South Carolina’s Asian population doubled in 20 years, Myrtle Beach a popular destination

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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — The Asian population in South Carolina continues to grow, according to newly-released research from the Pew Research Center. 

Asians made up .9% of South Carolina’s population in 2000, which grew to 1.8% by 2019, according to the research.

The 148.2% increase makes South Carolina among the states with the fastest-growing Asian populations in the nation. Neighboring North Carolina saw a larger jump, with a 175.4% increase in the Asian population within 19 years. Asians made up 1.5% of North Carolina’s population in 2000, which had grown to 1.8% by 2019.

Asians are the fastest-growing racial or ethnic group in the nation, according to the research, with the number of Asians in the United States increasing by 81% within 19 years. The number of Asian persons in the country is expected to reach 35.8 million by 2060. Although the growth rate has slowed — decreasing from a 3.9% increase a year between 2000 to 2005 before dropping to 2.4% a year from 2015 to 2019 — it still remains top in the nation. 

The research doesn’t provide an explanation or hypothesis for the growth. 

Myrtle Beach’s share of Asian persons has been above the state average, with the U.S. Census Bureau estimating that 2.2% of people who live in Myrtle Beach identifying as Asian. In Horry County, that rate is 1.4%, lower than the statewide estimate of 1.8%. In Florence County, it’s expected to be 1.6%. 

A spokesperson for the South Carolina Commission for Minority Affairs did not initially respond to an interview request. After the story originally published, the spokesperson passed along information from a state report citing that lower costs of living and for business-start ups and relocations — especially in science, technology, engineering and math fields — have likely contributed to the boost in the Asian American population.

Although numbers have grown, the report said that “one can hardly predict the future with much accuracy, particularly when macroeconomic trends and government policies concerning taxation, immigration rules, and public investment are on the table — and especially so while in the shadow of the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Multiple Asian cultural organizations in South Carolina also did not respond to requests for comment on the growth.

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