South Carolina Population 2018

5,088,916

Situated on the southeastern tip of the United States, South Carolina is one of the smallest states in the country but has a high population density by comparison. It's estimated that South Carolina's population reached 5.09 million in 2018, up from 4.62 million at the 2010 Census. South Carolina currently enjoys a growth rate of 1.06%, which ranks 18th in the country.

The last set of confirmed population figures in the United States came with the nationwide Census carried out in 2010. At the time, it was confirmed that there were 4,625,364 people living in the state -- a rise of just over 15% on the figures declared in 2000. The Census Bureau estimates there are 5.09 million residents of South Carolina in 2018, making it the 24th most populous state in the entire country.

South Carolina Area and Population Density

Like many states on the eastern edge of the country, South Carolina is densely populated in comparison to its relatively small size. The state has an overall surface area of 32,020 square miles (82,931 square kilometers) which makes it just the 40th largest in the US.

For every square mile of South Carolina territory, however, there is an average of 153.9 people. That figure makes the state the 19th most densely populated in the country.

The two largest cities in South Carolina are Columbia (pop 133,803) and Charleston (pop 132,609), followed by North Charleston (pop 108,304). These are the only cities in the state with a population over 100,000.

Interestingly, South Carolina's metropolitan statistical areas are much larger than they appear based on the central city populations. Because of South Carolina law regarding unincorporated areas around city limits, most city proper populations seem smaller than the actual size of the area.

For example, Columbia, Greenville and Charleston each have urbanized area populations between 400,000 and 550,000, with the metropolitan statistical area (MSA) populations exceeding 60,000. The Greenville-Spartanburg-Anderson area is by far the largest, accounting for 1.4 million of South Carolina's population.

The leading counties in terms of most populated are the two counties of Greenville and Richland, coming in with respective populations of 506,837 and 411,592. Both counties are enjoying steady growth rates as well.

South Carolina Demographics Notes

Age/Sex, Race, and Religion

The median age across the population of South Carolina is approximately 38.8 years of age. When we look at the ratio of males to females in the population, 51.5% are female and 48.5% are male.

The racial diversity of the population in South Carolina is shown below, coming in with approximately 67.3% Caucasian, 27.4% African American, 2.1% two or more races, 1.5% other races, 1.4% Asian, and .4% Natives of North America.

In terms of preferred religions in the population across the state, South Carolina currently sits at 78% Christian based faith affiliations, 3% non-Christian based faith affiliations, and 19% of the population without any affiliation to any religion.

South Carolina Boundary, Census, and Statehood History

South Carolina was one of the 13 original States. By the time of the 1790 census it had essentially its current boundaries, with some later adjustments following improved surveys. The census has covered all of the State ever since 1790, except for a narrow strip of Indian lands on the northwestern border, first enumerated in 1820. The 1790 census was not completed in South Carolina until early 1792.

South Carolina Population Chart

South Carolina Population History

In 1790, the population of South Carolina stood at an already healthy level of 249,073 and ten years later, at the start of the 19th century, those numbers had risen by just under 40% to 345,591. That was a significant rise, although it may not have been quite as substantial as other parts of the country were recording at the time.

The pattern of increases in the population of South Carolina continued to display healthy, if unspectacular, percentage growth and the numbers went beyond the one million mark for the first time in 1890.

In the 1900s, percentage growth slowed down to an extent but the overall picture was one of sustained increases through the end of the century. That has also continued to the present day where the South Carolina population is edging closer to the 5 million landmark in 2016.

South Carolina Population Projections

Natural growth and net migration in South Carolina is extremely healthy and there is nothing to suggest that this pattern will change in the years leading up to the next census.

Projections currently estimate South Carolina's population will just barely exceed 5 million by the 2020 Census, with a population over 65 that exceeds the national average.

Population Data via US Census

South Carolina Growth Rate

South Carolina Population Rank

Year Pop % Change
20205,218,0101.25%
20195,153,4631.27%
20185,088,9161.28%
20175,024,3691.30%
20164,959,822Infinity%
20164,834,605-1.18%
20154,892,4231.40%
20144,824,7581.24%
20134,765,8620.99%
20124,719,0090.99%
20114,672,7440.80%
20104,635,8341.46%
20004,012,0121.41%
19903,486,7031.11%
19803,121,8201.88%
19702,590,5160.84%
19602,382,5941.19%
19502,117,0271.09%
19401,899,8040.89%
19301,738,7650.32%
19201,683,7241.06%
19101,515,4001.24%
19001,340,3161.53%
18901,151,1491.46%
1880995,5773.50%
1870705,6060.03%
1860703,7080.51%
1850668,5071.18%
1840594,3980.23%
1830581,1851.46%
1820502,7411.93%
1810415,1151.85%
1800345,5913.33%
1790249,0733.30%
1780180,0003.78%
1770124,2442.82%
176094,0743.93%
175064,0003.58%
174045,0004.14%
173030,0005.81%
172017,0484.59%
171010,8836.67%
17005,7043.88%
16903,90012.51%
16801,20019.62%
16702000.00%

