CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — Four communities in the Carolinas, including three on South Carolina’s 190-mile coast, remain among the 20 fastest-growing in the United States, according to new numbers released Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau.
4 Carolinas communities among the nation’s fastest-growing
The Myrtle Beach-Conway-North Myrtle Beach metropolitan area, which includes Brunswick County in North Carolina, was the second-fastest growing metro area in the nation for the second year in a row.
“The warm climate, the beautiful scenery, the quality of life and the low taxes and cost of living — when we went out and surveyed people those were the reasons we found that people were attracted to the area,” said Brad Dean, the president and CEO of the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce.
From July of 2014 through July 1 of last year the population of the area increased 3.5 percent to just over 430,000.
The Villages, Florida, was the nation’s fastest-growing metro area.
Myrtle Beach is the heart of South Carolina’s booming $19 billion tourism industry, which has helped fuel the growth of the area’s permanent population.
“Tourism is a first date for relocation, retirement and economic development,” Dean said. “Most of the individuals and businesses relocating here were first introduced to the area as a visitor.”
The Beaufort-Hilton Head metro area was the 11th-fastest growing in the nation, posting 2.6 percent growth while the Raleigh area in North Carolina grew about 2.5 percent during the period and was No. 16 on the list. The Charleston-North Charleston metro area grew at about 2.4 percent and was 19th on the list.
It was the second straight year that all four areas made the list of the fastest growing metro areas in the United States.
The Charlotte metro area, which includes parts of South Carolina, made the list of the top twenty metro areas, posting the largest numerical population gains. The area added more than 47,000 residents during the period.
Wake County in North Carolina, where the population grew by almost 25,000 and now is more than 1 million, was on the list of the top 20 counties nationwide with the largest numerical population gains.
In North Carolina, Mecklenburg County now has 1.03 million residents, about 10,000 more than Wake County.
Greenville County remains the largest county in South Carolina with about 492,000 residents, followed by Richland County with 407,000 and Charleston County with almost 390,000.