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 Annual 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%
2010120,33823,6882.22%
200096,65016,2361.86%
199080,41410,6351.43%
198069,7792,8340.42%
197066,9451,0200.15%
196065,925-4,249-0.62%
195070,174-1,101-0.16%
194071,2759,0101.36%
193062,265-5,692-0.87%
192067,9579,1241.45%
191058,8333,0260.53%
190055,8078520.15%
189054,9554,9710.95%
188049,9841,0280.21%
187048,9568,4341.91%
186040,522-2,463-0.59%
185042,98513,7243.92%
184029,261-1,028-0.34%
183030,2895,5092.03%
182024,780690.03%
181024,7115,8872.76%
180018,8242,4651.41%
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

0%2%4%6%8%10% Male Population0%2%4%6%8%10% Female Population80757065605550454035302520151050

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

Charleston Median Age

34


Total

32.7


Male

35.5


Female

Charleston Adults

There are 107,028 adults, (17,665 of which are seniors) in Charleston.

Charleston Age Dependency

45.3

Age Dependency Ratio

19.7

Old Age Dependency Ratio

25.6

Child Dependency Ratio

Charleston Sex Ratio

Female

67,881

52.26%

Male

62,007

47.74%

Charleston Households and Families

Charleston Renter vs Owner Occupied by Household Type

Charleston Household Types

Type Owner Renter
Married77.9%22.1%
All53.5%46.5%
Male44.5%55.5%
Female41.7%58.3%
Non Family37.4%62.6%

53.5%

Rate of Home Ownership

Charleston Households by Type

Type Count Average Size Owned
All53,3482.3353.5
Non Family25,5251.5137.4
Married20,2962.9577.9
Female5,9693.4541.7
Male1,5583.1544.5

3.02

Average Family Size

2.33

Average Household Size

5.7%

Unmarried (Opposite Sex)

0.3%

Unmarried (Same Sex)

Charleston Households

Charleston Education

Charleston Educational Attainment by Sex (over 25)

Education Attained Count Percentage
Less Than 9th Grade1,4041.58%
9th to 12th Grade3,8354.33%
High School Graduate15,38817.36%
Some College16,42918.54%
Associates Degree7,0567.96%
Bachelors Degree27,87031.45%
Graduate Degree16,63818.77%

Charleston Educational Attainment by Race

Name Total High School Bachelors
White64,99063,36938,634
Black19,24915,9583,529
Hispanic2,0741,887907
Asian1,5181,4161,109
Multiple Races828798290
Other Race20019192
Native American10910120
Islander161616

The highest rate of high school graduation is among islander people with a rate of 100.00%.

The highest rate of bachelors degrees is among islander people with a rate of 100.00%.

Charleston Earnings by Educational Attainment

Name Average Male Female
Overall$40,089$46,398$35,475
Less Than High School$16,559$18,426$12,861
High School Grad$25,812$29,894$21,964
Some College$31,955$36,838$27,211
Bachelors Degree$47,423$53,487$40,587
Graduate Degree$55,267$74,888$50,648

$40,089

Average Earnings

$46,398

Average Male

$35,475

Average Female

Charleston Language

Charleston Language by Age

Charleston Language

94.92% of Charleston residents speak only English, while 5.08% speak other languages. The largest non-English language is Spanish, which is spoken by 1.81% of the population.

Charleston Poverty

Charleston Poverty by Race

Name Total In Poverty Poverty Rate
White87,8819,75711.10%
Black29,3589,00630.68%
Hispanic3,31162318.82%
Multiple1,90653628.12%
Asian1,89130115.92%
Other3166219.62%
Native13064.62%
Islander16531.25%

16.26%

Overall Poverty Rate

14.43%

Male Poverty Rate

17.88%

Female Poverty Rate

Poverty in Charleston

The race most likely to be in poverty in Charleston is Islander, with 31.25% below the poverty level.

The race least likely to be in poverty in Charleston is Native, with 4.62% below the poverty level.

The poverty rate among those that worked full-time for the past 12 months was 3.20%. Among those working part-time, it was 27.09%, and for those that did not work, the poverty rate was 26.63%.

Charleston Poverty Rate by Education

Name Poverty
Less Than High School32.98%
High School14.10%
Some College12.53%
Bachelors or Greater5.59%

Charleston Poverty Rate by Employment Status and Sex

Name Poverty
Female Unemployed44.88%
Male Unemployed28.99%
Female Employed11.71%
Male Employed6.98%

Charleston Income

Charleston Income by Household Type

Name Median Mean
Households$57,603$83,436
Families$83,962$111,949
Married Families$101,283$134,750
Non Families$38,788$51,216

Charleston Marital Status

Charleston Marital Status

Marriage Rates

39.8%

Overall Marriage Rate

42.2%

Male Marriage Rate

37.6%

Female Marriage Rate

Charleston Married by Age and Sex

Charleston 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 35To44.

Charleston Marital Status by Race

Charleston Veterans

Charleston Veterans by War

9,223

Number of Veterans

8,247

Male Veterans

976

Female Veterans

Name Veterans
Vietnam3,513
First Gulf War2,240
Second Gulf War1,723
Korea728
World War II494

Charleston Veterans by Age

Name Veterans
65 to 742,392
35 to 542,164
55 to 641,888
75+1,632
18 to 341,147

Charleston Veterans by Race

Name Veterans % of Total
White6,8198.51%
Black2,31010.09%
Hispanic1395.02%
2 or More755.85%
Asian100.58%
Indian96.87%

Charleston Veterans by Education

8.60%

Veteran Poverty Rate

21.45%

Veteran Disability Rate

Charleston Employment Status

Charleston Employment by Age

67.8%

Labor Force Participation

63.3%

Employment Rate

5.9%

Unemployment Rate

Charleston Employment by Race

Charleston Employment by Education

Charleston Place of Birth

Origin of Non Citizens

Non citizens include legal permanent residents (green card holders), international students, temporary workers, humanitarian migrants, and illegal immigrants.

Origin of Naturalized Citizens

49.30%

Born in South Carolina

95.97%

Native Born

4.03%

Foreign Born

2.07%

Non Citizen

Place of Birth

95.97% of Charleston residents were born in the United States, with 49.30% having been born in South Carolina. 2.07% of residents are not US citizens. Of those not born in the United States, the largest percentage are from Asia.