South Carolina

State of South Carolina
Flag of South CarolinaState seal of South Carolina
FlagSeal
Nickname(s): The Palmetto State
Motto(s): Dum spiro spero* (Latin), While I Breathe I Hope
Animis opibusque parati† (Latin), Prepared in Mind and Resources
State song(s): ""Carolina";
"South Carolina On My Mind"
"
Map of the United States with South Carolina highlighted
Official languageEnglish
DemonymSouth Carolinian
CapitalColumbia
Largest cityCharleston
Largest metroGreenville
AreaRanked 40th
 • Total32,020[1] sq mi
(82,931 km2)
 • Width200 miles (320 km)
 • Length260 miles (420 km)
 • % water6
 • Latitude32° 2′ N to 35° 13′ N
 • Longitude78° 32′ W to 83° 21′ W
PopulationRanked 23rd
 • Total5,024,369 (2017 est.)[2]
 • Density157/sq mi  (60.6/km2)
Ranked 19th
 • Median household income$46,360[3] (44th)
Elevation
 • Highest pointSassafras Mountain[4][5]
3,560 ft (1,085 m)
 • Mean350 ft  (110 m)
 • Lowest pointAtlantic Ocean[4]
Sea level
Before statehoodProvince of South Carolina
Admission to UnionMay 23, 1788 (8th)
GovernorHenry McMaster (R)
Lieutenant GovernorKevin Bryant (R)
LegislatureGeneral Assembly
 • Upper houseSenate
 • Lower houseHouse of Representatives
U.S. SenatorsLindsey Graham (R)
Tim Scott (R)
U.S. House delegation6 Republicans
1 Democrat (list)
Time zoneEastern: UTC -5/-4
ISO 3166US-SC
AbbreviationsSC, S.C.
Websitewww.sc.gov
South Carolina state symbols
Flag of South Carolina.svg
Seal of South Carolina.svg
Living insignia
AmphibianSalamander
BirdCarolina wren
ButterflyEastern tiger swallowtail
FishStriped bass
FlowerYellow jessamine
InsectCarolina Mantis
MammalWhite-tailed deer
ReptileLoggerhead Sea Turtle
TreeSabal palmetto
Inanimate insignia
BeverageMilk
DanceCarolina shag
Food
FossilColumbian mammoth
Mammuthus columbi
MineralAmethyst
MottoDum spiro spero* (Latin), While I Breathe I Hope
Animis opibusque parati† (Latin), Prepared in Mind and Resources
NicknamePalmetto State
RockBlue granite
ShellLettered olive
Song"Carolina",
"South Carolina On My Mind"
State route marker
South Carolina state route marker
State quarter
South Carolina quarter dollar coin
Released in 2000
Lists of United States state symbols

South Carolina (ə/ (About this sound listen)) is a U.S. state in the southeastern region of the United States. The state is bordered to the north by North Carolina, to the south and west by Georgia, across the Savannah River, and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean.

South Carolina became the eighth state to ratify the U.S. Constitution on May 23, 1788. South Carolina became the first state to vote in favor of secession from the Union on December 20, 1860. After the American Civil War, it was readmitted into the United States on June 25, 1868.

South Carolina is the 40th most extensive and 23rd most populous U.S. state. Its GDP as of 2013 was $183.6 billion, with an annual growth rate of 3.13%.[6] South Carolina is composed of 46 counties. The capital is Columbia with a 2016 population of 134,309; while its largest city is Charleston with a 2016 population of 134,385. The Greenville-Anderson-Mauldin metropolitan area is the largest in the state, with a 2016 population estimate of 884,975.

South Carolina is named in honor of King Charles I of England, who first formed the English colony, with Carolus being Latin for "Charles".[7]

South Carolina is known for its 187 miles of coastline, beautiful lush gardens, historic sites and Southern plantations, colonial, African and European cultures, and its growing economic development.

Geography

Table Rock State Park in the mountains of South Carolina
Lake Marion – Indian Bluff Park – Eutawville, South Carolina

The state can be divided into three geographic areas. From east to west: the Atlantic coastal plain, the Piedmont, and the Blue Ridge Mountains. Locally, the coastal plain is referred to as the Low Country and the other two regions as Up Country.[8] The Atlantic Coastal Plain makes up two-thirds of the state. Its eastern border is the Sea Islands, a chain of tidal and barrier islands. The border between the low country and the up country is defined by the Atlantic Seaboard fall line, which marks the limit of navigable rivers.

