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Spartan

City Population Growth!

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I don't normally see any reason to post population numbers for the county or the population stats for the city, unless they are unusally high or low or otherwise special (eg: key milestones). To me, growth is growth, and I'd rather focus my attention on more pressing matters. However- today we have an excpetion! According to this article in the Herald-Journal, the CITY has seen population GROWTH in 2006 for the first time since the 2000 census, and my guess is probably since 1990 as well (thats specualtion on my part, since I don't have the numbers to back that up). Anyway, we do know that for the past 6 years the city has been slowly loosing population. Mayor Barnet points out that we've been taking out housing lately, and not adding very much- for example, the East Pearl neighborhood which is almost entirely gone.

But more recently there has been a more concerted effort to add housing in places like Hampton Heights & Downtown, through infill development, redevelopment and through annexation. I can't say for certain how much of the population gain came from which effort- but my speculation is that its primarily through the efforts in Hampton Heights and annexation.

So if you haven't already jumped to the article, you're probably wondering how many new people were added.... the number is a whopping 162 residents (0.4%). Dissapointed? I was at first, but then I realized (and as the article later points out) that this is a sign of a turn around for the city of Spartanburg. Its a sign that more people are moving into the city, and more importantly that we are no longer loosing population to the County for whatever reason. Spartanburg is following the national trend, and its a good sign of things to come.

Population since 2000


2000 - 39,673 

2001 - 39,499 (-174) (-0.4%)

2002 - 39,305 (-194) (-0.5%)

2003 - 38,857 (-448) (-1.1%)

2004 - 38,554 (-303) (-0.8%)

2005 - 38,399 (-200) (-0.4%)

2006 - 38,561 (+162) (+0.4%)

Other cities in Spartanburg County posted population gains as well: Campobello, Lyman, Duncan, Greer and Cowpens

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I noticed this as well - I was reading the latest round of census estimates (after all the fastest-growing cities artcles appeared yesterday in varied newspapers), and looked over the NC and SC numbers. Annexation laws be damned there's been some interesting upticks across SC - Anderson, Clemson & Easley have managed small-but-steady increases for the last 6 or 7 years now, and Greenville's numbers were up sligtly as well. There are the usual hotspots - Myrtle Beach, Charleston, Rock Hill, Lexington, Conway, Mt Pleasant all have big gains, but there were increases in some more unexpected spots: Florence, Orangeburg, Bennettsville as well. Here's to hoping this nascent trend sustains itself.

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This seems to be a new trend in the Upstate. Greenville is experiencing the same type of turnaround, and I would assume that Anderson is as well, based on the new developments happening in the city there. The smaller cities/suburbs have been booming for years now, but at the expense of our larger cities' population. Hopefully we'll see this trend continue to grow and the larger cities begin outpacing the suburban cities as should be. :shades:

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If this were any other state, the suburbs would have been part of the primary city.

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More growth for the City!! We gained a whopping 282 people this year which puts us at 38,843. At this rate, we might actually gain population be the 2010 Census :)

Population since 2000


2000 - 39,673 

2001 - 39,499 (-174) (-0.4%)

2002 - 39,305 (-194) (-0.5%)

2003 - 38,857 (-448) (-1.1%)

2004 - 38,554 (-303) (-0.8%)

2005 - 38,399 (-200) (-0.4%)

2006 - 38,561 (+162) (+0.4%)

2007 - 38,843 (+282) (+0.9%)

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Growth again for the city of Spartanburg! We gained a 748 people this year which puts us at 39,741. If the trend continues, we should be over 40,000 by the 2010 Census.

Population since 2000


2000 - 39,673 

2001 - 39,499 (-174) (-0.4%)

2002 - 39,305 (-194) (-0.5%)

2003 - 38,857 (-448) (-1.1%)

2004 - 38,554 (-303) (-0.8%)

2005 - 38,399 (-200) (-0.4%)

2006 - 38,561 (+162) (+0.4%)

2007 - 38,843 (+282) (+0.9%)

2008 - 39,587 (+741) (+1.9%)

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It seems the Census annual projections were a little off. The city of Spartanburg actually LOST 6.7% of its population, going from 39,673 in 2000 to 37,013. I still maintain, however, that the city is will see a reversal in its population trends due to the reinvestment in downtown and the neighborhoods in its vicinity. Plus, if the city continues to proactively annex there will be plenty of opportunity for growth.

