State of South Carolina
ORIGIN OF STATE NAME: Named in honor of King Charles I of England.
NICKNAME: The Palmetto State.
ENTERED UNION: 23 May 1788 (8th).
SONG: "Carolina;" "South Carolina on My Mind."
MOTTO: Animis opibusque parati (Prepared in mind and resources); Dum spiro spero (While I breathe, I hope).
COAT OF ARMS: A palmetto stands erect, with a ravaged oak (representing the British fleet) at its base; 12 spears, symbolizing the first 12 states, are bound crosswise to the palmetto's trunk by a band bearing the inscription "Quis separabit" (Who shall separate?). Two shields bearing the inscriptions "March 26" (the date in 1776 when South Carolina established its first independent government) and "July 4," respectively, hang from the tree. Under the oak are the words "Meliorem lapsa locavit" (Having fallen, it has set up a better one) and the year "1776." The words "South Carolina" and the motto Animis opibusque parati surround the whole.
FLAG: Blue field with a white palmetto in the center and a white crescent at the union.
OFFICIAL SEAL: The official seal consists of two ovals showing the original designs for the obverse and the reverse of South Carolina's great seal of 1777. left (obverse): same as the coat of arms. right (reverse): as the sun rises over the seashore, Hope, holding a laurel branch, walks over swords and daggers. The motto Dum spiro spero is above her, the word "Spes" (Hope) below.
BIRD: Carolina wren; wild turkey (wild game bird).
FISH: Striped bass.
FLOWER: Yellow jessamine.
LEGAL HOLIDAYS: New Year's Day, 1 January; Birthday of Martin Luther King Jr., 3rd Monday in January; Washington's Birthday/Presidents' Day, 3rd Monday in February; Confederate Memorial Day, 10 May; National Memorial Day, last Monday in May; Independence Day, 4 July; Labor Day, 1st Monday in September; Veterans' Day, 11 November; Thanksgiving Day, 4th Thursday in November; Christmas Eve, 24 December, when declared by the governor; Christmas Day, 25 December and the day following.
TIME: 7 AM EST = noon GMT.
Situated in the southeastern United States, South Carolina ranks 40th in size among the 50 states.
The state's total area is 31,113 sq mi (80,583 sq km), of which land takes up 30,203 sq mi (78,226 sq km) and inland water 910 sq mi (2,357 sq km). South Carolina extends 273 mi (439 km) e-w; its maximum n-s extension is 210 mi (338 km).
South Carolina is bounded on the n and ne by North Carolina; on the se by the Atlantic Ocean; and on the sw and w by Georgia (with the line passing through the Savannah and Chattooga rivers).
Among the 13 major Sea Islands in the Atlantic off South Carolina are Bull, Sullivans, Kiawah, Edisto, Hunting, and Hilton Head, the largest island (42 sq mi—109 sq km) on the Atlantic seaboard between New Jersey and Florida. The total boundary length of South Carolina is 824 mi (1,326 km), including a general coastline of 187 mi (301 km); the tidal shoreline extends 2,876 mi (4,628 km). The state's geographic center is located in Richland County, 13 mi (21 km) se of Columbia.
South Carolina is divided into two major regions by the fall line that runs through the center of the state from Augusta, Georgia, to Columbia and thence to Cheraw, near the North Carolina border. The area northwest of the line, known as the upcountry, lies within the Piedmont Plateau; the region to the southeast, called the low country, forms part of the Atlantic Coastal Plain. The rise of the land from ocean to the fall line is very gradual: Columbia, 120 mi (193 km) inland, is only 135 ft (41 m) above sea level. In the extreme northwest, the Blue Ridge Mountains cover about 500 sq mi (1,300 sq km); the highest elevation, at 3,560 ft (1,086 m), is Sassafras Mountain. The mean elevation of the state is approximately 350 ft (107 m).
Among the many artificial lakes, mostly associated with electric power plants, is Lake Marion, the state's largest, covering 173 sq mi (48 sq km). Three river systems—the Pee Dee, Santee, and Savannah—drain most of the state. No rivers are navigable above the fall line.
South Carolina has a humid, subtropical climate. Average temperatures range from 68°f (20°c) on the coast to 58°f (14°c) in the northwest, with colder temperatures in the mountains. Summers are hot: in the central part of the state, temperatures often exceed 90°f (32°c), with a record of 111°f (44°c) set at Camden on 28 June 1954. In the northwest, temperatures of 32°f (0°c) or less occur from 50 to 70 days a year; the record low for the state is −20°f (−29°c), set at Caesars Head Mountain on 18 January 1977. The daily average temperature at Columbia is 45°f (7°c) in January and 82°f (27°c) in July.
