The 2010 Census data for South Carolina was made public this afternoon, putting hard numbers behind the population growth that the state and particularly the coastal areas have experienced in the past decade.

South Carolina’s population increased by 15.3 percent since 2000, a greater increase than was seen in most states in the nation, and a change that will give the Palmetto state an additional, seventh seat in Congress.

The new 2010 Census figures show that the city of Charleston’s population increased to 120,083 — more than the Census Bureau had estimated, but not enough to make the Holy City the largest in the state.

Columbia remains the state’s largest city with a population of 129,272, followed by Charleston, then North Charleston with 97,471 residents, Mount Pleasant with 67,843, and Rock Hill, which has become a bedroom community of Charlotte, NC, with 66,154.

Population growth in Charleston County’s principal cities far exceeded statewide growth, led by Mount Pleasant’s 42.5 percent population increase.

The county as a whole, however, gained less population than the state, and less than Greenville and Richland counties.

Horry County’s population grew by 37 percent to 269,291. Horry, Dorchester, Beaufort and York counties had the largest increases in population growth.

Twelve counties in the state lost population during the same decade.

The population figures will be used to redraw the boundaries of political districts, from U.S. House seats at the state level to local city and county council seats. The numbers will also play a large role in determining how much federal money is allocated to different towns and cities, based upon their populations.

Read more in Thursday’s editions of The Post and Courier.

South Carolina's five largest cities by population their percentage of growth since 2000:

Columbia, 129,272, up 11.2 percent.

Charleston, 120,083, up 24.2 percent.

North Charleston, 97,471, up 22.4 percent.

Mount Pleasant, 67,843, up 42.5 percent.

Rock Hill, 66,154, up 32.9 percent.

The five largest counties and their percent of growth since 2000:

Greenville, 451,225, up 18.9 percent.

Richland, 384,504, up 19.9 percent.

Charleston, 350,209, up 13.0 percent.

Spartanburg, 284,307, up 12.0 percent.

Horry, 269,291, up 37.0 percent.