio-economics.
  • Ladson, 25th overall; 48 - family life and fun, 21 - education, health, safety, 28 - affordability, 26 - socio-economics.
  • North Charleston, 43rd overall; 34 - family life and fun, 46 - education, health, safety, 40 - affordability, 37 - socio-economics.

Among other measures of raising a family, metro Charleston placed 11th in median family income (adjusted for cost of living), 19th in quality of school system, 28th for high school graduation rate, 9th in violent-crime rate, 20th in percentage of families living below the poverty level, 2nd (lowest) in unemployment rate, 22nd in divorce rate and 7th in playgrounds per capita.