For those who study population growth patterns, U.S. Census Bureau data indicating South Carolina experienced a population growth of 15.3 percent came as no surprise. What was surprising, says University of South Carolina cultural geographer Dr. Jerry Mitchell, was the 148 percent growth in the Hispanic population in the state.
The growth in the state’s Hispanic population doesn’t mean illegal immigration has risen. Mitchell says Hispanics have been undercounted in the past for several reasons, including high mobility and language barriers.
Hispanics now make up just over 5 percent of the state’s 4.6 million people. That’s a rise from 2.4 percent in the year 2000. Mitchell says it will be interesting to see where this population growth is actually taking place and how it may be affected by the changing growth and location patterns of African-American citizens.
Mitchell says the growth in the state’s population and change in its demographic makeup has an important bearing on the provision of certain public services, including schools.