The good news is that the County's population grew to 284,307- a gain of 12%

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It seems the Census annual projections were a little off. The city of Spartanburg actually LOST 6.7% of its population, going from 39,673 in 2000 to 37,013. I still maintain, however, that the city is will see a reversal in its population trends due to the reinvestment in downtown and the neighborhoods in its vicinity. Plus, if the city continues to proactively annex there will be plenty of opportunity for growth.

The good news is that the County's population grew to 284,307- a gain of 12%

I agree with you Spartan. The city's commitment to downtown redevelopment and neighborhood livability should result in an increase in population by the next census.

I'm also encouraged by the county's percentage of increase. Correct me if I'm wrong but I believe the county only grew by 9% between 1990 and 2000. 12% is pretty strong.

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The county's increase was decent. Though, a 12% gain is still not really "keeping up with the Jones's". Spartanburg County's longtime place as 4th largest county is in jeopardy with hard-charging Horry (+37%), Lexington (+21.5%), and York (+37.3%) growing at those rates (also Greenville grew by 19% and Richland by 20%).

And my first impression after seeing the city's population decline was shock and disappointment. We were the only major city in SC to decline in population. We were passed by places like Summerville, Sumter, Hilton Head, and Florence! This is not good. The downtown development is nice, but it's not enough, as it's obviously not having any effect on drawing residents into the city. The City needs make annexation a huge priority (like Greenville has recently pledged to do). We also need to draw in some residential development (there's a lot of land south of town). Personally, this population decline seems like a really bad issue that needs to be addressed NOW, or Spartanburg as a city will be in big trouble. Just imagine a prospective business looking at those figures. Why would they locate here in a "dying" town, when there are plenty of other cities in SC that are growing (often rapidly)?

Pardon my "doom and gloom" outlook, but the city population figures look only negative to me.

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What is Spartanburgs urban area population?

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We won't know the new urban area statistics for another year or two. It's still disproportionally large compared to the central city.

I agree that at first glance appears to be a gloomy situation. It can also be a good thing if we think about it. Our city and county councils are reading the same stats. Everyone with any sense can tell you that losing population is not a good statistic for an otherwise healthily growing community. Because at least a few of our elected officials do have common sense, they will recognize this, and they should adapt their strategies to address this problem. It's becoming more and more obvious that a healthy central city (not just "downtown") is critical to a prosperous region. Our healthy central city is NOT Greenville. I'm not suggesting that everyone will change all of their goals towards population growth, but towards economic development that will ultimately bring in the economic/demographic/population changes that are needed.

Realistically, though, what will drives economic development - and therefore population growth - is attracting the middle class back to the city. That is well stated in the Downtown Master Plan that was just adopted. The current demographics around downtown are mostly poor black people. None of us need to look at a demographics map to know that. Spartanburg has done a lot to improve public housing in the city, which is a good start, but now its time to reinvest in infrastructure- sidewalks, streets, repaving, etc to make its neighborhoods more attractive to all.

While we've relied on entities like the Preservation Trust to do all the work, perhaps its time for the government to step in and create (and fund) infrastructure programs to improve the quality of life in the city. It should also target specific communities, like Beaumont, Drayton, Fairview Heights, Saxon, Cleveland Park, Hilltop, Hillcrest, Old Charlotte Rd, etc to annex. It should do that because it will make planning for and improving those areas immediately adjacent to the city easier, and make those neighborhoods cohesive with the city.

THEN the city can start identifying boundaries for the neighborhoods because many people have no idea which one they live in or if there even is one. That, in turn, will help foster a sense of community, which in turn improves people's nature to care about where they live.

IMO, there are two kinds of Spartans- those who care about the community and those that dont. I think many people dont like the city because they view it as ugly or having no opportunity. That mindset has to change, and the only way to change it is by making Spartanburg a better place to live be investing in it.

Also, it's so freaking cheap to live in the City- even with higher taxes- that it should be easy to attract new people to the city (assuming the neighborhoods are good). People coming form bigger cities with higher costs of living can easily afford to live right near downtown and still afford a very large house (if that's what they want). Less yard, but honestly, us Gen Yers very often don't want a yard. You see more and more of us paying for someone else to do it.

