Greenville County, South Carolina

Coordinates: 34°53′34″N 82°22′19″W / 34.892645°N 82.372077°W / 34.892645; -82.372077
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Greenville County
Old Greenville County Courthouse
Official seal of Greenville County
Official logo of Greenville County
Motto: 
"Unrivaled Quality Of Life"
Map of South Carolina highlighting Greenville County
Location within the U.S. state of South Carolina
Map of the United States highlighting South Carolina
South Carolina's location within the U.S.
Coordinates: 34°53′34″N 82°22′19″W / 34.892645°N 82.372077°W / 34.892645; -82.372077
Country United States
State South Carolina
Founded1786
Named forNathanael Greene
SeatGreenville
Largest communityGreenville
Government
 • County AdministratorJoseph M. Kernell
Area
 • Total795.57 sq mi (2,060.5 km2)
 • Land785.93 sq mi (2,035.5 km2)
 • Water9.64 sq mi (25.0 km2)  1.21%
Population
 (2020)
 • Total525,534
 • Estimate 
(2022)
547,950
 • Density668.68/sq mi (258.18/km2)
Time zoneUTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−4 (EDT)
Congressional districts3rd, 4th
Websitewww.greenvillecounty.org

Greenville County (/ˈɡrnvɪl/ GREEN-vil; locally /ˈɡrnvəl/ GREEN-vəl) is located in the U.S. state of South Carolina. As of the 2020 census, the population was 525,534,[1] making it the most populous county in the state. Its county seat is Greenville.[2] The county is also home to the Greenville County School District, the largest school system in South Carolina. County government is headquartered at Greenville County Square.

Greenville County is the most populous county in Upstate South Carolina, as well as the state. It is the central county of the Greenville, SC Metropolitan Statistical Area, which in turn is part of the Greenville-Spartanburg-Anderson, SC Combined Statistical Area.

History[edit]

18th and 19th centuries[edit]

In 1786, due to population growth in Ninety-Six District and the victory of the American Whigs over the British and their colonial Tory and Cherokee allies, the state legislature formed Greenville County (originally spelled Greeneville), named for General Nathanael Greene,[3] the hero of the American southern campaign.[4] Greenville County was the first county created in the overarching Ninety-Six District, but from 1791 to 1798, both neighboring Pendleton County (the other county formed from Cherokee territory in northwestern Ninety-Six District) and it were part of the new overarching Washington District. From 1798 to 1800, it was part of the short-lived overarching Pendleton District. In 1798, all counties were reidentified as "elective districts" to be effective on 1 January 1800; thereafter, the Greenville District was no longer part of Pendleton District. In 1868, the districts were converted back to counties.[5][6] After the Civil War ended in the 1860s, former slaves gained freedom, the textile industry grew quickly, and cotton farming expanded in the county. Completion of the Southern Railway in 1893 joined the local economy with the rest of the nation.[7]

20th century[edit]

The Atlantic Coast Line Railroad's consolidation into the 1900s further linked the county with the national economy, and dozens of textile companies opened, with farm workers migrating to associated mill villages. World War I and creation of the Army National Guard's Camp Sevier in Taylors further increased the county's outside connections in the early 20th century.[7][8] Duke's Mayonnaise was started in Greenville in 1917 and still has its company headquarters in the county.[9]

World War II brought additional contracts for the textile industry in the 1940s. After the war ended, agriculture decreased and business leaders such as Charles E. Daniel and Roger Milliken pursued other industries to replace textiles. Donaldson Air Force Base was converted into an industrial air park (now Donaldson Center Airport) in the early 1960s, and Greenville–Spartanburg International Airport opened then as well.[7]

The 1960s brought gradual racial desegregation until the county's whole school district was integrated in January 1970. Interstate highways I-85, I-185, and I-385 first crossed the county in the 1960s, promoting growth and better economic placement. The mid-1960s reapportionment of state legislative representation into equal-population election districts brought political change, with metropolitan counties such as Greenville gaining influence over rural counties. Greenville County politicians were elected as state house and senate leaders, and as state governors (Richard Riley and Carroll A. Campbell Jr.) in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s.[7]

