The 2020 Census results are in, and South Carolina ranked among the fastest growing states in the country.
South Carolina’s population grew 10.7 percent since 2010, the second largest population expansion east of the Mississippi, surpassed only by Florida. As their license plates attest, South Carolina’s population of 5,118,425 was driven by individuals moving in from other states, as opposed to international migration.
The five counties with the greatest percentage population increases are:
With the exception of Lancaster, those same counties also experienced the largest absolute headcount population increases:
|Horry||81,738 to 351,029|
|Greenville||74,309 to 525,534|
|Charleston||58,026 to 408,235|
|York||56,017 to 282,090|
|Berkeley||52,018 to 229,861|
Despite the population explosion in several parts of the state, overall the state’s population growth was very uneven – only 24 of the state 46 counties grew since 2010, and several rural counties experienced a significant loss of population:
The metropolitan areas got bigger and the population of rural areas shrunk. This uneven growth will make the work of redistricting in the South Carolina House and Senate even trickier. All districts are supposed to have about the same population. Increased population density means metropolitan areas will gain districts, while rural districts will have to span more counties to have enough population for representation. No legislator wants to find himself or herself moved into the district of another, but that may happen.
With a 2.2 percent increase in children aged 0-17, South Carolina is bucking the national trend. Fully 29 states experienced a decline or no change in that demographic. While that’s bad news for the no growth states, the increased population of children in South Carolina will help soften the blow of the sharp drop-off in high school graduates expected to begin nationally in the next few years. That growth in South Carolina is important for SCICU member colleges and universities as fully 70 percent of their students are state residents.