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I think your doom and gloom is well founded. The City numbers are terrible and the County is not much better. First, the City let dust grow on some annexation agreements for over 20 years before making a last minute attempt to annex, leaving no time for any problems which were sure to arrise(self inflicted wound). The County growth(smallest % increase of all large counties) I would bet was all in the Western part of the County, which says more about Greeville growth than Spartanburg. Boiling Springs is likely the only other area that saw measurable growth. Spartanburg has terrible leadership and the Quality of life issues that attract economic investment have remained stagnant for decades. All large economic announcements have been in the Western half of the County. The economic futures group is riding on the coat tails of Greenville development. I can't remember a single announcement in the Eastern half of Spartanburg County in the last 20 years. This says the companies are locating close to Greenville, but the land is more available in Western Spartanburg County because Greenville is more built out. If significant change doesn't happen in leadership and a shift in quality of life issues the numbers for the next Census will be even worse. Spartanburg will continue to loose status and become a bedroom community of Greenville.

Imagine 52 fully loaded buses of people have left the City in the last 10 years. ESA moving, Miss SC gone, demographic in the City continue to shift away from the middle class, Caterpillar goes to Winston-Salem, All neighborhoods in the City are showing great signs of aging with no new neighborhoods in the forecast etc. Where does any optimism come from?

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You know, I've thought about this one, and my basic reply is this: you can either see the glass half full or half empty. I'm a half full kind of guy. I'm not going to sit around an pump sunshine just to convince you that its not all bad. Believe what you want :)

The City is still declining, but I think over the next 10 years, the new urban code will help improve downtown in ways we cant yet imagine- even despite the fact that we continue to loose historic buildings. That may not translate to population growth in the city immediately, but eventually it will. As with most things, change is very very gradual, so this will not be an overnight change. Spartanburg has a lot of Class A office space and dirt cheap housing (as I said before- I can get a mansion for what I paid for my condo in Charlotte). Spartanburg has plenty of advantages if you choose to see them. The Wofford-VCOM campuses could create some synergy and help reclaim that area. There is talk of a streetscape along Howard St which should help the aesthetics of that area. If the County does end up moving its offices, the loss of that eyesore of a building will be spectacular for downtown. As the economy continues to improve, there will be more opportunity for business development, growth, etc in Spartanburg. THe future is still bright.

As for the population growth... If I ever have any down time at work I will get the census data and see if I can make a map illustrating the growth areas. We all know the western portion of the county and Boiling Springs has seen most of the growth. Growth areas are very rarely seen where the land is built out, so the City will always see the least amount of population growth until it can start annexing. One of Spartanburg's biggest challenge is fixing the "Era of Indifference" (basically the 70s-mid90s), most notably the Talley years. These are years where, IMO, the city basically ignored its plans and just let things happen, rather than try. Today I feel like more people care about the city and want to see it prosper and are TRYING to fix it. That's just my opinion.

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As for the population growth... If I ever have any down time at work I will get the census data and see if I can make a map illustrating the growth areas. We all know the western portion of the county and Boiling Springs has seen most of the growth. Growth areas are very rarely seen where the land is built out, so the City will always see the least amount of population growth until it can start annexing.

The NYTimes did have the data available on a zoomable map that started with county data nationally and went down to the local census tract data. It isn't working for me today but here is the link in case it works for you.

http://projects.nyti...sus/2010/map?hp

The Census does show two bands of high growth for Spartanburg County. There is a band of growth north and west of town that extends into Greenville County north of Greer and another band of growth south and west extending into the Simpsonville area. The immediate area of the city of Spartanburg show mostly declines in population. The areas east of town saw some smaller growth or stagnation.

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Looking at the map, the population decrease in the city is completely understandable when you consider where the biggest drops are located. The Spartanburg Housing Authority has and is rebuilding large swaths of public housing. That population has been temporarily displaced. The other big one is Carrington, which took out a fairly significant apartment complex and replaced it with only two occupied homes so far. Even at full build out it won't have the population that it had previously. Then you have that northwest area around Wofford St where again, lots of housing was taken out for the St Johns St Extension and for the "Midtown" redevelopment project and the other one on Baltimore St.

The growth all makes perfect sense. People want to live in suburbia, and all of the high growth areas have plenty of it. The growth pattern between Greenville and Spartanburg isn't going to stop anytime soon.

If I can remember, at some point I will try to get Census Block or Block Group level data so we can see the population change in more detail.

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The NYTimes did have the data available on a zoomable map that started with county data nationally and went down to the local census tract data. It isn't working for me today but here is the link in case it works for you.

http://projects.nyti...sus/2010/map?hp

The Census does show two bands of high growth for Spartanburg County. There is a band of growth north and west of town that extends into Greenville County north of Greer and another band of growth south and west extending into the Simpsonville area. The immediate area of the city of Spartanburg show mostly declines in population. The areas east of town saw some smaller growth or stagnation.

I see one indicator on the census report that bothers me. Look at it closely and you will see.

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