Geography[edit]

Map
Interactive map of Greenville County

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 795.57 square miles (2,060.5 km2), of which 785.93 square miles (2,035.5 km2) is land and 9.64 square miles (25.0 km2) (1.21%) is water.[10]

State and local protected areas/sites[edit]

Major water bodies[edit]

Adjacent counties[edit]

Major highways[edit]

Major infrastructure[edit]

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
CensusPop.Note
17906,503
180011,50476.9%
181013,13314.2%
182014,53010.6%
183016,47613.4%
184017,8398.3%
185020,15613.0%
186021,8928.6%
187022,2621.7%
188037,49668.4%
189044,31018.2%
190053,49020.7%
191068,37727.8%
192088,49829.4%
1930117,00932.2%
1940136,58016.7%
1950168,15223.1%
1960209,77624.8%
1970240,54614.7%
1980287,91319.7%
1990320,16711.2%
2000379,61618.6%
2010451,22518.9%
2020525,53416.5%
2022 (est.)547,950[1]4.3%
U.S. Decennial Census[18]
1790–1960[19] 1900–1990[20]
1990–2000[21] 2010[22] 2020[1]

2020 census[edit]

Greenville County racial composition[23]
Race Num. Perc.
White (non-Hispanic) 343,897 65.44%
Black or African American (non-Hispanic) 87,124 16.58%
Native American 893 0.17%
Asian 12,875 2.45%
Pacific Islander 398 0.08%
Other/mixed 22,322 4.25%
Hispanic or Latino 58,025 11.04%

As of the 2020 census, 525,534 people, 199,551 households, and 130,296 families were residing in the county.

2010 census[edit]

At the 2000 census, 451,225 people, 176,531 households, and 119,362 families were residing in the county.[24][25] The population density was 574.7 inhabitants per square mile (221.9/km2). The 195,462 housing units had an average density of 249.0 per square mile (96.1/km2).[26] The racial makeup of the county was 73.8% White, 18.1% African American, 2.0% Asian, 0.3% American Indian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 3.9% from other races, and 1.9% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 8.1% of the population.[24] In terms of ancestry, 13.0% were American, 11.6% were German, 10.9% were English, and 10.7% were Irish.[27]

Of the 176,531 households, 33.7% had children under 18 living with them, 49.7% were married couples living together, 13.5% had a female householder with no husband present, 32.4% were not families, and 27.0% were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.49, and the average family size was 3.03. The median age was 37.2 years.[24]

The median income for a household in the county was $46,830 and for a family was $59,043. Males had a median income of $45,752 versus $33,429 for females. The per capita income for the county was $25,931. About 10.8% of families and 14.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 20.0% of those under age 18 and 9.1% of those age 65 or over.[28]

Race and ethnicity[edit]

Greenville County Racial Breakdown of Population[1]
Racial composition 2010 2019
White 73.8% 76.3%
Black 18.1% 18.4%
Asian 2.0% 2.7%
Native American 0.3% 0.5%
Native Hawaiian and
other Pacific Islander
0.1% 0.1%
Two or more races 1.9% 2.0%
Other 3.8% 0.0%

Ancestry[edit]

As of 2016, the largest self-reported ancestry groups in Greenville County were:[29]

Ancestry Percent
(2016)
English England 12.9%
German Germany 11.0%
Irish Republic of Ireland 10.2%
American United States 9.9%
Scotch-Irish Ulster 3.1%
Italian Italy 3.1%
Scottish Scotland 2.9%
French France 2.2%
Polish Poland 1.5%
Dutch Netherlands 1.2%
Welsh Wales 0.7%
Swedish Sweden 0.7%
Norwegian Norway 0.6%

Government and politics[edit]

Greenville County is governed by a 12-member county council. The current county administrator is Joseph Kernell, whom the council appointed in January 2004 after voting in late 2003 to hire him. Kernell was previously the county administrator for St. Charles County, Missouri. Other staff hired by the council include a clerk and an attorney.[30][31]

