South Carolina, the Palmetto State, unfolds across more than 32,000 square miles of the southeastern United States. South Carolina was one of the original 13 colonies, the first state to secede from the Union, and the first to ratify the Constitution.
This historic state shares its borders with Georgia, North Carolina, the Savannah River and the Atlantic Ocean. South Carolina features a diverse landscape that ranges from the Coastal Plains along the Atlantic coast, through the fertile Piedmont, to the majestic Blue Ridge Mountain foothills.
Data from the 2000 Census reported South Carolina’s population at more than 4 million individuals. Its capital and largest city is Columbia. Columbia, SC, population 116,278, lies in the heart of a six county metro area where more than 660,000 citizens reside. With a population of 96,650, the vibrant colonial city of Charleston is South Carolina’s second largest city. Charleston is home to the state’s principal port and ranked as Travel and Leisure Magazine’s 4 th best city to live in America in 2006. Charleston, SC is also part of a three county metropolitan area. Additional major cities in South Carolina include Florence, Greenville, Hilton Head Island, Mount Pleasant, Myrtle Beach, Rock Hill, Spartanburg and Sumter.
The many pristine beaches of South Carolina are among the most enticing in the nation. Covering 60-miles of shoreline between the Atlantic Ocean and the Intercoastal waterway is the Grand Strand, while Myrtle Beach and Hilton Head Island are the most popular tourist destinations. South Carolina boasts more than 80,000 acres of state park land with opportunities for camping, hunting and natural attractions such as Table Rock, and Sassafrass Mountain, the highest point in the state. Visitors enjoy amusement parks such as Paramount Carowinds, scrumptious local cuisine, 380 golf courses, historic towns, coastal and island resorts, scenic drives and a wealth of choices for shopping.
In 2004, South Carolina’s thriving economy included a gross state product of $136 billion. While agricultural products historically dominated the economy, manufacturers, retailers, tourist attractions, wholesalers and a wide range of service providers currently lead SC’s base of employment. In addition, a dynamic government sector, with facilities such as Charleston Air Force Base and Fort Jackson in Columbia, serves as important employment and income sources in South Carolina. With a massive highway system that includes access to interstates 20, 26, 77, 85 and 95, residents have easy access to a wide range of business markets.
Students in South Carolina enjoy progressive education with schools known for setting high standards for the nation. The SC Department of Education operates 85 school districts, which serve more than 1,000 public schools throughout the state. Eight percent of the student population attend private schools. Residents have eight public universities and many private colleges and universities from which to choose. These include The Citadel, Clemson University, Francis Marion University and several campuses of the University of South Carolina.
South Carolina boasts natural attractions, stunning beauty and an impressive array of recreational activities that set the stage for the perfect vacation. Award winning cities, trend setting schools and a dynamic, pro-business atmosphere make South Carolina an enviable place in which to live and work.
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