The state's coastline contains many salt marshes and estuaries, as well as natural ports such as Georgetown and Charleston. An unusual feature of the coastal plain is a large number of Carolina bays, the origins of which are uncertain. The bays tend to be oval, lining up in a northwest to southeast orientation. The terrain is flat and the soil is composed entirely of recent sediments such as sand, silt, and clay. Areas with better drainage make excellent farmland, though some land is swampy. The natural areas of the coastal plain are part of the Middle Atlantic coastal forests ecoregion.[9]

Just west of the coastal plain is the Sandhills region. The Sandhills are remnants of coastal dunes from a time when the land was sunken or the oceans were higher.

The Upstate region contains the roots of an ancient, eroded mountain chain. It is generally hilly, with thin, stony clay soils, and contains few areas suitable for farming. Much of the Piedmont was once farmed. Due to the changing economics of farming, much of the land is now reforested in Loblolly pine for the lumber industry. These forests are part of the Southeastern mixed forests ecoregion.[9] At the southeastern edge of the Piedmont is the fall line, where rivers drop to the coastal plain. The fall line was an important early source of water power. Mills built to harness this resource encouraged the growth of several cities, including the capital, Columbia. The larger rivers are navigable up to the fall line, providing a trade route for mill towns.

The northwestern part of the Piedmont is also known as the Foothills. The Cherokee Parkway is a scenic driving route through this area. This is where Table Rock State Park is located.

Highest in elevation is the Blue Ridge Region, containing an escarpment of the Blue Ridge Mountains, which continue into North Carolina and Georgia, as part of the southern Appalachian Mountains. Sassafras Mountain, South Carolina's highest point at 3,560 feet (1,090 m), is located in this area.[10] Also located in this area is Caesars Head State Park. The environment here is that of the Appalachian-Blue Ridge forests ecoregion.[9] The Chattooga River, located on the border between South Carolina and Georgia, is a favorite whitewater rafting destination.

Lakes

South Carolina has several major lakes covering over 683 square miles (1,770 km2). All major lakes in South Carolina are man-made. The following are the lakes listed by size.[11]

Earthquakes

Earthquakes in South Carolina demonstrate the greatest frequency along the central coastline of the state, in the Charleston area. South Carolina averages 10–15 earthquakes a year below magnitude 3 (FEMA). The Charleston Earthquake of 1886 was the largest quake ever to hit the Southeastern United States. This 7.2 magnitude earthquake killed 60 people and destroyed much of the city.[12] Faults in this region are difficult to study at the surface due to thick sedimentation on top of them. Many of the ancient faults are within plates rather than along plate boundaries.

Climate

A map of the average annual precipitation in South Carolina
Lake Wylie in autumn

South Carolina has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen climate classification Cfa), although high-elevation areas in the Upstate area have fewer subtropical characteristics than areas on the Atlantic coastline. In the summer, South Carolina is hot and humid, with daytime temperatures averaging between 86–93 °F (30–34 °C) in most of the state and overnight lows averaging 70–75 °F (21–24 °C) on the coast and from 66–73 °F (19–23 °C) inland. Winter temperatures are much less uniform in South Carolina.

Coastal areas of the state have very mild winters, with high temperatures approaching an average of 60 °F (16 °C) and overnight lows around 40 °F (5–8 °C). Inland, the average January overnight low is around 32 °F (0 °C) in Columbia and temperatures well below freezing in the Upstate. While precipitation is abundant the entire year in almost the entire state, the coast tends to have a slightly wetter summer, while inland, the spring and autumn transitions tend to be the wettest periods and winter the driest season, with November being the driest month. The highest recorded temperature is 113 °F (45 °C) in Johnston and Columbia on June 29, 2012, and the lowest recorded temperature is −19 °F (−28 °C) at Caesars Head on January 21, 1985.

Snowfall in South Carolina is somewhat uncommon in most of the state, while coastal areas receive less than an inch (2.5 cm) annually on average. It is not uncommon for the state (especially the southern coast) to receive no recordable snowfall in a given year. The interior receives a little more snow, although nowhere in the state averages more than 12 inches (30 cm) of snow annually. The mountains of extreme northwestern South Carolina tend to have the most substantial snow accumulation. Freezing rain and ice tend to be more common than snow in many areas of the state. Road bridges in South Carolina are commonly marked, "Bridge ices before road."

