County near top in S.C. population growth

Lancaster County was the fourth fastest growing county in the state last year, behind Horry, Berkeley and York, according to the latest U.S. Census estimates.
Fueled by Panhandle growth, Lancaster County’s population soared 24.5 percent from 2010 to 2018. It increased 3 percent from 2017 to 2018.
The county has jumped from 76,652 residents in 2010 to 95,380 residents in 2018. It gained 2,756 residents from 2017 to 2018.

Lancaster County Administrator Steve Willis said he thinks the estimates are undershooting the county’s growth a bit. He noted that the latest numbers are from nine months ago and are based on a formula that uses data from building permits.
“We’ve not seen a slowdown in residential building activity. And we’re seeing a lot of multifamily (apartments) being built in Indian Land, which throws the numbers off,” Willis said. “Obviously, we won’t have an official number until after the 10-year census in April 2020, but I think it’s going to be a slightly higher percentage than we think.”   
State numbers
The latest estimates show that the Palmetto State grew from 5,021,219 residents in 2017 to 5,084,127 residents in 2018, a 1.25 percent increase.
It’s a mixed bag across the state. Of the state’s 46 counties, only 14 had growth of more than 1 percent. Eighteen of the state counties lost population.
Williamsburg County lost 579 residents (1.86 percent) from 2017 to 2018. McCormick’s population dropped by 1.64 percent, or 157 residents.
Two of Lancaster’s neighboring counties lost population. Chesterfield dropped 0.36 percent, and Chester 0.11 percent.
“If you look at the data, the brunt of the counties that lost population are rural,” Willis said.      
Horry County is the fastest growing county in South Carolina and one of the fastest growing areas in the country, according to the latest Census data. The county’s population jumped from 269,291 in 2010 to 344,147 in 2018, a 28 percent increase.
Lancaster County (24.5 percent), and Berkeley County (24 percent) are the next two fastest growing counties since 2010.

Population explosion
◆ The county’s population growth is the 11th fastest of the 588 counties and nine states in the Atlantic Census Region. It is the sixth highest rate among the 146 counties in the Carolinas.
◆ The county’s population growth from 2010 to 2018 is the 37th fastest of the country (3,142 counties).
◆ It’s the sixth fastest rate in the United States for counties with populations between 50,000 and 100,000.
– 2019 U.S. Census Report

By Greg Summers, Staff Reporter with The Lancaster News