South Carolina Facts

South Carolina Population in 2018Source: By Khanrak [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], from Wikimedia Commons

  • The Cherokee, Catawba, and Yamasee were the largest Native American groups that lived on the land that now comprises the state of South Carolina.
  • The first English settlement was established in 1670 at Albemarle Point. Because of poor conditions in this area, early settlers relocated to Charleston.
  • South Carolina seceded from the Union in 1861 and was the first state to do so.
  • South Carolina is now the Palmetto State, but it was once known as the Iodine State.
  • The Carolina colony was divided in 1729 into North Carolina and South Carolina.
  • Morgan Island in South Carolina has no human population. However, it is home to well over 3,500 free-range monkeys, thus earning the location the nickname of Monkey Island.
  • Nearly one-quarter of the soldiers fighting in the Civil War were killed in battle, with a total of nearly 2/3 of all casualites resulting in death overall (including citizens).
  • An average of 28.5 million people visit the state annually.

South Carolina Population Density by County

Greenville County

  • Population506,837
  • Density645.52 per sq km
  • Growth Since 201011.95%
  • State Rank1
  • % of State10.09%

South Carolina Population Growth Rate by County

Data from the 2010 Census when compared to estimates taken in 2015 by the US Census Bureau shows that the counties of South Carolina have seen significant increases and decreases in population. Multiple counties in the state experienced population growth exceeding 10%, including the highest gain posted in Horry County at 14.3%. Other significant population increases include Berkeley County at 13.34%, Jasper County at 11.65%, and Charleston County at 10.88%, all located in the easternmost region of the state. Counties along the northern border that exhibited significant growth include Greenville, Lancaster, and Cherokee.

Some counties also saw declining populations during this 5-year period. Allendale County's 8.81% loss was the highest in the state, followed by Bamberg and Lee Counties at 6.82% loss per county. Other population declines were recorded in Williamsburg, McCormick, Chester, Hampton, and Spartanburg.

Population by Race

Race Population
White3,252,252
Black or African American1,322,368
Two or More Races100,082
Some Other Race73,149
Asian68,553
American Indian and Alaska Native15,417
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander2,784

Race Data via US Census (2016 ACS 5-Year Survey)

South Carolina Population Pyramid 2018

0%2%4%6%8% Male Population0%2%4%6%8% Female Population80757065605550454035302520151050

Data via US Census (2016 ACS 5-Year Survey): Table S0101

South Carolina Median Age

38.8


Total

37.3


Male

40.3


Female

South Carolina Adults

There are 3,746,819 adults, (763,868 of which are seniors) in South Carolina.

South Carolina Age Dependency

61.8

Age Dependency Ratio

25.5

Old Age Dependency Ratio

36.3

Child Dependency Ratio

South Carolina Sex Ratio

Female

2,486,267

51.43%

Male

2,348,338

48.57%

South Carolina Households and Families

South Carolina Renter vs Owner Occupied by Household Type

South Carolina Household Types

Type Owner Renter
Married83.7%16.3%
All68.4%31.6%
Male60.5%39.5%
Non Family56.7%43.3%
Female49.2%50.8%

68.4%

Rate of Home Ownership

South Carolina Households by Type

Type Count Average Size Owned
All1,839,0412.5568.4
Married863,5813.1183.7
Non Family618,2501.2656.7
Female273,1433.4949.2
Male84,0673.3560.5

3.13

Average Family Size

2.55

Average Household Size

4.8%

Unmarried (Opposite Sex)

0.3%

Unmarried (Same Sex)

South Carolina Households

South Carolina Education

South Carolina Educational Attainment by Sex (over 25)

Education Attained Count Percentage
Less Than 9th Grade153,2624.69%
9th to 12th Grade302,8259.26%
High School Graduate963,02229.46%
Some College686,14020.99%
Associates Degree299,1189.15%
Bachelors Degree551,96816.88%
Graduate Degree313,0899.58%

South Carolina Educational Attainment by Race

Name Total High School Bachelors
White2,215,7551,986,404688,220
Black834,119671,075127,010
Hispanic135,45784,50520,085
Asian46,09339,06920,735
Other Race40,01122,5534,347
Multiple Races34,56529,3448,676
Native American9,9417,5651,452
Islander1,4181,277239

The highest rate of high school graduation is among islander people with a rate of 90.06%.

