- Associated Press - Thursday, March 27, 2014

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) - South Carolina’s population grew by almost 150,000 people from 2012 to 2013 and the state’s northeast coast is among the fastest growing areas in the United States, according to new population estimates released Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau.

The new numbers show that the state’s population is approaching 4.8 million people, an increase from just over 4.6 million in the 2010 census. The numbers show that a large part of the increase is a result of people moving to the state.

The Myrtle Beach-Conway-North Myrtle Beach metropolitan area, which now includes Brunswick County in North Carolina, was the 7th-fastest growing metropolitan area in the nation with the population increasing 2.7 percent between July 1 of 2012 and last July 1.

In addition, four of the nation’s 100 fastest-growing counties are now in South Carolina, all of them along the coast.

Much of the coastal growth is fueled by a flood of transplants from other states and retirees who want to live near the shore. Growth along the South Carolina coast has been booming for several decades and, according to the Census Bureau, more than half of the American population is now clustered within 50 miles of the coasts.

Jasper County, on the state’s southern point, was the 37th fastest-growing county in the nation, growing almost 3 percent between July of 2012 and 2013. Jasper is adjacent to the booming Hilton Head area.

Horry County was the nation’s 50th fastest-growing county with Beaufort County, adjacent to Jasper, No. 83 nationwide and Berkeley County, outside of Charleston, No. 90.

The Census Bureau uses information on births, deaths, and migration to calculate population change since the most recent 10-year census.

The numbers show that since 2010, 19,000 people have moved into Horry County, which now has a population of almost 290,000. About 16,000 moved into Charleston County while just over 7,000 moved into Beaufort County.

Orangeburg County lost the most people since 2010, just over 1,500, while Allendale County had the biggest percentage loss. Allendale lost 580 people or 5.6 percent of its population, according to the Census Bureau figures.

Greenville County is the largest county in the state with a population of 474,000, up about 23,000 from 2010. Richland County, which grew by almost 15,000 people, is next with just under 400,000.

Charleston County is third with 372,000. Charleston County has grown by more than 22,000 since the 2010 census.

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