Rainfall is ample throughout the state, averaging 48.7 in (123 cm) annually at Columbia and ranging from 38 in (97 cm) in the central region to 52 in (132 cm) in the upper piedmont. Snow and sleet (averaging 2 in/5 cm a year at Columbia) occur about three times annually, but more frequently and heavily in the mountains.
Principal trees of South Carolina include palmetto (the state tree), balsam fir, beech, yellow birch, pitch pine, cypress, and several types of maple, ash, hickory, and oak; longleaf pine grows mainly south of the fall line. Rocky areas of the piedmont contain a wide mixture of moss and lichens. The coastal plain has a diversity of land formations—swamp, prairie, savannah, marsh, dunes—and, accordingly, a great number of different grasses, shrubs, and vines. Azaleas and camellias, not native to the state, have been planted profusely in private and pubic gardens. Nineteen plant species were listed as threatened or endangered in April 2006, including smooth coneflower, Schweinitz's sunflower, black spored quillwort, pondberry, and persistent trillium.
South Carolina mammals include white-tailed deer (the state animal), black bear, opossum, gray and red foxes, cottontail and marsh rabbits, mink, and woodchuck. Three varieties of raccoon are indigenous, one of them unique to Hilton Head Island. The state is also home to Bachman's shrew, originally identified in South Carolina by John Bachman, one of John J. Audubon's collaborators. Common birds include the mockingbird and Carolina wren (the state bird). Nineteen animal species (vertebrates and invertebrates) were listed as threatened or endangered in South Carolina in April 2006, including the Indiana bat, Carolina heel-splitter, bald eagle, five species of sea turtle, wood stork, and short-nose sturgeon.
The Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC), established in 1973, is South Carolina's primary environmental protection agency. The agency's responsibilities were broadened in 1993 by government restructuring, which brought all natural resources permitting under the DHEC umbrella. The former Land Resources Commission and Water Resources Commission were dissolved by restructuring. The DHEC's areas of responsibility include all programs dealing with surface and groundwater protection; air quality; solid, hazardous, infectious and nuclear waste; mining; dam safety; public drinking water protection; shellfish; public swimming pool inspection; and environmental laboratory certification, among other things. In 2002, more than 99% of the state's 1,520 federally defined public water systems had complied with drinking water regulatory requirements.
The state has implemented an innovative river basin planning program for the modeling, permitting and protection of its surface water resources. South Carolina's five major river basins are to be studied, modeled, and subsequent permits renewed on a five-year rotating basis. The state's goal is to use the environmental permitting process to assess and control the overall health of the basin systems. About 25% of the state is covered with wetlands, most of which are forested and of freshwater.
In 2002 DHEC implemented programs to help citizens minimize risk of contracting West Nile virus, transmitted by mosquitoes.
South Carolina, as the rest of the nation, is preparing to implement an aggressive air quality permitting program. The state has in place an industrial fee system to support the air program which will include both stationary and mobile source activities.
In 1992, South Carolina passed the Solid Waste Management and Policy Act requiring county and regional solid waste planning to be in conformance with the State Solid Waste Management Plan. The state has in place innovative programs for source reduction, waste minimization, and recycling. Regulations have been approved for municipal and industrial waste land disposal systems, incineration, construction, and land clearing debris and other solid waste activities.
South Carolina has implemented aggressive regulatory reform. Coupled with "streamlined permitting," customer-friendly programs promote economic development without sacrificing environmental protection.
In 2003, 83.7 million lb of toxic chemicals were released in the state. In 2003, South Carolina had 194 hazardous waste sites listed in the US Environment Protection Agency (EPA) database, 26 of which were on the National Priorities List as of 2006, including the Parris Island Marine Corps Recruit Depot. In 2005, the EPA spent over $4.8 million through the Superfund program for the cleanup of hazardous waste sites in the state. The same year, federal EPA grants awarded to the state included $11 million for the clean water state revolving fund and $8 million for the drinking water revolving fund.
South Carolina ranked 25th in population in the United States with an estimated total of 4,255,083 in 2005, an increase of 6.1% since 2000. Between 1990 and 2000, South Carolina's population grew from 3,486,703 to 4,012,012, an increase of 15.1%. The population is projected to reach 4.6 million by 2015 and 4.98 million by 2025. In 2004, the median age for South Carolinians was 36.9. In the same year, 24.4% of the populace was under age 18 while 12.4% was age 65 or older. The population density in 2004 was 139.4 persons per sq mi.
