WMBF Investigates: Horry County sees big population boost, Conway growing faster than Myrtle Beach


MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – Horry County’s population is growing faster than nearly every county in the state of South Carolina, adding 12,471 people from 2015 to 2016 according to data released Thursday. That’s 4,347 more people added than second-place Berkeley County.

The 4.0 percent growth rate in Horry County is second only to Lancaster County at 4.1 percent.

The Census Bureau says ten of the 15 fastest-growing large cities in the country are located in the South, Greenville is one of them at 5.8 percent growth from 2015 to 2016. The WMBF News investigative team took at deeper dive into the data and found Conway and Myrtle Beach are right behind Greenville for growth in cities with more than 20,000 people.

Conway’s population grew by 960, a 4.4 percent increase, while Myrtle Beach’s population grew by 1,213, a 3.9 percent increase. Neither city is the fastest growing municipality in the WMBF News viewing area. That honor goes to Aynor, with a 2016 population increase of 14 percent, 96 more people than the year before.

Horry County is the only county of the six WMBF News covers that is growing. Marion, Florence and Darlington Counties’ populations remained relatively unchanged. Dillon County’s population dropped 1.2 percent and Marlboro County had the second worst growth rate in the state at -2.2 percent.

Horry County has the fourth largest population in the state, behind Greenville, Richland and Charleston Counties.

The data also shows Charleston has passed Columbia as the most populated city in the state. They are followed by North Charleston, Mount Pleasant and Rock Hill. While Greenville added the most people, the next four cities as far as overall growth are all in the Lowcountry; Mount Pleasant, Bluffton, Charleston and Hanahan.

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