Where Everybody in Charleston, SC is Moving From

If you want to live near the beach, the obvious choices are Florida and California. But what about someplace a little less crowded and more affordable? Charleston might be the answer.

The South Carolina city offers close proximity to five beaches and a lot less competition for the perfect spot to lay down your blanket. The metro area has about three-quarters of a million residents, compared to Miami, which has more than 6 million, and Los Angeles, which has more than 13 million.

It’s no wonder Charleston is growing. Between July 2016 and July 2017, the metro-area population went from 761,904 to 775,831, a 1.8 percent increase, according to the latest census data. During that time, the population of Charleston County went from 396,570 to 401,438, a 1.2 percent increase. (The metro area includes three counties, so it has a larger population than Charleston County does.)

Some of that growth is due to local births, of course, but nearly 30,000 people have moved to Charleston County over the past few years. A total of 29,308 people, to be precise, moved to the area from other places between 2011 and 2015, according to another census study.

Let’s be precise about where they’re coming from, too. The same study helps us out. A little more than half (57 percent or 16,581 people) came from outside South Carolina, many of them from chilly Anchorage, AK. Those coming from Anchorage are likely military members relocating form Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson to Joint Base Charleston.

The rest (43 percent, 12,727 people), moved to Charleston from elsewhere within South Carolina, many from nearby counties.

Below are rankings for the top five counties of origin for movers to Charleston County:

Movers outside of South Carolina:

Origin Number of movers Percent from out-of-state
Anchorage Municipality 670 4%
Mecklenburg County, NC (Charlotte) 378 2.3%
Kings County, NY (Brooklyn) 286 1.7%
New York County, NY (Manhattan) 274 1.7%
Gwinnet County, GA (Lawrenceville) 262 1.6%

Movers from South Carolina:

Origin Number of movers Percent of in-state
Berkeley County 3,567 28%
Dorchester County 2,882 22.6%
Richland County 885 7%
Pickens County 618 4.9%
Lexington County 477 3.7%


Charleston Area Convention and Visitors Bureau

U.S. Census Bureau

Elizabeth Whalen