In 2004, Columbia was the largest city proper, with 116,331 residents. Other cities with large population concentrations include Charleston (104,883), Greenville, and Spartanburg. In 2004, the Columbia metropolitan area had an estimated 679,456 residents and the Charleston metropolitan area had 583,434.
The white population of South Carolina is mainly of Northern European stock; the great migratory wave from Southern and Eastern Europe during the late 19th century left South Carolina virtually untouched. As of 2000, 115,978, or 2.9%, of South Carolinians were foreign born (up from 1.4% in 1990).
In 2000, the black population was 1,185,216, or 29.5% of the state's population (the third-highest percentage in the nation). In 2004, that percentage had dropped only slightly, to 29.4%. In the coastal regions and offshore islands there still can be found some vestiges of African heritage, notably the Gullah dialect. South Carolina has always had an urban black elite, much of it of mixed racial heritage. After 1954, racial integration proceeded relatively peacefully, with careful planning by both black and white leaders.
The 2000 census counted 13,718 American Indians, up from 8,000 in 1990. In 2004, 0.4% of the population was American Indian. In 1983, a federal appeals court upheld the Indians' claim that 144,000 acres (58,275 hectares) of disputed land still belonged to the Catawba tribe, who numbered an estimated 1,597 in 1995. In 2000, there were 95,076 Hispanics and Latinos (2.4% of the total population), nearly double the 1990 figure of 50,000 (1.3%). In 2004, 3.1% of the population was of Hispanic or Latino origin. In 2000, the census reported 52,871 Mexicans and 12.211 Puerto Ricans (up from 4,282 in 1990) in South Carolina. In the same year, South Carolina had 36,014 Asians, including 6,423 Filipinos, 2,448 Japanese, and 3,665 Koreans. Pacific Islanders numbered 1,628. In 2004, 1.1% of the population was Asian and 0.1% Pacific Islander. That year, 0.8% of the population reported origin of two or more races.
English settlers in the 17th century encountered first the Yamasee Indians and then the Catawba, both having languages of the Hokan-Siouan family. Few Indians remain today, and a bare handful of their place-names persist: Cherokee Falls, Santee, Saluda.
South Carolina English is marked by a division between the South Midland of the upcountry and the plantation Southern of the coastal plain, where dominant Charleston speech has extensive cultural influence even in rural areas. Many upcountry speakers of Scotch-Irish background retain /r/ after a vowel, as in hard, a feature now gaining acceptance among younger speakers in Charleston. At the same time, a longtime distinctive Charleston feature, a centering glide after a long vowel, so that date and eight sound like /day-uht/ and /ay-uht/, is losing ground among younger speakers. Along the coast and on the Sea Islands, some blacks still use the Gullah dialect, based on a Creole mixture of pre-Revolutionary English and African speech. The dialect is rapidly dying in South Carolina, though its influence on local pronunciations persists.
In 2000, 94.8% of all state residents five years of age and older reported speaking English at home, up from 96.5% in 1990.
The following table gives selected statistics from the 2000 Census for language spoken at home by persons five years old and over.
|Population 5 years and over||3,748,669||100.0|
|Speak only English||3,552,240||94.8|
|Speak a language other than English||196,429||5.2|
|Speak a language other than English||196,429||5.2|
|Spanish or Spanish Creole||110,030||2.9|
|French (incl. Patois, Cajun)||19,110||0.5|
Evangelical Protestants account for a majority of the religiously active residents in the state. The largest single Christian de-nomination in 2000 was the Southern Baptist Convention with 928,341 adherents; there were 16,802 newly baptized members in 2002. The next largest of the Evangelical denominations were the Church of God (Cleveland, Tennessee) with 56,612 adherents and the Pentecostal Holiness Church with 33,820 adherents. The largest Mainline Protestant denomination is the United Methodist Church, which had 241,680 members in 2004. Other de-nominations (with 2000 figures) include the Presbyterian Church USA, 103,883; and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, 61,380. The Episcopal Church had great influence during colonial times, but in 2000 it had only 52,486 members. In 2004, there were 152,413 Roman Catholics in the state. In 2000, there were an estimated 11,000 Jews, 17,586 adherents to the Baha'i faith, and 5,761 Muslims. About 2.1 million people (52.4% of the population) were not counted as members of any religious organization.
