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South Carolina

South Carolina – Fast Facts


South Carolina SC Fast Facts

SC Facts

Here's a quick, useful, and interesting compilation of facts about South Carolina.

In addition, we feature a fantastic guide to SC milestones that were the first of their kind in the United States or the world.

SC Geography

  • Borders – Atlantic Ocean, Georgia, North Carolina

  • Time zone – Eastern

  • Coastal water area – 72 square miles
  • Inland water area – 1,006 square miles
  • Land area – 30,109.47 square miles (96.5%)
  • Total area – 31,189 square miles (40th largest state)

  • Greatest distance north to south – 219 miles
  • Greatest distance east to west – 273 miles

  • Geographic centerRichland County (13 miles southeast of Columbia)

  • Largest county, land area onlyHorry County at 1,133 square miles
  • Largest county, land and water areaBerkeley County with 1,230 square miles
  • Smallest countyMcCormick County with 360 square miles

  • Highest waterfall – Raven Cliff Falls at 400 feet
  • Highest mountain – Sassafras Mountain at 3,560 feet

  • Largest islandJohns Island
  • Largest barrier islandHilton Head Island

  • Largest riverSantee River at 143 miles long and drains 40% of the state
  • Largest lakeLake Marion with 172.8 square miles
  • Longest river – 238 miles of the Savannah River segment that borders SC

  • Miles of general coastline – 187
  • Miles of coastal shoreline – 2,876, 11th longest in US (calculated by measuring the outer coast, offshore islands, sounds, bays, rivers, and creeks to head of tidewater, or to point where tidal waters narrow to width of 100 feet)

  • Lowcountry – Area along SC coast from Pawleys Island south to the Savannah River – sometimes spelled Low Country
  • Midlands – Located in the center of the state stretching from Aiken County in the west to Clarendon County in the east, Fairfield County to the north and Orangeburg County at the south. Columbia is in the heart of the Midlands region.
  • Pee Dee – Northeast area of SC including the Grand Strand
  • Upstate – Northwestern part of SC featuring the Appalachian Mountains – sometimes called Upcountry

  • SC place name pronunciations guide

SC Climate, Natural Disasters

  • 49.84 inches – Average annual precipitation

  • 34.5° F – Average January low
    55.3° F – Average January high

  • 70.9° F – Average July low
    91.2° F – Average July high

  • -19° F – Record low set in 1977 at Caesar's Head
    111° F – Record high set in 1925 at Blackville and Calhoun Falls and most recently in 1954 at Camden

  • Worst earthquake on recordCharleston earthquake on August 31, 1886
  • Worst hurricane on record – Hurricane Hugo on September 21-22, 1989

Population, Demographics

  • Estimated population – 4,625,364 (2010, 24th largest state)
  • Population per square land mile – 153.6 (2010)

  • Town with smallest population – Smyrna - 45 (2010)
  • City with largest population – Columbia - 129,272 (2010)

  • County with smallest populationMcCormick County - 10,233 (2010)
  • County with largest populationGreenville County - 451,225 (2010)

  • Percent urban – 76 (2010)
  • Percent rural – 24 (2010)

  • Percent women – 51.3 (2009)
  • Percent men – 48.7 (2009)

  • Percent white – 66.2 (2008, ranked 26th)
  • Percent black – 27.9 (2008, ranked 14th)
  • Percent Hispanic – 5.1 (2008, ranked 30th)

  • Median age – 37.9 (2010)
  • Percent under 18 – 23.7 (2009)
  • Percent 18-64 – 62.6 (2009)
  • Percent 65 and older – 13.7 (2009)

History – Timeline

Below is a quick list of notable SC historical facts.

Be sure to also visit our complete guide to South Carolina history. We also feature a directory of milestones that were firsts for South Carolina and also the US – or even the world.

  • South Carolina is named for – Charles I of England. Read more at Who Is South Carolina Named For?