South Carolina is also prone to tropical cyclones and tornadoes. Two of the strongest hurricanes to strike South Carolina in recent history were Hurricane Hazel (1954) and Hurricane Hugo (1989).

Hurricanes and tropical cyclones

Category 4 Hurricane Hugo in 1989

The state is occasionally affected by tropical cyclones. This is an annual concern during hurricane season, which lasts from June 1 to November 30. The peak time of vulnerability for the southeast Atlantic coast is from early August to early October, during the Cape Verde hurricane season. Memorable hurricanes to hit South Carolina include Hazel (1954) and Hugo (1989), both Category 4 hurricanes.[24]

South Carolina averages around 50 days of thunderstorm activity a year. This is less than some of the states further south, and it is slightly less vulnerable to tornadoes than the states which border on the Gulf of Mexico. Some notable tornadoes have struck South Carolina, and the state averages around 14 tornadoes annually. Hail is common with many of the thunderstorms in the state, as there is often a marked contrast in temperature of warmer ground conditions compared to the cold air aloft.[24]

Federal lands in South Carolina

Settlements and demographics

The United States Census Bureau estimates that the population of South Carolina was 5,024,369 on July 1, 2017, an 8.6 percentage increase since the 2010 census.[25]

Historical population
Census Pop.
1790249,073
1800345,59138.8%
1810415,11520.1%
1820502,74121.1%
1830581,18515.6%
1840594,3982.3%
1850668,50712.5%
1860703,7085.3%
1870705,6060.3%
1880995,57741.1%
18901,151,14915.6%
19001,340,31616.4%
19101,515,40013.1%
19201,683,72411.1%
19301,738,7653.3%
19401,899,8049.3%
19502,117,02711.4%
19602,382,59412.5%
19702,590,5168.7%
19803,121,82020.5%
19903,486,70311.7%
20004,012,01215.1%
20104,625,36415.3%
Est. 20175,024,3698.6%
Source: 1910–2010[26]
2016 estimate[25]

As of the 2017 census estimate, the racial make up of the state is 68.5% White (63.8% non-Hispanic white), 27.3% Black or African American, 0.5% American Indian and Alaska Native, 1.7% Asian, 0.1% Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander, 1.9% from two or more races. 5.7% of the total population was of Hispanic or Latino origin of any race.[27]

South Carolina Racial Breakdown of Population
Racial composition 1990[28] 2000[29] 2010[30] 2017[31]
White 69.0% 67.2% 66.2% 68.5%
Black 29.8% 29.5% 27.9% 27.3%
Asian 0.6% 0.9% 1.3% 1.7%
Native American 0.2% 0.3% 0.4% 0.5%
Native Hawaiian and
other Pacific Islander
0.1% 0.1%
Two or more races 1.0% 1.7% 1.9%
Population density of South Carolina.

According to the United States Census Bureau, as of 2014, South Carolina had an estimated population of 4,896,146, which is an increase of 63,664 from the prior year and an increase of 270,782, or 5.85%, since the year 2010. Immigration from outside the United States resulted in a net increase of 36,401 people, and migration within the country produced a net increase of 115,084 people. According to the University of South Carolina's Arnold School of Public Health, Consortium for Latino Immigration Studies, South Carolina's foreign-born population grew faster than any other state between 2000 and 2005.[32][33]

An August 2011 Public Policy Polling survey found that 21% of South Carolina voters thought that same-sex marriage should be legal, while 69% thought it should be illegal and 10% were not sure. A separate question on the same survey found that 48% of South Carolina voters supported the legal recognition of same-sex couples, with 19% supporting same-sex marriage, 29% supporting civil unions but not marriage, 51% favoring no legal recognition and 2% not sure.[34]

Major cities

In 2017, the US Census Bureau released 2016 population estimates for South Carolina's most populous cities.[35]

Population centers

[37]