Since the Revolutionary War, South Carolina has been concerned with expanding the transport of goods between the upcountry and the port of Charleston and the Midwestern United States. Several canals were constructed north of the fall line, and the 136-mi (219-km) railroad completed from Charleston to Hamburg (across the Savannah River from Augusta, Georgia) in 1833 was the longest in the world at that time. Three years earlier, the Best Friend of Charleston had become the first American steam loco-motive built for public railway passenger service; by the time the Charleston-Hamburg railway was completed, however, the Best Friend had blown up, and a new engine, the Phoenix, had replaced it. Many other efforts were made to connect Charleston to the interior by railway, but tunnels through the mountains were never completed. As of 2003, there were 2,423 rail mi (3,901 km) of track, utilized by two Class I, seven local, and four switching and terminal railroads. Lumber and wood products were the top commodities originating within the state that were carried by the railroads. Coal was the top commodity terminating in the state that was carried by the railroads. As of 2006, Amtrak provided north-south passenger train service to 11 cities in the state via its Crescent, Silver Services and Palmetto trains.
The public road network in 2004 was made up of 66,250 mi (106,662 km) of roads. Highway I-26, running northwest-southeast from the upcountry to the Atlantic, intersects I-85 at Spartanburg, I-20 at Columbia, and I-95 on its way toward Charleston. In 2004, there were some 1.912 million automobiles, approximately 1.290 million trucks of all types, and around 5,000 buses registered in the state, while the number of licensed drivers totaled 2,972,369 for that same year. City bus service is most heavily used in the Charleston and Columbia systems.
The state has three deepwater seaports. Charleston is one of the major ports on the Atlantic, handling 24.739 million tons of cargo in 2004, and the harbors of Georgetown and Port Royal also handle significant waterborne trade. The Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, crossing the state slightly inward form the Atlantic Ocean, is a major thoroughfare. In 2003, waterborne shipments totaled 27.811 million tons. In 2004, South Carolina had 482 mi (776 km) of navigable inland waterways.
In 2005, South Carolina had a total of 193 public and privateuse aviation-related facilities. This included 162 airports, 29 heliports, and two seaplane bases. Charleston International is the state's main airport. In 2004, Charleston had 909,084 passenger enplanements. Other major state airports were Greenville-Spartanburg International, Myrtle Beach International, and Columbia Metropolitan.
Prior to European settlement, the region now called South Carolina was populated by several Indian groups. Indians of Iroquoian stock, including the Cherokee, inhabited the northwestern section, while those of the Siouan stock—of whom the Catawba were the most numerous—occupied the northern and eastern regions. Indians of Muskogean stock lived in the south.
In the early 1500s, long before the English claimed the Carolinas, Spanish sea captains explored the coast. The Spaniards made an unsuccessful attempt to establish a settlement in 1526 at Winyah Bay, near the present city of Georgetown. Thirty-six years later, a group of French Huguenots under Jean Ribault landed at a site near Parris Island, but the colony failed after Ribault returned to France. The English established the first permanent settlement in 1670 under the supervision of the eight lords proprietors who had been granted "Carolana" by King Charles II. At first the colonists settled at Albemarle Point on the Ashley River: 10 years later, they moved across the river to the present site of Charleston.
Rice cultivation began in the coastal swamps, and black slaves were imported as field hands. The colony flourished, and by the mid-1700s, new areas were developing inland. Germans, Scots-Irish, and Welsh, who differed markedly from the original aristocratic settlers of the Charleston area, migrated to the southern part of the new province. Although the upcountry was developing and was taxed, it was not until 1770 that the settlers there were represented in the government. For the most part, the colonists had friendly relations with the Indians. In 1715, however, the Yamasee were incited by Spanish colonists at St. Augustine, Fla., to attack the South Carolina settlements. The settlers successfully resisted, with no help from the proprietors.
The original royal grant had made South Carolina a very large colony, but eventually the separate provinces of North Carolina and Georgia were established, two moves that destined South Carolina to be a small state. The colonists were successful in having the proprietors overthrown in 1719 and the government transferred to royal rule by 1721.