Council members are elected by voters in each of the 12 state legislative districts (17–28) within the county and serve staggered four-year terms.[32]

County Council members[32]
District Name/party[33][34] Home[35] Elected
17 Joey Russo Travelers Rest 2022[36]
18 Michael F. Barnes Greer 2016[37][38]
19 Benton Blount Greenville 2022[36]
20 Steve Shaw Travelers Rest 2020[39]
21 Chris Harrison Greer 2020[39]
22 Stan Tzouvelekas Greenville 2020[39]
23 Alan Mitchell Greenville 2022[36]
24 Liz Seman (vice chair) Greenville 2008[40]
25 Ennis M. Fant Jr Greenville 2016[41] (1984)[42]
26 Rick Bradley Pelzer 2022[36]
27 Butch Kirven Simpsonville 2004[43]
28 Dan Tripp (chair) Mauldin 2018[44]
United States presidential election results for Greenville County, South Carolina[45]
Year Republican Democratic Third party
No.  % No.  % No.  %
2020 150,021 58.11% 103,030 39.91% 5,104 1.98%
2016 127,832 59.41% 74,483 34.62% 12,850 5.97%
2012 121,685 62.99% 68,070 35.23% 3,434 1.78%
2008 116,363 61.03% 70,886 37.18% 3,408 1.79%
2004 111,481 66.03% 55,347 32.78% 2,005 1.19%
2000 92,714 66.09% 43,810 31.23% 3,769 2.69%
1996 71,210 59.13% 41,605 34.55% 7,605 6.32%
1992 65,066 57.12% 34,651 30.42% 14,190 12.46%
1988 67,371 70.82% 27,188 28.58% 567 0.60%
1984 66,766 73.07% 24,137 26.42% 466 0.51%
1980 46,168 57.41% 32,135 39.96% 2,112 2.63%
1976 39,099 51.46% 35,943 47.31% 939 1.24%
1972 46,360 79.62% 10,143 17.42% 1,726 2.96%
1968 31,652 52.91% 12,928 21.61% 15,241 25.48%
1964 29,358 62.96% 17,275 37.04% 0 0.00%
1960 22,657 61.85% 13,976 38.15% 0 0.00%
1956 10,752 39.54% 11,819 43.46% 4,622 17.00%
1952 17,743 54.42% 14,863 45.58% 0 0.00%
1948 789 8.33% 2,745 28.97% 5,940 62.70%
1944 711 8.78% 7,107 87.81% 276 3.41%
1940 514 5.95% 8,118 94.05% 0 0.00%
1936 92 1.09% 8,310 98.91% 0 0.00%
1932 126 1.56% 7,930 98.41% 2 0.02%
1928 546 11.71% 4,116 88.25% 2 0.04%
1924 59 1.54% 3,728 97.36% 42 1.10%
1920 144 3.16% 4,409 96.84% 0 0.00%
1916 81 2.31% 3,384 96.66% 36 1.03%
1912 0 0.00% 3,140 98.28% 55 1.72%
1908 176 5.90% 2,774 92.93% 35 1.17%
1904 66 2.58% 2,489 97.42% 0 0.00%
1900 47 2.58% 1,777 97.42% 0 0.00%
1896 288 9.47% 2,718 89.38% 35 1.15%
1892 600 16.28% 3,026 82.09% 60 1.63%

From the latter half of the 20th century onward, Greenville County has voted overwhelmingly Republican in presidential elections. It has gone Republican in every presidential election since 1960, and in all but one election since 1952. Jimmy Carter of neighboring Georgia failed to win the county in 1976 despite winning the state. Carter's 1976 run is the last time a Democrat received 40% or more of the county's vote, and one of only two official Democratic candidates to do so since 1948. In 2020, Joe Biden became the first Democrat to obtain over 100,000 votes in the county, and Donald Trump's 18.2% margin of victory was the lowest for any Republican since 1980. Biden came within 320 votes of being only the second Democrat in 72 years to win 40% of the county's vote.

