COLUMBIA — South Carolina's Hispanic population more than doubled in the past decade, according to U.S. data released Wednesday.
More than 235,000 people identified themselves as Hispanic in the state in 2010. The nearly 141,000 new Hispanics in the state are a 148 percent increase from 2000, and well over the 105,000 new black residents in the state in the past decade.
South Carolina's total population grew by 15.3 percent from 2000 to 4,625,364 people. The growth was enough for the state to add a seventh U.S. House seat and move it up two spots to become the 24th most populous state in the nation.
Three of the state's four fastest growing counties are near the coast. Dorchester County, boosted by suburban growth from Charleston, grew by nearly 42 percent. Beaufort, Horry and York counties also saw population increases of greater than 30 percent.
Twelve of the state's 46 counties lost population, centered in the rural textile regions south of Interstate 85 and also rural counties south and east of Columbia away from the coast.
Columbia remained the state's largest city with 129,272 residents, but Charleston grew nearly twice as fast and has only about 9,000 fewer people. North Charleston is the state's third most populous city, while Mount Pleasant moved into fourth, adding more than 20,000 people in the past 10 years.
Greenville County remains South Carolina's most populous county with nearly more than 451,000 people, followed by Richland County at nearly 385,000 and Charleston County at 350,000. All 10 of the state's largest counties in the 2000 Census saw double-digit population growth over the past decade, led by Dorchester County's 40,000 new residents — a 42 percent increase.