Discovering South Carolina; The Big 3 Debate

Letter from the Publisher

SC Population Map

Travelling the state, I occasionally find myself  in territorial debates about population, size and economic impact with my fellow “Sandlappers.”

The debate is most heated when comparing the areas of Charleston (the Low-Country), Columbia (the Midlands) and Greenville (the Upstate).

Some may argue this goes as far back as 1786 when the capital was moved from Charleston to Columbia to accommodate Upstate Representatives who complained of the travel time to Charleston.

At SCMFG, our core-principles are founded on a passion for ALL things South Carolina.

The manufacturing industry is statewide but more prevalent in the Upstate and by a notable margin. That being the case we headquarter in the region’s most populous city, Greenville.

Mayor Knox White

The city has seen tremendous growth and prosperity thanks impart to the arrival of BMW in the 90’s and the success of our state’s finest mayor, Knox White.

However, due to stringent annexation laws in South Carolina, Greenville sits as far back as sixth in population despite residing in the state's most populated county and metropolitan area.

Charleston has the distinction of being the state's most populated city and Columbia is a close second. The city limits of both exceed 100 square miles while Greenville's are a mere 28.6 square miles.

However,  Greenville County’s population holds well over 100,000 more residents than either Richland or Charleston counties. In fact, Greenville County houses over 10% of the state's overall population. Additionally, the Greenville Metropolitan area headcount is also larger than either the Charleston or Columbia metropolitan areas, and this too, by a substantial margin.

So, let's take a look at some general statistics and compare the Big 3 areas of South Carolina. Let the debate continue!

Big 3 Comparison

City Population Sq. mi
Greenville 68,563 28.67
Charleston 136,208 108.98
Columbia 131,451 132.21
County Population Sq. mi
Greenville 523,542 795
Charleston 411,406 1358
Richland 415,759 772
Metro Area Population Sq. mi
Greenville 920,477 2709.6
Charleston 802,122 2590.1
Columbia 838,433 3703.1

Big 3 Downtown Videos

About the Author:

James Toppe is the President/Publisher of South Carolina Manufacturing and a graduate of Clemson University.

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