Skirmishes with the French, Spanish, Indians, and pirates, as well as a slave uprising in 1739, marked the pre-Revolutionary period. South Carolina opposed the Stamp Act of 1765 and took an active part in the American Revolution. The first British property seized by American Revolutionary forces was Ft. Charlotte in McCormick County in 1775. Among the many battles fought in South Carolina were major Patriot victories at Ft. Moultrie in Charleston (1776), Kings Mountain (1780), and Cowpens (1781), the last two among the war's most important engagements. Delegates from South Carolina, notably Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, were leaders at the federal constitutional convention of 1787. On 23 May 1788, South Carolina became the eighth state to ratify the Constitution.
Between the Revolutionary War and the Civil War, two issues dominated South Carolinians' political thinking: tariffs and slavery. Senator John C. Calhoun took an active part in developing the nullification theory by which a state claimed the right to abrogate unpopular federal laws. Open conflict over tariffs during the early 1830s was narrowly averted by a compromise on the rates, but in 1860, on the issue of slavery, no compromise was possible. At the time of secession, on 20 December 1860, more than half the state's population consisted of black slaves. The first battle of the Civil War took place at Ft. Sumter in Charleston Harbor on 12 April 1861. Federal forces soon captured the Sea Islands, but Charleston withstood a long siege until February 1865. In the closing months of the war, Union troops under General William Tecumseh Sherman burned Columbia and caused widespread destruction elsewhere. South Carolina contributed about 63,000 soldiers to the Confederacy out of a white population of some 291,000. Casualties were high: nearly 14,00 men were killed in battle or died after capture.
Federal troops occupied South Carolina after the war. During Reconstruction, as white South Carolinians saw it, illiterates, carpetbaggers, and scalawags raided the treasury, plunging the state into debt. The constitution was revised in 1868 by a convention in which blacks outnumbered whites by 76 to 48; given the franchise, blacks attained the offices of lieutenant governor and US representative. In 1876, bands of white militants called Red Shirts, supporting the gubernatorial candidacy of former Confederate General Wade Hampton, rode through the countryside urging whites to vote and intimidating potential black voters. Hampton, a Democrat, won the election, but was not permitted by the Republican incumbent to take office until President Rutherford B. Hayes declared an end to Reconstruction and withdrew federal troops from the state in April 1877.
For the next 100 years, South Carolina suffered through political turmoil, crop failures, and recessions. A major political change came in the 1880s with a large population increase upcountry and the migration of poor whites to cities. These trends gave farmers and industrial workers a majority of votes, and they found their leader in Benjamin Ryan "Pitchfork Ben" Tillman, a populist who stirred up class and racial hatreds by attacking the "Charleston ring." Tillman was influential in wresting control of the state Democratic Party from the coastal aristocrats; he served as governor from 1890 to 1894 and then as US senator until his death in 1918. However, his success inaugurated a period of political and racial demagoguery that saw the gradual (though not total) disfranchisement of black voters.
The main economic transformation after 1890 was the replacement of rice and cotton growing by tobacco and soybean cultivation and truck farming, along with the movement of tenant farmers, or sharecroppers, from the land to the cities. There they found jobs in textile mills, and textiles became the state's leading industry after 1900. With the devastation of the cotton crop by the boll weevil in the 1920s, farmers were compelled to diversify their crops, and some turned to raising cattle. Labor shortages in the North during and after World War II drew many thousands of African Americans from South Carolina to Philadelphia, Washington, DC, New York, and other cities.
In the postwar period, industry took over the dominant role formerly held by agriculture in South Carolina's economy, and the focus of textile production shifted from cotton to synthetic fabrics. In the 1990s the major industries were textiles and chemicals, and foreign investment played a major role in the state's economy. BMW, the German automobile company, established their North American plant in Greenville. Tourism also played a role, with the coastal areas drawing visitors from around the nation. In the early 2000s, South Carolina, along with other tobacco-producing states, was in the midst of a transition away from tobacco production.
Public school desegregation after the Brown vs. Board of Education ruling of 1954 proceeded peaceably, but very slowly, and blacks were gradually accepted alongside whites in the textile mills and other industries. In 1983, for the first time in 95 years, a black state senator was elected; the following year, four blacks were elected to the reapportioned Senate. Despite these changes, most white South Carolinians remained staunchly conservative in political and social matters, as witnessed by the 1999–2000 firestorm over the display of the Confederate flag on the dome of the State House. The controversy prompted the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) to call for a tourism boycott of the state. A January 2000 protest drew nearly 50,000 demonstrators, black and white, against the flag. Legislators brokered a compromise that moved the flag, viewed as a symbol of oppression by African Americans, to a spot in front of the capitol, where it flies from a 30-ft pole. The "solution," though favored by most South Carolinians who were polled, did not satisfy most of the black community. Tourism officials called for the NAACP to lift its boycott, but the organization refused to do so, maintaining the flag's only place is in a museum of history. The issue was raised by presidential candidate Al Sharpton in the 2004 presidential campaign.
