South Carolina is one of the big winners when it comes to welcoming residents from other states.
As remote work has increased, more people are no longer tethered to any particular state. This increased mobility has tended to pull away the higher-income earners in particular. Here in Greenville County, most of the city’s newest residents are coming from the northeast of the U.S. and southern Florida, the Chicago metro area and southern California, according to the Greenville Chamber.
Greenville County gaining big
Hank Hyatt, senior vice president of economic competitiveness with the Greenville Chamber, said Greenville has been gaining 19 residents per day this year — about 17 from net migration and two from births.
“A lot of different things are coming together to build the Greenville brand,” he said.
National publicity, including a recent “60 Minutes” segment highlighting Greenville’s success, has elevated the area from its status as “the Upstate’s best kept secret” 20 years ago to a new ideal destination for those fleeing the high cost of living in other parts of the country.
At the same time, Hyatt said any population Greenville County is losing is to residents in nearby counties like Anderson, Spartanburg and Pickens.
The cost of living index, as researched by the Council for Community and Economic Research, puts Greenville at 89.9, with the U.S. average being 100. The composite index is based on six component categories — housing, utilities, grocery items, transportation, health care, and miscellaneous goods and services. For comparison, places like Manhattan come in at 239.3, San Francisco at 186.4 and Los Angeles at 148.0.
The Greenville Chamber continues to field questions for companies looking to relocate to the region, Hyatt said, with particular focus on aspects that attract future business growth potential, such as its housing and talent pool.
“Housing inventory levels might not be where they need to be,” he said, adding that interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve will cool things down a bit. Still, he believes the region has the competitive advantage to continue to be a major player in the nation for years to come.
Population boom to continue
Greenville County‘s population is expected to grow by 222,000 residents and 86,000 new jobs by 2040, according to a recent county report. The population today stands at 514,000. Already the county is planning a number of community meetings to address the current plans to handle the continued population boom.
“To ensure the wise utilization of our natural, financial, infrastructure and community resources, there are many questions the community must address: For example, where to focus growth, where to preserve and what growth should look like,” county staff said in a press release.
“There are challenges that come with growth,” Hyatt said, citing possible infrastructure strain and increased housing prices. But he said there are plenty of opportunities, and companies are looking to move where workers are.
“We’re in a good spot,” he said.
Winners and losers
When it comes to the population shift nationwide, the biggest winners are Florida ($23.7 billion), Texas ($6.3 billion), Arizona ($4.8 billion), North Carolina ($3.8 billion), South Carolina ($3.6 billion), Tennessee ($2.6 billion), Nevada ($2.6 billion), Colorado ($2.3 billion), Idaho ($2.1 billion) and Utah ($1.3 billion).
The biggest losers are New York (-$19.5 billion), California (-$17.8 billion), Illinois (-$8.5 billion), Massachusetts (-$2.6 billion), New Jersey (-$2.3 billion), Maryland (-$1.9 billion), Ohio (-$1.4 billion), Minnesota (-$1.2 billion), Pennsylvania (-$1.2 billion) and Virginia (-$1.1 billion).
-Wall Street Journal population report
Where people are moving from
|State||Number of people|
Greenville County inbound population growth
|Where they’re coming from||Number of people|
|Greenville County total migration-U.S. and foreign||29,132|
|Greenville County total migration-U.S.||29,091|
|Greenville County total migration-same state||12,481|
|Greenville County total migration-different state||16,610|
|Greenville County total migration-foreign||41|
|Greenville County non-migrants||395,251|