Charleston, South Carolina Population 2018

Charleston is the second-largest and oldest city in South Carolina. Located in Charleston County on Charleston Harbor, Charleston has a population of 120,000, although an official 2013 estimate places the population at 128,000. Charleston is the 200th largest city in the United States.

Charleston has a population density of 1,152 people per square mile (445/square kilometer) in the city property. The larger urban area has a population estimated at 550,000. Charleston is part of the Charleston-North Charleston-Summerville Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), which comprises Charleston, Berkeley, and Dorchester counties. The Charleston MSA has a population estimated at 713,000, which makes it the 76th largest MSA in the country.

Charleston Demographics

According to the 2010 census, the racial composition of the city was 70% white, 25% African American, 1.6% Asian, and 1.5% two or more races. Hispanics and Latinos of any race make up 2.9% of the population.

Charleston was once one of the most dangerous cities in America based on the number of crimes committed per 100,000 people. The crime rate has been declining, however. In 1999, there were 597 crimes per 100,000 people, although the rate dropped to 236/100,000 people by 2011. This compares with the national average of 320/100,000 people.

Charleston History

When Charles II of England retook the throne in 1660, he granted a charter to the Province of Carolina and sent the eight Lord Proprietors in 1663. It took several years for them to arrange for expeditions, although the first -- Charles Town -- was founded in 1670. Charles Town (which was later changed to Charleston) was settled by people from Bermuda under governor William Sayle. The settlement quickly became a major port town.

In 1718, the town was attacked by infamous pirate Edward Teach, or Blackbeard. As the capital of the colony, Charles Town was the southernmost English settlement in America until the Georgia colony was established decades later. It was subjected to many attacks from France, Spain, and pirates for the 40 years.

Most early settlers were from England, the Barbados colony, and Bermuda. Among the first settlers were free people of color who were born in the West Indies to Englanders and Africans. Even in the beginning, Charleston attracted people from many religious and ethnic groups. In fact, it was once home to the richest and largest Jewish community in all of North America until 1830.

Charles Town was the largest and wealthiest city south of Philadelphia by the mid-1700s, becoming the 4th largest port in the colonies behind Boston, New York, and Philadelphia. Charleston was a major point in Revolutionary War. While it lost its status of state capital in 1786, it became very prosperous with an economy dominated by plantations until the mid-19th century. By 1860, almost 18% of the city's black population were free people of color, or almost 8% of the total population.

Charleston's 300-year history is evident in most neighborhoods, especially the city center, which has a large and well-preserved residential historic area that's popular with tourists. The city's downtown is free of skyscrapers. Instead, Charleston boasts historic plantation homes alongside new retail development.

Charleston Population Growth

Charleston is one of the fastest-growing cities in the United States. The greater Charleston area has one of the highest growth rates in America as more people move from surrounding counties to enjoy the city's rapidly improving economy. According to new census estimates, the Charleston MSA (or the Tri-County Area) was the 12th fastest-growing metro area in the U.S.

By 2020, Charleston County was previously projected to have a population of 371,000, but these new estimates show the county has likely already hit this mark.

Year Population Growth Growth Rate
2017134,8751,0160.76%
2016133,8592,0651.57%
2015131,7942,8132.18%
2014128,9812,1051.66%
2013126,8761,9821.59%
2012124,8942,2261.81%
2011122,6682,3301.94%
2010120,33823,68824.51%
200096,65016,23620.19%
199080,41410,63515.24%
198069,7792,8344.23%
197066,9451,0201.55%
196065,925-4,249-6.05%
195070,174-1,101-1.54%
194071,2759,01014.47%
193062,265-5,692-8.38%
192067,9579,12415.51%
191058,8333,0265.42%
190055,8078521.55%
189054,9554,9719.95%
188049,9841,0282.10%
187048,9568,43420.81%
186040,522-2,463-5.73%
185042,98513,72446.90%
184029,261-1,028-3.39%
183030,2895,50922.23%
182024,780690.28%
181024,7115,88731.27%
180018,8242,46515.07%
179016,3590.00%

Charleston Population in 2018Source: By Disc Wheel [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], from Wikimedia Commons

Population by Race

Race Population
White95,043
Black or African American30,192
Two or More Races2,151
Asian2,024
Some Other Race321
American Indian and Alaska Native138
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander19

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

Charleston Population Pyramid 2018

0k0k0k0k0k0k Male Population0k0k0k0k0k0k Female Population757065605550454035302520151050

Charleston Median Age

34


Total

32.7


Male

35.5


Female

Lancaster Adults

There are 111,137 adults in Charleston.

Charleston Age Dependency

45.3

Age Dependency Ratio

19.7

Old Age Dependency Ratio

25.6

Child Dependency Ratio

Charleston Housing Indicators

Indicator Value
Median Number of Rooms (per House)
5.4
Houses Without Mortgage
8,120
Houses With Mortgage
20,427
Vacancy Rate
12.2
Median Rent
1,052
Median Home Value
269,400
Renter-Occupied Units
24,801
Owner-Occupied Units
28,547
Total Housing Units
60,735

This chart shows the employment and labor force participation rates in Charleston for residents over 16 years of age. The 2015 unemployment rate is 4% and the labor force participation rate is 67.8%.

Charleston Family/Household Indicators

Indicator Value
Average Household Size
2.33
Average Family Size
3.02
Total Households
53348
Married Couple Households
20296
Male Householder (no wife) Families
1558
Female Householder (no husband) Families
5969
Non Family Households
25525
Total Families
27823
Households With Own Children
10654
Unmarried Partner Households (Opposite Sex)
5.7
Unmarried Partner Households (Same Sex)
0.3

Charleston Income Distribution

Indicator Value
Under $10,000
5,147
$10,000 to $14,999
2,404
$15,000 to $24,999
4,766
$25,000 to $34,999
4,331
$35,000 to $49,999
7,062
$50,000 to $74,999
8,675
$75,000 to $99,999
6,413
$100,000 to $149,999
7,574
$150,000 to $199,999
3,163
Over $200,000
3,813

Charleston Household Income

Income

Median

Mean

Charleston

South Carolina

$57,603

$46,898

$83,436

$64,115

Under 10k10k - 15k15k - 25k25k - 35k35k - 50k50k - 75k75k - 100k100k - 150k150k - 200kOver 200k00.0450.090.1350.18

Charleston Education Data

Charleston Educational Attainment (over 25)

Indicator Value Percentage
Less Than 9th Grade
1,4041.58%
9th to 12th Grade
3,8354.33%
High School Graduate
15,38817.36%
Some College
16,42918.54%
Associates Degree
7,0567.96%
Bachelors Degree
27,87031.45%
Graduate Degree
16,63818.77%