In the postwar period, the Democrats' traditional control of the state weakened, and, beginning with Barry Goldwater, Republican presidential candidates have carried the state in every election except that of 1976, in which Southerner Jimmy Carter prevailed. Well-known conservative Republican J. Strom Thurmond represented South Carolina in the US Senate from 1954 to 2003, when he died at age 100. But his Democratic counterpart, Ernest Hollings (also a former governor) served in the Senate from 1966 to 2005.
In 1989, Hurricane Hugo struck South Carolina, packing 135-mph (217-kph) winds. Ripping roofs off buildings and sweeping boats onto city streets, the storm killed 37 people and produced over $700 million worth of property damage. Seven South Carolina counties were declared disaster areas. In 1993, flooding, followed by a record-breaking drought, caused an estimated $226 million in crop damage.
In response to a Supreme Court ruling, The Citadel (in Charleston), one of only two state-supported military schools in the country, admitted its first female cadet, Shannon Faulkner, in 1995. Faulkner left the institution after only six days. In 1997 two of four women attending the institution quit, alleging hazing and sexual harassment by their male peers. In May 1999 the institution graduated its first female cadet. By the following August, there were 75 female cadets enrolled at the Citadel, as the school fought a sexual harassment lawsuit of a former cadet.
In 1999 a settlement was reached in the worst oil spill in the state's history. A record $7-million fine was to be paid by a national pipeline company that admitted its negligence caused nearly one million gallons of diesel fuel to pollute the Upstate River.
South Carolina finished fiscal year 2003 with a $68.8 million budget deficit, down from the $248.8 million deficit at the end of fiscal year 2002. In 2003, Republican Governor Mark Sanford, elected in 2002, urged state legislators to reform the way the government conducts its business, from allowing state officials to hire and fire employees more easily, to funding schools with block grants rather than line items. The 2005–06 budget was $5.3 billion, and the state was struggling with a deficit of some $300-$500 million. South Carolina was among the 10 states in the nation with the lowest per capita personal incomes and the highest poverty rates.
South Carolina has had seven constitutions, dating from 1776, 1778, 1790, 1861, 1865, 1868, and 1895, respectively. Beginning in 1970, most articles of the 1895 constitution were rewritten. The present document had been amended 485 times as of January 2005.
The General Assembly consists of a Senate of 46 members, elected for four-year terms, and a House of Representatives of 124 members, elected for two-year terms. Senators must be 25 years old, representatives 21; all legislators must be residents of the districts they represent. The legislative salary was $10,400 in 2004, unchanged from 1999.
Officials elected statewide are the governor and lieutenant governor (elected separately), attorney general, secretary of state, comptroller general, treasurer, adjutant general, secretary of agriculture, secretary of banking, and superintendent of education, all elected to four-year terms in odd-numbered years following presidential elections. The governor is limited to serving two consecutive terms. Eligibility requirements for the governor include a minimum age of 30, US and state citizenship for at least five years, and a five-year state residency. As of December 2004, the governor's salary was $106,078, unchanged from 1999.
Legislative sessions are held biennially, beginning in January; there is no limit to regular sessions. Special sessions can be called by a vote of two-thirds of the members of each house; there is no limit to special sessions. Bills may be introduced in either house, except for revenue measures, which are reserved to the House of Representatives. The governor has a regular veto, which may be overridden by a two-thirds vote of the elected members in each house of the legislature. Bills automatically become law after five days if the governor takes no action. The constitution may be amended by a two-thirds vote of each house of the General Assembly and by a majority of those casting ballots at the next general election. To take effect, however, the amendment must then be ratified by a majority vote of the next General Assembly.
US citizens 18 years old and older who are residents of the state are eligible to vote. Restrictions apply to convicted felons and those declared mentally incompetent by the court.
South Carolina's major political organizations are the Democratic and Republican parties. From the end of Reconstruction, the Democratic Party dominated state politics. Dissatisfaction with the national party's position on civil rights in 1948 led to the formation of the States' Rights Democrat faction, whose candidate, South Carolina Governor J. Strom Thurmond, carried the state in 1948. Thurmond's subsequent switch to the Republicans while in the US Senate was a big boost for the state's Republican Party, which since 1964 has captured South Carolina's eight electoral votes in ten of the eleven presidential elections. In 2000, Republican George W. Bush received 57% of the vote to Democrat Al Gore's 41%. In 2004, Bush won 58% to 41% for Democrat John Kerry.