  • June 1521 – First European contact with Native Americans was by the Spanish at Winyah Bay

  • July 1521 – First European enslavement of Native Americans was by the Spanish at Winyah Bay

  • 1562 – The French established their first settlement at Parris Island

  • 1629 – Charles I of England granted "Carolana" to Sir Robert Heath

  • March 24, 1663 – Charles II of England granted "Carolina" to the Eight Lords Proprietors

  • 1670 – First English settlement was Charles Town (named for Charles II)

  • 1710 – Separated from North Carolina

  • December 21, 1719 – Lords Proprietors overthrown

  • March 26, 1776 – First state constitution signed and John Rutledge was elected president of South Carolina

  • June 28, 1776 – America's first military victory when the British fleet was defeated at the Battle of Sullivan's Island

  • August 2, 1776 – Declaration of Independence signed in Philadelphia and includes the signatures of four South Carolinians Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton, and Edward Rutledge

  • 1779John Rutledge was elected to be the state's first governor

  • 1786 – Capital moved from Charleston to Columbia

  • May 23, 1788 – Ratified US Constitution, the 8th state to do so

  • December 20, 1860 – Seceded from Union and was the first state to secede

  • April 12, 1861 – Shots fired on Fort Sumter marking the beginning of the Civil War

  • October 18, 1865 – First SC governor elected by popular vote was James Lawrence Orr

  • July 9, 1868 – Rejoined the Union during the Reconstruction Period

  • April 11, 1877 – End of Reconstruction

  • 1919 – Last county formed was Allendale County

  • 1929 – Mary G. Ellis from Jasper County was the first woman elected to SC Senate

  • 1965 – Public colleges integrated

  • Late 1960s – In-migration begins to exceed out-migration

  • 1970Public schools fully integrated

  • 1970 – First black state representatives elected in the 20th Century

  • 1975 – First Republican governor since Reconstruction, James B. Edwards

  • 1983 – First black state senator elected in the 20th Century, I. DeQuincy Newman

  • 1992 – First black US Representative elected since Reconstruction, James E. Clyburn

State Symbols, Official Recognitions

Government, Elections

  • Capital – Columbia
  • Number of counties – 46, learn about all South Carolina counties

  • Governor – Nikki Haley
  • Number of Supreme Court justices – 5

  • Name of legislature – General Assembly
  • Number of state representatives – 124
  • Number of state senators – 46

  • Number of US representatives – 7 US representatives
  • Number of US senators – 2 US senators
  • Number of electoral votes – 8

  • Number of registered voters – 2,677,766 (July 2011)
  • Percent of potential voters registered – 75 (November 9, 2010 election)
  • Percent of registered voters who voted – 51.64 (November 9, 2010 election)
  • Percent of potential voters who voted – 38.3 (November 9, 2010 election)

  • More voter informationSC Elections

Taxes, Licenses

Education

Economy, Business, Jobs

  • 1 – Fortune 500 company headquarters (Domtar)
  • 7% – Employed by foreign-owned companies (2010)
  • 13.6% – Business failure rate (2010)
  • $12,273 – Per capita retail sales (2007)
  • $124 billion – Gross sales (rounded in 2010)
  • Germany – Largest foreign investor country
  • Leading agricultural products – Poultry, greenhouse/floriculture/nursery, turkeys, soybeans, cattle (2009)

  • $12.43 – Average hourly earnings for all jobs (May 2005)
  • $16.29 – Average hourly earnings in manufacturing (2009)
  • 4.6% – Union membership (2010 - US average 11.9%)
  • South Carolina is a right-to-work state

  • $33,884 – Annual personal income per capita (2010 - ranked 45th in US)
  • $42,580 – Median household income (2009)
  • 81% – Annual personal income per capita as a percent of US annual income per capita (2008)

  • $611 – Average monthly contract rent (2005)
  • $128,400 – Median value of owner-occupied homes (2009)
  • 70% – Homes owner-occupied (2009)

  • Cost of living index rates
    Anderson – 89 (2010)
    Charleston – 97 (2010)
    Columbia – 95 (2010)
    Florence – 90 (2010)
    Greenville – 89 (2010)
    Myrtle Beach – 91 (2010)
    Spartanburg – 100 (2010)
    Sumter – 93 (2010)

Transportation

  • 842.6 Miles of interstate highways in South Carolina (2010)
  • 8,344 – Number of bridges (2010)
  • 9,478.03 – Miles of state primary roads (2010)
  • 31,138.40 – Miles of state secondary roads (2010)

  • About 5 hours – Longest driving time within state

  • 54,621 – Public vehicles (2010)
  • 3,559,779 – Private & commercial vehicles (2010)

  • 2Ports in South Carolina (Charleston is the busiest)
  • 6Commercial airports
    – Charleston International Airport is busiest passenger airport
    – Columbia Metropolitan Airport is busiest cargo airport
  • 68 – General aviation airports (2010)
  • 2,404 – Miles of railroad tracks in use (2007)

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