The county also rejects Democrats at the state level; it was one of the first areas of the state where Republicans were able to break the long Democratic monopoly on state and local offices.

Law enforcement[edit]

When Greenville County was formed in 1786, it was served by the sheriff of the Ninety Six District. A Washington District, including Greenville and Pendleton Counties, existed from 1791 to 1799. (Pendleton was split in 1826 into Pickens and Anderson Counties.) One of the district's first sheriffs, Revolutionary War hero Robert Maxwell, served from 1795 to 1797, when he was killed in an ambush.[46]

Sheriffs in South Carolina were originally elected by the state legislature. In 1808, a law was enacted to provide for the election of the sheriff directly by the citizens of the county, rather than by politicians. This method of election was placed into the South Carolina State Constitution in 1868 and the Office of Sheriff in Greenville County began.[46]

In 2017, Sheriff Will Lewis was suspended by Governor Henry McMaster for misconduct, perjury, and obstruction of justice. These charges came out of a sexual assault lawsuit filed by Lewis' female assistant. Although the sheriff said the relationship was consensual, he settled the claim for an undisclosed sum.[47] Lewis was found guilty in 2019 and sentenced to a year of prison, although he did not begin his sentence until October 2021.[48]

As of 2021, the sheriff of Greenville County is Hobart Lewis. The sheriff's office includes five divisions: Administrative Services, Community Services, Uniform Patrol, Criminal Investigations, and Judicial Services.[49]

Economy[edit]

CommunityWorks Federal Credit Union was chartered in 2014 to serve the residents of Greenville County. It is sponsored by CommunityWorks, Inc., a nonprofit community-development financial institution, and receives assistance from the United Way of Greenville County and the Hollingsworth Fund.[50]

Education[edit]

School districts serving the county include:[51]

The Greenville County Library System includes 11 libraries that provide meeting spaces, programs, books and other educational resources for county residents.[54] The library system is managed by a board of trustees whose 11 members serve 4-year terms after appointment by the county council. Terms expire at the end of November in odd-numbered years, with half expiring every two years.[55] In October 2023, after some prior controversy, the library board voted to remove all themed displays from its facilities except those pertaining to paid holidays.[56]

Healthcare[edit]

The Greenville Memorial Hospital was formerly operated by the municipal government, with Greenville Health System being the operating authority.[57] In 2016, Prisma Health began leasing the hospital and directly operating.[58] The GHA is the portion of the Greenville Health System that still existed after the hospital transitioned into being operated by Prisma.[57] The Greenville Health Authority (GHA) is the owner of the hospital facilities operated by Prisma. Members of the South Carolina Legislature select a majority of the seats of the board of directors of the GHA.[59]

Communities[edit]

In the past, Greenville County was partitioned into townships.[60] Their former names and boundaries were used for United States census counting purposes and census documentation through 1960, after which census counting divisions were used. The 2010 Census lists six cities and 16 census designated places that are fully or partially within Greenville County.[61]

Cities[edit]

Census-designated places[edit]

