USA TODAY US Edition
Largely rural state becoming more urban
Fueled by the growth in counties near Charleston and Myrtle Beach as well as nearby Charlotte, N.C., South Carolina’s population swelled 15.3% in the past decade to rank among the nation’s 10 fastest-growing states, 2010 U.S. Census data released Wednesday show.
“South Carolina is becoming increasingly more of an urban state,” said Doug Woodward, a research economist at the University of South Carolina. “That’s where the jobs are. That’s where people want to be. ”
Greenville County, on the Interstate 85 corridor between Atlanta and Charlotte, grew 18.9%, adding 71,609 people. The largest percentage growth came in Dorchester County, just outside Charleston, which grew nearly 42%. York County, in the suburbs of Charlotte, and Horry County, home of the vacation and retirement area of Myrtle Beach, each grew about 37%.
A significant reason for that, Woodward said, is the large number of African Americans moving from cities into suburbs where there are more job opportunities and housing.
A 148% increase in the Hispanic population was another factor in the state’s growth. Hispanics accounted for 23% of the state’s increase and now make up 5.1% of the total, up from 2.4% in the 2000 Census.
The state’s non-Hispanic white population grew nearly 12% and the non-Hispanic black population grew 8.6%. Blacks remained the state’s largest minority population at 28%. The Asian population surged 64% and is 1.3% of the state’s total.
Some rural counties — including Williamsburg, Hampton and Laurens — lost population.
“The history of those counties is largely agricultural and lowskilled manufacturing,” said Curtis Simon, an associate professor of economics at Clemson University.
“In an era of globalization, those people are going to have a hard time competing,” he said.