The cobblestone streets and antebellum houses of seaside Charleston mark a city alive with years of history. But its past makes way for an expanding future as one of America’s fastest-growing cities.
According to SmartAsset’s 2019 study of 500 of the nation’s largest cities, Charleston ranks No. 8 in America’s top 10 boomtowns, defined as areas of rapid population growth and economic development.
But Charleston is not the only rising hub in the Palmetto State.
S.C. cities claimed three of the top 10 positions: Mount Pleasant ranked third, North Charleston ninth. According to the study, these cities stand out for their low unemployment rates and high five-year housing-growth rates.
Mount Pleasant ranks second-highest in the top 10 for its five-year population change, at 14.85%. It’s also within the top 35 for its low unemployment rate of 2.7%, five-year establishment growth rate of 11.84% and five-year housing growth rate of 16.28%. Overall, Mount Pleasant placed within the top 25% of all metrics in the study.
Charleston’s population increased about 8% from 2014 through 2018. In the same time period, the number of housing units increased about 12%, reflective of the city’s ranking within the top 50 for housing growth rate. Unemployment is at 2.9%, the fifth-lowest rate for this metric in the top 10.
At ninth place in the study, North Charleston has seen a population increase of more than 10% from 2014 through 2018. Its average yearly GDP growth from 2013 through 2017 was more than 3%, and its five-year establishment growth rate ranks the city in 35th place overall, at an increase of about 12% from 2012 through 2016.
Cities were evaluated on population change, unemployment rate, change in unemployment rate, GDP growth rate, business growth, housing growth and change in household income.