Other unincorporated communities[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "QuickFacts: Greenville County, South Carolina". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 11, 2022.
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on May 31, 2011. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  3. ^ "History | VisitGreenvilleSC". www.visitgreenvillesc.com. Retrieved June 11, 2022.
  4. ^ Heathcote, Charles William (2006) [1954]. "Historic Valley Forge: General Nathanael Greene". ushistory.org. Retrieved February 7, 2022.
  5. ^ Lewis, J.D. "Greenville County, South Carolina". Carolana.com. Retrieved February 7, 2022.
  6. ^ "History | Greenville, SC - Official Website". www.greenvillesc.gov. Retrieved June 11, 2022.
  7. ^ a b c d Huff, A. V. Jr. (August 5, 2022). "Greenville County". South Carolina Encyclopedia. Retrieved July 12, 2023.
  8. ^ Fore, Samuel K. (July 20, 2022). "Camp Sevier". South Carolina Encyclopedia. Retrieved July 12, 2023.
  9. ^ Dieterle, Jarrett; Ribas, Maria (June 7, 2018). "Worth The Whisk: How The Woman Behind Duke's Mayo Became A Tycoon". National Public Radio. Retrieved July 13, 2023.
  10. ^ "2020 County Gazetteer Files – South Carolina". United States Census Bureau. August 23, 2022. Retrieved September 10, 2023.
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "SCDNR Public Lands". www2.dnr.sc.gov. Retrieved April 1, 2023.
  12. ^ Howerton, Rebecca (August 15, 2019). "Giving Matters: The Nature Conservancy of South Carolina protects treasured landscapes from the mountains to the sea". Greenville Journal. Retrieved July 18, 2022.
  13. ^ Green, Ann (October 20, 2015). "A walk in Cedar Falls Park yields unexpected pleasures". Greenville News. Retrieved July 18, 2022.
  14. ^ Bassett, Maria (June 12, 2017). "Lake Robinson". Kidding Around Greenville. Bethany Winston. Retrieved July 18, 2022.
  15. ^ "Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area". www.visitgreenvillesc.com. Retrieved July 21, 2022.
  16. ^ "Pleasant Ridge Park". Greenville County Parks, Recreation & Tourism. Retrieved July 18, 2022.
  17. ^ "North Saluda Reservoir Near Tigerville, SC - 021623961". waterdata.usgs.gov. July 8, 2023. Retrieved July 16, 2023.
  18. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved March 17, 2015.
  19. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved March 17, 2015.
  20. ^ Forstall, Richard L., ed. (March 27, 1995). "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved March 17, 2015.
  21. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. April 2, 2001. Archived (PDF) from the original on October 9, 2022. Retrieved March 17, 2015.
  22. ^ "Greenville County, South Carolina". US Census. US Census. Archived from the original on June 6, 2011. Retrieved April 15, 2015.
  23. ^ "Explore Census Data". data.census.gov. Retrieved December 14, 2021.
  24. ^ a b c "DP-1 Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010 Demographic Profile Data". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on February 13, 2020. Retrieved March 9, 2016.
  25. ^ "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on June 6, 2011. Retrieved March 17, 2015.
  26. ^ "Population, Housing Units, Area, and Density: 2010 – County". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on February 13, 2020. Retrieved March 9, 2016.
  27. ^ "DP02 SELECTED SOCIAL CHARACTERISTICS IN THE UNITED STATES – 2006–2010 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on February 13, 2020. Retrieved March 9, 2016.
  28. ^ "DP03 SELECTED ECONOMIC CHARACTERISTICS – 2006–2010 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on February 13, 2020. Retrieved March 9, 2016.
  29. ^ "American FactFinder - Results". Archived from the original on February 13, 2020. Retrieved June 18, 2018.
  30. ^ Mitchell, Anna B. (January 30, 2019). "Greenville County Council wants to review county administrator's $280K annual contract". The Greenville News. Retrieved June 3, 2019.
  31. ^ "County Administrator". Greenville County, South Carolina. Retrieved June 3, 2013.
  32. ^ a b "County Council". Greenville County, South Carolina. Retrieved June 3, 2021.
  33. ^ "Candidate filing for November 2020" (PDF). Greenville County, South Carolina. June 25, 2020. Archived (PDF) from the original on October 9, 2022. Retrieved June 3, 2021.