Rank Metropolitan Area Population Counties
1 Greenville-Anderson-Mauldin 884,975 Greenville, Anderson, Laurens, Pickens
2 Columbia 810,068 Calhoun, Kershaw, Fairfield, Richland, Lexington, Saluda
3 Charleston-North Charleston-Summerville SC MSA 744,526 Charleston, Dorchester, Berkeley
4 Myrtle Beach-Conway-North Myrtle Beach SC MSA 309,199 Horry, Georgetown, Brunswick
5 Spartanburg, SC MSA 297,302 Spartanburg
6 Charlotte-Gastonia-Concord NC-SC MSA 251,195 Mecklenburg, Union, Gaston, Cabarrus, Anson, York
7 Hilton Head Island-Bluffton-Beaufort, SC metropolitan area 207,413 Beaufort, Jasper
8 Florence 206,448 Florence, Darlington
9 Sumter, SC MSA 107,480 Sumter
Total 3,818,606
Rank Combined Statistical Area Population Counties
1 Greenville-Spartanburg-Anderson 1,442,117 Greenville, Spartanburg, Anderson, Pickens, Oconee, Laurens, Cherokee, Union
2 Columbia-Orangeburg-Newberry 943,470 Richland, Lexington, Orangeburg, Kershaw, Newberry, Fairfield, Saluda, Calhoun
3 Myrtle Beach-Conway-Georgetown 510,694 Horry, Brunswick, Georgetown
4 Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia 426,314 (2,205,935 in NC) York, Lancaster, Chesterfield, Chester
Total 3,322,595
Other Languages
Afrikaans: Suid-Carolina
Ænglisc: Sūþcarolīna
aragonés: Carolina d'o Sud
asturianu: Carolina del Sur
Avañe'ẽ: Yvy Karolina
azərbaycanca: Cənubi Karolina
Bân-lâm-gú: South Carolina
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Паўднёвая Караліна
Bikol Central: South Carolina
Bislama: Saut Carolina
български: Южна Каролина
Boarisch: South Carolina
bosanski: Južna Karolina
brezhoneg: South Carolina
Chavacano de Zamboanga: South Carolina
Cymraeg: De Carolina
davvisámegiella: Lulli-Carolina
Ελληνικά: Νότια Καρολίνα
emiliàn e rumagnòl: Carulìna dal Sud
Esperanto: Suda Karolino
euskara: Hego Carolina
Fiji Hindi: South Carolina
føroyskt: South Carolina
français: Caroline du Sud
Gàidhlig: Carolina a Deas
客家語/Hak-kâ-ngî: South Carolina
Hawaiʻi: Kalolaina Hema
hrvatski: Južna Karolina
বিষ্ণুপ্রিয়া মণিপুরী: সাউথ ক্যারোলাইনা
Bahasa Indonesia: Carolina Selatan
interlingua: Carolina del Sud
ᐃᓄᒃᑎᑐᑦ/inuktitut: ᑳᕉᓖᓈ ᓂᒋᖅ
Iñupiak: South Carolina
Basa Jawa: South Carolina
Kapampangan: Mauling Carolina
Kiswahili: South Carolina
Kreyòl ayisyen: Karolin disid
لۊری شومالی: کارولینا ھارگە
latviešu: Dienvidkarolīna
Lëtzebuergesch: South Carolina
lietuvių: Pietų Karolina
Limburgs: South Carolina
македонски: Јужна Каролина
მარგალური: ობჟათე კაროლინა
مازِرونی: جنوبی کارولینا
Bahasa Melayu: Carolina Selatan
Mìng-dĕ̤ng-ngṳ̄: South Carolina
Dorerin Naoero: South Carolina
Nederlands: South Carolina
Nedersaksies: Zuud-Carolina
Nordfriisk: South Carolina
norsk nynorsk: Sør-Carolina
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Janubiy Karolina
Piemontèis: Carolin-a dël Sud
Plattdüütsch: Süüd-Carolina
português: Carolina do Sul
română: Carolina de Sud
rumantsch: South Carolina
Gagana Samoa: Karolaina i Saute
संस्कृतम्: साउथ केरोलैना
Seeltersk: South Carolina
sicilianu: Carolina dû Sud
Simple English: South Carolina
slovenčina: Južná Karolína
slovenščina: Južna Karolina
српски / srpski: Јужна Каролина
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Južna Karolina
татарча/tatarça: Көньяк Каролина
Türkçe: Güney Karolina
українська: Південна Кароліна
ئۇيغۇرچە / Uyghurche: Jenubiy Karolina Shitati
Tiếng Việt: South Carolina
Volapük: South Carolina
žemaitėška: Pėitū Karolėna
Lingua Franca Nova: South Carolina