Counties compared in census

With gas shortages expected to continue for the near future, Augusta area residents might want to improve on this latest bit of U.S. Census data: Only a small percentage of them carpool or use public transportation to get to work.

In the latest Census estimates compiled in the 2007 American Community Survey, most workers in Aiken, Columbia and Richmond counties drive to work alone, mirroring the national trend. Richmond County's 21.3 percent of workers who either carpooled, used public transportation or other means to get to work was slightly better than the national rate of 19.8 percent.

Aiken and Columbia counties, which have smaller and limited public transit systems, lagged behind Richmond County at 12.9 percent and 12.2 percent in the 12-month survey of counties with populations of at least 65,000. The percentages don't reflect those who work at home.

In one of the quirkier tidbits from the survey, an Aiken County resident was more likely to have been born in a state other than South Carolina while the opposite held true in Richmond County, where the majority of residents are native Georgians.

Some data parallel long-held economic images of each county.

For instance, 86 percent of the housing units in Columbia County are owner-occupied compared with 74 percent in Aiken County and 57 percent in Richmond County.

The numbers also reflect the housing boom in Columbia County since 1990, as nearly 54 percent of residential structures were built since then compared with 35 percent in Aiken County and 22 percent in Richmond County.

Reach Mike Wynn at (706) 823-3218 or mike.wynn@augustachronicle.com.