  34. ^ "Record absentee votes recorded as polls open today". Greer Today. November 6, 2018. Retrieved June 3, 2021.
  35. ^ "County Council Member Information". Greenville County, South Carolina. Retrieved June 3, 2021.
  36. ^ a b c d Harris, Kennedi (November 9, 2022). "Greenville County's new council leaders, ready for change". Fox Carolina. Retrieved January 16, 2023.
  37. ^ Coyne, Amanda (May 29, 2016). "Three Greenville County Council districts headed to primary elections". The Greenville News. Retrieved June 3, 2021. Barnes will face off in a rematch of the 2012 Republican primary. In that race, Barnes won the election but was later kicked off the ballot
  38. ^ Coyne, Amanda (November 9, 2016). "Greenville County Council incumbents, primary victors win". The Greenville News. Retrieved June 3, 2021. Mike Barnes ... was also unopposed after winning his primary in June
  39. ^ a b c Maxwell, Anne (January 5, 2021). "Willis Meadows elected chair of Greenville County Council". WSPA-TV. Retrieved June 4, 2021.
  40. ^ "Liz Seman, District 24". Greenville County, South Carolina. Retrieved June 5, 2021. first elected in 2008 to represent District 24
  41. ^ "Greenville County SC Councilman In Hot Water Over Taxes". FITSNews. May 17, 2019. Retrieved June 5, 2021. since returning to public life in 2016
  42. ^ Coyne, Amanda (May 29, 2016). "Three Greenville County Council districts headed to primary elections". The Greenville News. Retrieved June 5, 2021. Fant served on Greenville County Council from 1984 to 1988
  43. ^ Cary, Nathaniel (October 7, 2020). "Greenville County Council candidate accuses council of mishandling coronavirus pandemic". The Post and Courier. Greenville. Retrieved June 5, 2021. Kirven ... has served on the council since 2004
  44. ^ "Dan Tripp, District 28". Greenville County, South Carolina. Retrieved June 5, 2021. Tripp was elected in November of 2018
  45. ^ Leip, David. "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". uselectionatlas.org. Retrieved March 13, 2018.
  46. ^ a b "History". Greenville County Sheriff's Office. Archived from the original on January 18, 2019. Retrieved May 28, 2021.
  47. ^ LaFleur, Elizabeth (February 19, 2019). "Grand jury indicts suspended Greenville Sheriff Will Lewis on 2 new criminal charges". Greenville News. Retrieved March 18, 2019.
  48. ^ Gross, Daniel J. "Former Greenville sheriff fears prison violence after SC court denies rehearing". The Greenville News. Retrieved November 9, 2021.
  49. ^ "Greenville County Sheriff's Office | Greenville County SC". www.gcso.org. Retrieved November 9, 2021.
  50. ^ Birch, Ray (April 3, 2014). "CommunityWorks FCU Is First New CU Charter Of The Year". Credit Union Journal. Retrieved April 3, 2014.[permanent dead link]
  51. ^ "2020 Census – School District Reference Map: Greenville County, SC" (PDF). U.S. Census Bureau. Archived (PDF) from the original on October 9, 2022. Retrieved August 1, 2022. - Text list
  52. ^ "Schools". South Carolina Public Charter School District. Retrieved October 2, 2022.
  53. ^ "Our Schools". Charter Institute at Erskine. Retrieved October 2, 2022.
  54. ^ "The Greenville County Library System". Greenville County. Retrieved November 21, 2023.
  55. ^ "Library Board of Trustees". Greenville County. Retrieved November 21, 2023.
  56. ^ Moss, Savannah (October 24, 2023). "Greenville County Library Board votes 6-4 to remove displays unless concerning 'paid holidays'". Greenville News. Retrieved November 21, 2023.
  57. ^ a b "Home". Greenville Health Authority. Retrieved November 20, 2021.
  58. ^ Navarro, Marcus (April 21, 2021). "Greenville lawmakers want a more "proactive" Health Authority". Greenville News. Retrieved October 7, 2021.
  59. ^ Mitchell, Anna B. (February 21, 2021). "Greenville Health Authority removes Prisma-linked president as hospital lease review nears". Post and Courier. Retrieved November 20, 2021. The changes are significant in that the GHA board owns the facilities from which Prisma runs healthcare in the Upstate.
  60. ^ Rootsweb: South Carolina Townships – Greenville County. Accessed 8 February 2022.
  61. ^ See http://factfinder.census.gov Archived 2020-02-12 at archive.today [1] [2] for population numbers and for municipality and CDP lists in the 2010 Census.
  62. ^ "Gowensville SC". www.gowensville.org. Retrieved September 28, 2022.

External links[edit]