After years of coming in second to Columbia, the City of Charleston finally crossed the final hurdle that would once and for all set them apart as South Carolina’s top city. They are now the most populated city in the Palmetto State, besting Colatown by a mere 76 people and coming in at an estimated total of 134,385.
All of that is according to new U.S. Census data out this morning, which finds the retail-and-industrial hub of North Charleston coming in as the third most populated city (109,298), Charleston’s Cooper River neighbor Mt. Pleasant in fourth (84,170), and Charlotte suburb Rock Hill in fifth (72,937).
Where’s Greenville, you ask? Right there at No. 6 with a population of 67,452, or 38,452 more than next-door neighbor Greer, 29,577 more than Spartanburg, and 46,139 more than Simpsonville.
Still, those numbers hide a startling fact: The City of Charleston is a sprawling 156.6 square miles covering peninsular Charleston, West Ashley, Daniel Island, and much of James and Johns islands, while Greenville is a snug 28.8 square miles.
And that means Greenville is considerably more dense than Charleston. While Charleston has a population density of 859 people per square mile, Greenville has 2,392. Who’s the mini-metropolis now?
And that’s not all.
Greenville County has a population of 498,766, making it the most populated county in the state. Richland County is 90,000 behind at 409,549, while Charleston sits at 396,484.
Even more interesting, while Greenville County is largely unincorporated — say hello to the Taylors and Riverside areas, people — pretty much everyone living in Charleston County lives within a city and pays city and county taxes. Grrr… taxes. Grumble, grumble.
Of the nearly 400,000 living in Charleston County, 327,853 live in either Charleston, North Charleston, or Mt. Pleasant. By comparison, the combined citizens of the cities of Greenville, Simpsonville, Mauldin, Travelers Rest, and Greer (some of which is in Spartanburg County) only account for 148,008 of the county’s total population of nearly half a million.
And Greenville shows no signs of stopping. That same Census data ranks the City of Greenville as the fourth fastest-growing city in the nation with a population increase of 7.8 percent since 2010.
Clearly, something is happening in Greenville, yeahTHATGreenville.
Of course, none of this is really here are there. The Greenville metro area beats both Charleston and Columbia for one reason: what have the most Waffle Houses.