The people who can answer the question why someone might consider moving to Westminster, South Carolina are those who already live here!
In preparation of publishing the City of Westminster's Comprehensive Plan, the Planning Commission with cooperation from the Chamber of Commerce and the South Carolina Apple Festival Committee, conducted a survey of residents of the city.
The commission conducted the survey both online and in person at a booth at the annual Apple Festival, asking only those who lived inside the city limits to respond to the questions.
The reasons most often given by survey participants about what they like most about living in Westminster was the "small-town atmosphere" and the "friendly, hometown feeling" of the city. Others said they appreciated the "family-friendly nature" of Westminster and the "good neighbor" environment of the city.
Those with school-age children said they liked the quality of education that their children were receiving and the lower teacher-to-student ratios in the area's schools, compared to others across the state and nation.
Some survey participants said what they liked most was the very low crime rate in the city, and one respondant said the best thing about living in Westminster was that he could have backyard chickens inside the city limits.
It's true, city ordinances allow residents to have chickens as long as they are not free range. Or as one city official once put it, "You can have chickens as long as they don't cross the road!"
Statistics certainly back-up the subjective survey responses. According to the latest U.S. Census estimates, the population of Westminster as of 2015 was 2,539.
There are a total of 1,035 households inside the city limits, according to 2010 Census figures, 61.9 percent of those households are considered "family households" while 38.1 percent of those households are individuals who are living alone.
As of 2010, only 13.8 percent of Westminster residents were living below the poverty level, which matches the 13.8 percent throughout the United States who were below poverty level in 2010.
But statistics do not reveal the true Southern charm of Westminster, where a portion of historic Main Street is blocked off one evening a week throughout the summer for "Music on Main" where live bands perform and vendors provide food and refreshment.
Census figures don't show the number of local growers who show up on Tuesday afternoons in the season for Farmer's Market at the gazebo on Main Street or the antique car owners who are encouraged to Cruise Westminster on summer Friday nights.
In some ways, moving to Westminster is like moving back in time. It's like "Back to the Future" with fried apple pies.
As of 2014, the median price of a home in Westminster was $98,100, which is lower that the median price of $137,400 in the state of South Carolina and well under the national average of $181,400 in 2014.
Of those homes, 56.7 percent are owner occupied, 25.5 percent are renter occupied, leaving 17.8 percent of vacant homes in the city as of 2015. That means there are approximately 229 affordable, vacant homes available inside the city limits.
Of the 732 owner-occupied homes in the city, 253 are valued under $100,000; 205 valued under $150,000; and 121 under $200,000.
Westminster also falls well below the state and national averages for mortgage payments and rental payments. The average monthly mortgage payment in the city is $919, while the average renter pays $525 per month. The U.S. average is $1,559 for mortgage payments and $821 for monthly rental payments.
Of those home owners who are making mortgage payments, 62.47 percent of them are paying less that 30 percent of their total income for housing expenses, according to 2010 Census figures. That's the highest percentage of all other municipalities in Oconee County, South Carolina paying less than 30 percent for housing costs.
If the merchants, stores and restaurants along Main Street in Westminster can't supply your shopping needs, you are just minutes away from big box stores and major retailers in every direction, in Oconee County and surrounding counties.
Our local businesses, can usually supply most of your everyday needs, but if you have a "professional shopper" in the family looking for a big-city shopping experience, we are located near Interstate-85, less than one hour from Greenville, SC to the north and two hours from Atlanta, Georgia to the south.
If you require employment opportunities, Westminster is an ideal location. Within five miles of the city there are major manufacturing employers including Sandvik, ITT Corp, US Engineer Valve Corp, Ulbrich Precision, Lift Technologies, and 13 other manufacturers.
Within 10 miles of Westminster you will find BorgWarner, Itron, BASF Corp, Schneider Electric, Koyo Bearings, Johnson Controls, Sealed Air Corp, and 33 other manufacturing plants. There are an estimated 4,200 manufacturing jobs within a 10-mile radius of the city.
The average temperature of Westminster is 58.03 F, which is lower than the South Carolina average temperature of 61.70 F and is higher than the national average temperature of 54.45 F.
Here are other Westminster weather statistics:
As you can see on other pages of this website, there are many recreational opportunities and natural resources in the area to attract any outdoor enthusiast.
Surrounded by lakes, mountain ranges, waterfalls, white water rivers, and golf courses, Oconee County offers an abundance of hunting, fishing, camping, hiking, boating, kayaking, and white water rafting opportunities to keep any active family busy.
Westminster is simply a great place to raise a family.
According to U.S. Census 2015 estimates, this is the age distribution of Westminster's population:
The following is the race/ethnicity breakdown of the population of Westminster, according to U.S. Census 2015 estimates:
Source: City of Westminster Comprehensive Plan, 2017.
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