- Associated Press - Thursday, March 26, 2015

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) - The breakneck growth along the South Carolina coast has made it was one of the nation’s fastest-growing areas.

Three of the 20 fastest-growing metropolitan areas in the United States are along South Carolina’s 190-mile coastline, according to figures released by the U.S. Census Bureau on Thursday.

The Myrtle Beach metropolitan area was the second-fastest growing metro area in the nation between July 2013 and July 2104, a rate surpassed only by The Villages in Florida.

The Myrtle Beach metropolitan area includes Myrtle Beach, North Myrtle Beach, Conway and Brunswick County in neighboring North Carolina. The population grew 3.2 percent during the period and was estimated at about 418,000 people last July 1.

To the southwest, the Hilton Head-Beaufort area was the 13th fastest-growing metropolitan area in the nation. The Charleston-North Charleston area was No. 17 on the list.

The Hilton Head-Beaufort area grew at 2.4 percent during the period, and its population was estimated at about 203,000 as of last July. The Charleston area grew at 2.2 percent rate and had a population of almost 730,000.

The figures reflect continued population growth in the Sun Belt. Only Florida and Texas had more areas than South Carolina on the list of the nation’s 20 fastest-growing metropolitan areas.

In North Carolina, Raleigh was No. 15 on the list, growing at 2.3 percent. The Raleigh metropolitan area population is now 1.2 million.

Population figures released last December showed that North Carolina had become the nation’s 9th most-populous state with an estimated population of 9.9 million.

The estimated population for South Carolina was 4.8 million, an increase of about 200,000 since the 2010 Census. South Carolina was the nation’s 10th fastest-growing state and the 24th largest by population.


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