The highest rate of bachelors degrees is among islander people with a rate of 44.99%.

South Carolina Earnings by Educational Attainment

Name Average Male Female
Overall$32,159$38,424$27,499
Less Than High School$19,090$22,036$14,380
High School Grad$26,069$31,051$21,119
Some College$31,474$39,842$26,197
Bachelors Degree$44,895$55,827$36,942
Graduate Degree$54,025$68,491$48,499

$32,159

Average Earnings

$38,424

Average Male

$27,499

Average Female

South Carolina Language

South Carolina Language by Age

South Carolina Language

93.12% of South Carolina residents speak only English, while 6.88% speak other languages. The largest non-English language is Spanish, which is spoken by 4.42% of the population.

South Carolina Poverty

South Carolina Poverty by Race

Name Total In Poverty Poverty Rate
Black1,271,610350,79227.59%
White3,013,396350,09411.62%
Hispanic248,45972,14629.04%
Multiple94,47125,46226.95%
Other71,02323,25532.74%
Asian66,3579,63714.52%
Native15,0003,19021.27%
Islander2,53951820.40%

17.18%

Overall Poverty Rate

15.47%

Male Poverty Rate

18.77%

Female Poverty Rate

Poverty in South Carolina

The race most likely to be in poverty in South Carolina is Other, with 32.74% below the poverty level.

The race least likely to be in poverty in South Carolina is White, with 11.62% below the poverty level.

The poverty rate among those that worked full-time for the past 12 months was 3.54%. Among those working part-time, it was 21.15%, and for those that did not work, the poverty rate was 23.75%.

South Carolina Poverty Rate by Education

Name Poverty
Less Than High School30.43%
High School15.79%
Some College10.91%
Bachelors or Greater4.24%

South Carolina Poverty Rate by Employment Status and Sex

Name Poverty
Female Unemployed42.15%
Male Unemployed34.04%
Female Employed10.15%
Male Employed6.53%

South Carolina Income

South Carolina Income by Household Type

Name Median Mean
Households$46,898$64,115
Families$58,158$75,385
Married Families$72,386$90,142
Non Families$27,613$39,592

South Carolina Marital Status

South Carolina Marital Status

Marriage Rates

47.1%

Overall Marriage Rate

49.5%

Male Marriage Rate

44.9%

Female Marriage Rate

South Carolina Married by Age and Sex

South Carolina Marriage

The age group where males are most likely to be married is Over65, while the female age group most likely to be married is 55To64.

South Carolina Marital Status by Race

South Carolina Veterans

South Carolina Veterans by War

373,890

Number of Veterans

339,776

Male Veterans

34,114

Female Veterans

Name Veterans
Vietnam139,412
First Gulf War81,622
Second Gulf War64,774
Korea31,460
World War II15,179

South Carolina Veterans by Age

Name Veterans
35 to 5497,790
65 to 7495,280
55 to 6475,698
75+70,886
18 to 3434,236

South Carolina Veterans by Race

Name Veterans % of Total
White279,00510.83%
Black85,7248.73%
Hispanic8,0574.99%
2 or More4,3579.53%
Asian1,6553.13%
Other1,6153.36%
Indian1,42912.61%
Hawaiian1056.24%

South Carolina Veterans by Education

7.11%

Veteran Poverty Rate

28.36%

Veteran Disability Rate

South Carolina Employment Status

South Carolina Employment by Age

60.8%

Labor Force Participation

55%

Employment Rate

8.4%

Unemployment Rate

South Carolina Employment by Race

South Carolina Employment by Education

South Carolina Nativity

South Carolina Citizenship Status

Data Sources
  1. South Carolina Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Office
  2. US Census State Population Estimates - Most recent state estimates from the Census Bureau's Population Estimates Program
  3. US Census County Population Estimates - Most recent county estimates from the Census Bureau's Population Estimates Program
  4. American Community Survey (2009 - 2013)
  5. Census QuickFacts
  6. Historical Populations of States and Counties (1790 - 1990)