South Carolina

Capital: Columbia

State abbreviation/Postal code: S.C./SC

Governor: Nikki Haley, R (to Jan. 2019)

Lieut. Governor: Henry McMaster, R (to Jan. 2019)

Senators: Lindsey Graham, R (to Jan. 2021); Tim Scott, R (to Jan. 2017)

U.S. Representatives: 7

Historical biographies of Congressional members

Secy. of State: Mark Hammond, R (to Jan. 2019)

Treasurer: Curtis Loftis, R (to Jan. 2019)

Atty. General: Alan Wilson, R (to Jan. 2019)

Entered Union (rank): May 23, 1788 (8)

Present constitution adopted: 1895

Mottoes: Animis opibusque parati (Prepared in mind and resources) and Dum spiro spero (While I breathe, I hope)

State symbols:

flower Carolina yellow jessamine (1924)
tree palmetto tree (1939)
bird Carolina wren (1948)
song “Carolina” (1911)

Nickname: Palmetto State

Origin of name: In honor of Charles I of England

10 largest cities (2010 est.): Columbia, 129,272; Charleston , 120,083; North Charleston, 97,471; Rock Hill, 66,154; ; Greenville, 58,409; Sumter, 40,524; Florence 37,056, Spartanburg, 37,013; Goose Creek, 35,938; Aiken, 29,524

Land area: 30,109 sq mi. (77,982 sq km)

Geographic center: In Richland Co., 13 mi. SE of Columbia

Number of counties: 46

Largest county by population and area: Greenville, 451,225 (2010); Horry, 1,134 sq mi.

State forests: 4

State parks: 47 (80,000+ ac.)

Residents: South Carolinian

2011 resident population est.: 4,679,230

2010 resident census population (rank): 4,625,364 (24). Male: 2,250,101 (48.6%); Female: 2,375,263 (51.4%). White: 3,060,000 (66.2%); Black: 1,290,684 (27.9%); American Indian: 19,524 (0.4%); Asian: 59,051 (1.3%); Other race: 113,464 (2.5%); Two or more races: 79,935 (1.7%); Hispanic/Latino: 235,682 (5.1%). 2010 percent population 18 and over: 36.7; 65 and over: 5.9; median age: 37.9.

See additional census data

Area codes

Tourism office

Following exploration of the coast in 1521 by Francisco de Gordillo, the Spanish tried unsuccessfully to establish a colony near present-day Georgetown in 1526, and the French also failed to colonize Parris Island near Fort Royal in 1562. The first English settlement was made in 1670 at Albemarle Point on the Ashley River, but poor conditions drove the settlers to the site of Charleston (originally called Charles Town).

South Carolina, officially separated from North Carolina in 1729, was the scene of extensive military action during the Revolution and again during the Civil War. The Civil War began in 1861 as South Carolina troops fired on federal Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor, and the state was the first to secede from the Union.

Once primarily agricultural, South Carolina today has many large textile and other mills that produce several times the output of its farms in cash value. Charleston makes asbestos, wood, pulp, steel products, chemicals, machinery, and apparel.

Farms have become fewer but larger in recent years. South Carolina ranks second in peach production after California. Other top agricultural commodities include broilers (31.5% of total state farm receipts), turkeys, greenhouse products, cattle and calves, and corn. One of only two commercial tea plantations in America is 20 mi south of Charleston on Wadmalaw Island.

Points of interest include Fort Sumter National Monument, Fort Moultrie, Fort Johnson, and aircraft carrier USS Yorktown in Charleston Harbor; the Middleton, Magnolia, and Cypress Gardens in Charleston; Cowpens National Battlefield; the Hilton Head resorts; and the Riverbanks Zoo and Botanical Garden in Columbia.

See more on South Carolina:
Encyclopedia: South Carolina
Encyclopedia: Geography
Encyclopedia: Economy
Encyclopedia: Government
Encyclopedia: History
Monthly Temperature Extremes

All U.S. States: Geography & Climate
Printable Outline Maps
Record Highest Temperatures
Record Lowest Temperatures
Highest, Lowest, and Mean Elevations
Land and Water Area

All U.S. States: Population & Economy
Historical Population Statistics, 1790–Present
Per Capita Personal Income
Minimum Wage Rates
State Taxes
Federal Government Expenditure
Percent of People in Poverty
Births and Birth Rates
Percentage of Uninsured by State

All U.S. States: Society & Culture:
Most Livable States
Healthiest States
Most Dangerous States
Smartest States
Crime Index
Residency Requirements for Voting
Compulsory School Attendance Laws
Driving Laws
National Public Radio Stations

Information Please® Database, © 2015 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.

South Carolina


10 Best Creative Apps for Kids
Looking for apps that foster creativity? Check out these top-rated art and music apps for kids.

Kindergarten Readiness App Wins Gold
Our Kindergarten Readiness app won the Gold Award of Excellence in the educational category at the 2014 Communicator Awards. This valuable checklist comes with games and activities to help your child practice the essential skills she needs for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

A New Intergalactic Reading Adventure!
Get your reluctant reader hooked on an irresistible new story, Galactic Hot Dogs! Join the Book 1 reading marathon, and get behind-the-scenes tidbits on the official Galactic Hot Dogs blog. Also, print this cool Galactic Hot Dogs reading log to keep your bookworm excited about reading!

Find Today's Newest & Best Children's Books!
Looking for newly released books for your child? Try our new Book Finder tool to search for new books by age, type, and theme, and create reading lists for kids!

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks