South Carolina aiming for 23rd most populous state as growth continues
Propelled by population growth in the greater Charleston area, South Carolina has been one of the faster-growing states in the nation since the 2010 Census, and new estimates suggest the pace is picking up.
The Census Bureau released new estimates Monday that put South Carolina at No. 11 for population growth from July 2012 to July 2013. If it weren't for fracking, the Palmetto State would have made the top 10.
Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, created a natural gas extraction boom that sent North Dakota to the top of the charts for both population and income gains during the past several years. North Dakota's population popped by 7.3 percent since 2010.
Then again, there aren't many people in North Dakota, so a 7.3 percent jump in population added only about 49,000 people there over three years. South Carolina gained more in just the past year, adding 51,422 people.
The Census Bureau did not estimate where growth took place within states, or how much was related to births versus new residents moving in. However, a report in March showed that the tri-county Charleston region was the 12th fastest-growing metropolitan area in the nation through mid-2012, and that trend likely continued.
Across the nation, the South and West are estimated to have seen the most population growth since the last official count was taken in 2010. The only state estimated to have lost population since 2010 is Rhode Island, and just barely, by about 1,000 people.
According to the Census Bureau's estimates:
South Carolina's population increased by 1.1 percent during the 12 months ending July 1, 2013. That's slightly faster growth than in Georgia, North Carolina, or the South as a region.
Florida continued to lead growth in the South, and with an estimated population of nearly 19.6 million, its population could soon exceed New York's. The estimated population difference between the two state was just 98,267 as of July 1.
While New York and Florida contest for the title of third-most-populous state, South Carolina could soon overtake Alabama for the No. 23 spot. In 2010 Alabama had an estimated 149,209 more residents than South Carolina, but in 2013 the gap had narrowed to 58,883.
California is the state with by far the largest population (38.3 million), followed by Texas (26.5). Wyoming has the smallest population (582,658), but has been gaining on Vermont (626,630).
The United States had 316.1 million residents on July 1, and is expected to have about 317.3 million on New Year's Day. That would be a gain of 2.2 million people since New Year's Day 2012. In contrast, India is expected to lead international population growth, gaining 15.6 million residents over the past 12 months.
Reach David Slade at 937-5552.