South Carolina's US senators are Republican James DeMint, who won the seat vacated by Democrat Ernest F. Hollings, who announced in August 2003 that he would retire at the end of his term, and Republican Lindsey Graham, elected in 2002. Republican Strom Thurmond, who was reelected in 1996 at the age of 93—was the oldest senator in the country's history. Thurmond died in June 2003 at the age of 100. As of 2005, there were two Democrats and four Republicans serving as US representatives. As on 2005, the state Senate had 19 Democrats and 27 Republicans; while in the state House there were 74 Republicans and 50 Democrats. In 2002 voters elected a Republican, Mark Sanford, to the governor's office.
Voters do not register according to political party in South Carolina. Instead, at primary elections, they simply take an oath that they have not participated in another primary. In 2004 there were 2,315,000 registered voters and the state held eight electoral votes for the 2004 presidential election.
As of 2005, South Carolina had 46 counties, 269 municipal governments, 90 public school districts, and 301 special districts of various types. Ten regional councils provide a broad range of technical and advisory services to county and municipal governments.
Under legislation enacted in 1975, all counties and municipalities have the same powers, regardless of size. Most municipalities operate under the mayor-council or city manager system; more than half the counties have a county administrator or manager. Customarily, each county has a council or commission, attorney, auditor, clerk of court, coroner, tax collector, treasurer, and sheriff. Many of these county officials are elected, but the only municipal officers elected are the mayor and the members of the council.
|South Carolina Presidential Vote by Political Parties, 1948–2004|
|YEAR||ELECTORAL VOTE||SOUTH CAROLINA WINNER||DEMOCRAT||REPUBLICAN||STATES RIGHTS DEMOCRAT||LIBERTARIAN|
|*Won US presidential election.|
|**CONSTITUTION Party candidate Michael Peroutka received 5,317 votes.|
|2000||8||*Bush, G, W. (R)||565,561||785,937||20,200||4,876|
|2004**||8||*Bush, G. W.(R)||661,699||937,974||5,520||3,608|
While the state shares revenues from many different sources with the counties and, municipalities, these local units derive virtually all their direct revenue from the property tax. The state's school districts have rapidly increased their own property tax levies, squeezing the counties' and municipalities' revenue base.
In 2005, local government accounted for about 167,783 fulltime (or equivalent) employment positions.
To address the continuing threat of terrorism and to work with the federal Department of Homeland Security, homeland security in South Carolina operates under state statute; a state police superintendent is appointed to oversee the state's homeland security activities.
The State Ethics Commission establishes rules covering possible conflicts of interest, oversees election campaign practices, and provides for officeholders' financial disclosure.
The Department of Education administers state and federal aid to the public schools, while the State Commission on Higher Education oversees the public colleges and universities, and the State Board for Technical and Comprehensive Education is responsible for postsecondary technical training schools. The state also runs special schools for the deaf and blind. Complementing both public and higher education is a state educational television network, under the jurisdiction of the South Carolina Educational Television Commission. Transportation services are provided by the Department of Transportation, which maintains most major roads, issues drivers' licenses, and has jurisdiction over the High-way Patrol. The Department of Public Safety regulates traffic, motor vehicles, and commercial vehicles. The Department of Commerce Division of Aeronautics oversees airport development.
Through a variety of agencies, South Carolina offers a broad array of human services in the fields of mental health, developmental disabilities, vocational rehabilitation, veterans' affairs, care of the blind, and adoptions. An ombudsman for the aging handles complaints about nursing homes, which are licensed by the state. The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division provides technical aid to county sheriffs and municipal police departments. Emergency situations are handled by the Emergency Management Division and the National Guard.
The State Housing Finance and Development Authority is authorized to subsidize interest rates on mortgages for middle- and low-income families. The Employment Security Commission oversees unemployment compensation and job placement, while the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation offers arbitration and mediation services and enforces health and safety standards. The Human Affairs Commission looks into unfair labor practices based on sex, race, or age.
South Carolina's unified judicial system is headed by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, who, along with four associate justices, is elected by the General Assembly to a 10-year term. The state's Supreme Court is the final court of appeal. A five-member intermediate court of appeals for criminal cases was established in 1979, but legal questions (specifically, about the election of General Assembly members to four of the five seats) prevented the court from convening until 1981. The court became a permanent constitutional court in 1984.
