By Stan Welch
As reported in a recent issue of The Journal, Anderson County has undertaken a project that will allow a more frequent and timely update on the county’s population growth, both in terms of sheer numbers, and in terms of demographics.
The Anderson County Population Update (ACPU) is designed to provide more topical information to be used in planning efforts. U.S. Census information is gathered only every ten years and usually takes more than a year to be compiled and subsequently released to the public.
The county’s comprehensive plan also operates on a ten year cycle, with casual updates, for lack of a better word, every five years. The ACPU uses nine Census County divisions, or CCDs, to identify various areas.
Surprising no one, the initial ACPU reflects an extraordinary rate of growth in northern Anderson County, or the Powdersville/Piedmont CCD. Anderson County, for example, is currently growing at a rate several percentage points higher than the national average, with the northern end of the county (Powdersville) exploding at better than three times the national rate.
The Pendleton, Williamston, and Anderson census districts are all growing at almost 13%: by comparison, Powdersville is at 34%. According to figures provided by the Anderson Planning Dept., the Powdersville/Piedmont CCD will have a population of just under thirty five thousand people by the 2020 census, and will add an additional ten thousand residents by the following census.
Since 1990, the percentage of whites in the county has dropped almost three per cent, with almost all of that decrease reflected in a parallel increase in the Hispanic population. The African American population has remained between sixteen and seventeen per cent, while the percentage of Asians and mixed races ( 2 or more races) have both doubled, although both categories are still miniscule.
The Piedmont/Powdersville CCD is becoming remarkably cosmopolitan, as both Greenville and Anderson counties continue to attract foreign investment, as well as relocating industries from other parts of the country. More than sixty one per cent of those moving into northern Anderson County since 2015 are from other states, while more than twenty five per cent are from overseas.
Sixty per cent of the population is between eighteen and sixty four years of age, while thirteen per cent are sixty five or older. The remaining twenty seven per cent are seventeen years old or younger. For the most part, the county’s population is also aging at a significant rate, with the median age rising by almost five years between census reports.