Another study has found that South Carolina relies heavily on government aid compared to other states, ranking 43rd in terms of government independence, according to WalletHub’s June report. When looking at overall dependency (financial, government, job-market, international and personal vice dependency), South Carolina ranks sixth worst in the nation.
The study largely uses federal funding to measure government dependence, but it also looked at factors such as subsidized housing units, reliance on public assistance and food programs, and states’ share of government-employed workers. In March, WalletHub ranked South Carolina as the seventh most federally dependent state, and the S.C. Department of Commerce reports that 17% of state workers are employed by the government, according to 2020 population data.
Government will continue playing a big role in South Carolina unless state leaders opt to change course. As we recently noted, the FY23-24 state budget includes double-digit spending hikes for numerous state agencies, and no less than three new state agencies have been created since 2017. Because federal funding makes up about a third of South Carolina’s budget, Washington controls, or at least influences, many of our programs and policies.
On the plus side, South Carolina ranks 18th when it comes to the job market, which takes into account job growth, unemployment, job creation and industry variety. If lawmakers keep pursuing favorable tax and regulatory policies that encourage natural business growth (and cut down on handouts for select businesses), South Carolina’s economic success will continue.
When it comes to drug and alcohol use, smoking, gambling addiction, TV consumption, and other habits dubbed vices, South Carolina ranks 39th on independence. While South Carolinians should be free to make their own lifestyle choices and live how they want within the law, increasing financial freedom (another area S.C. ranks poorly) will improve quality of life for residents and could help to reduce substance dependence.
Click here to read the full report.