South Carolina was among the 10 fastest-growing states in the nation from 2007 to 2008, with most of the population increase resulting from people moving here from other states, the Census Bureau reported Monday.
From July 1, 2007, through July 1, 2008, five people moved into South Carolina from other states for every two people added to the state's population because of the birth rate.
While it's no surprise that people have been moving to the Palmetto State, the Census statistics show that South Carolina had the highest rate of population growth from domestic migration of any state in the nation. Domestic migration means people moving within the United States, from one state to another.
For every 1,000 people in South Carolina, more than 11 moved in from another state during the 12 months before July 1, the estimates show.
In raw numbers, the Census Bureau estimates 49,736 people moved to South Carolina from another state during that time. "That's one of the highest figures for any state in the country," said Robert Bernstein of the Census Bureau's public information office.
The only states to attract more new residents from other states were Texas, North Carolina, Arizona and Georgia.
Unlike those states, however, South Carolina attracted few new residents from other countries. Only 5,113 people are estimated to have moved to the state from locations outside the United States, a smaller number than moved to 27 other states.
In Georgia during the period of time, more than 27,000 new residents moved in from other nations. In North Carolina, there were more than 22,500.
South Carolina State Demographer Michael MacFarlane said people tend to move to South Carolina for retirement or recreation, while people move within the state more for employment reasons.
Often, he said, the migration from out-of-state creates new jobs, such as working at resorts and retirement communities, that prompts people to move within the state.
"Whether these trends are going to continue is an open bet right now," MacFarlane said.
South Carolina's population was estimated to be 4,479,800 on July 1. The population recorded in the 2000 Census was 4,012,012.
MacFarlane said the Census Bureau's 2008 estimates might not reflect the current state of the economy and the housing market, which he expects will slow the pace of domestic migration. With more people struggling economically and many having difficulty selling their homes, more are likely to stay where they are, he said.