Daufuskie Island is the latest Lowcountry location to find itself on a national or international “must-see” or “Top 10” list.
However, the ranking has some longtime residents chuckling and scratching their heads.
Real estate blog Movoto has ranked Daufuskie Island 10th on its list of the nation’s “most stressed-out” ZIP codes. The blog, which takes a humorous look at real estate data and trends, concedes, however, the secluded community doesn’t quite fit with the other areas on the list.
Daufuskie Island ranks just behind ZIP codes that include farmland on the Ohio-Pennsylvania border, three rural Mississippi towns and a neighborhood abutting Houston’s international airport.
The rankings were compiled using census data for more than 28,300 ZIP codes across the country to analyze which areas have the most potent combination of stress-inducing circumstances – for instance, high unemployment, long work-week hours and commute times, and low median incomes.
Island residents aren’t stressing about the designation, though.
“That’s hysterical. Have they ever been here?” chuckled long-time resident Catherine Tillman, who publishes an island newsletter called The Front Porch. “Just look at the most recent Front Porch to see all we’re thankful for. In that same issue, there’s a one-page letter about how magnificent and peaceful and restful the island is.”
Movoto’s analysis knocks the island because of relatively high unemployment, long work hours, and homeownership costs that amount to about a quarter of residents’ income, according to the blog.
It also notes the island’s 47-minute average work commute, but that might just be the most out-of-touch part, chided Cheryl Morgan, a resident and real estate agent.
“When I take people to tour a home out there, I joke with them that it’s either, ‘I have to take a boat’ or ‘I get to take a boat,’” she said with a laugh. “If they say ‘have,’ then I'll take ‘em right on back because that’s that.”
On the ferry ride Tuesday morning from Daufuskie’s Haig Point community to Hilton Head Island, part-time resident Lori Cumming looked over the most-stressed rankings and laughed.
She and her husband built a second home in Haig Point five years ago and visit about a dozen times a year from their primary home in Michigan. In fact, the island is so effective at relieving stress accumulated at work back home, they hope to retire to the island as soon as possible.
“It’s not stressed at all,” she said. “It’s the opposite. It’s on ‘island time.’ That’s why we love it.”