Sixteen circuit courts hear major criminal and civil cases. As of 1999 there were 154 circuit court judges, all of them elected by the General Assembly to six-year terms. The state also has a system of family courts for domestic and juvenile cases. In addition, there are magistrates' courts (justices of the peace) in all counties, municipal courts, and county probate judges.
The state penal system is rapidly becoming centralized under the state Department of Corrections. There is also a separate state system for juvenile offenders.
As of 31 December 2004, a total of 23,428 prisoners were held in South Carolina's state and federal prisons, a decrease from 23,719 of 1.2% from the previous year. As of year-end 2004, a total of 1,562 inmates were female, down from 1,576 or 0.9% from the year before. Among sentenced prisoners (one year or more), South Carolina had an incarceration rate of 539 per 100,000 population in 2004.
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, South Carolina in 2004, had a violent crime rate (murder/nonnegligent manslaughter; forcible rape; robbery; aggravated assault) of 784.2 reported incidents per 100,000 population (the highest of any state) or a total of 32,922 reported incidents. Crimes against property (burglary; larceny/theft; and motor vehicle theft) in that same year totaled 189,113 reported incidents or 4,504.8 reported incidents per 100,000 people. South Carolina has a death penalty, of which prisoners are allowed to choose between lethal injection or electrocution. From 1976 through 5 May 2006, the state has carried out 35 executions, of which three in 2005 were the most recent (as of 5 May 2006). As of 1 January 2006, South Carolina had 74 inmates on death row.
In 2003, South Carolina spent $101,287,819 on homeland security, an average of $25 per state resident.
In 2004, there were 38,213 active duty military personnel and 9,382 civilian personnel stationed in South Carolina. Ft. Jackson, in Columbia, is the largest and most active Initial Entry Training Center in the US Army, training 34% of all Soldiers and 69% of the women entering the Army each year. Air Force bases at Charleston and Sumter are major installations. Parris Island has long been one of the country's chief Marine Corps training bases. South Carolina firms received more than $1.59 billion in defense contract awards during 2004. In addition, there was another $3.3 billion in payroll outlays, including retired military pay, by the Department of Defense.
Veterans in South Carolina in 2003 totaled 413,551, including 45,135 from World War II; 39,518 from the Korean conflict; 122,974 who served during the Vietnam era; and 76,461 who served during in the Gulf War. In 2004, the Veterans Administration expended more than $1.2 billion in pensions, medical assistance, and other major veterans' benefits.
As of 31 October 2004, the South Carolina Highway Patrol employed 829 full-time sworn officers.
The original European migration into South Carolina consisted mostly of German, Welsh, and Scotch-Irish settlers. During the 19th century, many of the original settlers emigrated westward to Alabama, Mississippi, and Texas. In the 20th century, many blacks left the state for cities in the North. Between 1940 and 1970, South Carolina's net loss from migration was 601,000. During 1970–80, however, the state enjoyed a net gain of 210,000; in the 1980s, the net gain from migration was nearly 200,000. Between 1990 and 1998, the state had net gains of 119,000 in domestic migration and 16,000 in international migration. In 1998, 2,125 foreign immigrants arrived in South Carolina. The state's overall population increased 10% between 1990 and 1998. In the period 2000–05, international migration was 36,401 and net internal migration was 115,084, for a net gain of 151,485 people.
The South Carolina Interstate Cooperation Commission represents the state before the Council of State Governments. South Carolina also participates in the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, Southeastern Forest Fire Protection Compact, Southern Growth Policies Board, Southern States Energy Board, Appalachian Regional Commission, Interstate Mining Compact Commission, and Southern Regional Education Board. In fiscal year 2005, the state received $4.918 billion in federal grants, an estimated $4.843 billion in fiscal year 2006, and an estimated $4.972 billion in fiscal year 2007.
During its early days, South Carolina was one of the country's richest areas. Its economy depended on foreign commerce and agriculture, especially indigo, rice, and later cotton. After the Civil War, the state suffered severe economic depression. Not until the 1880s did the textile industry—today the state's major employer—begin to develop.
Textiles and farming completely dominated the economy until after World War II, when efforts toward economic diversification attracted paper, chemical, and other industries to the state. During the postwar period, the state spent sizable amounts to improve its three ports, especially the harbor facilities of Charleston.
By 1999, manufacturing had become the most important sector in the South Carolina economy. Almost 25% of the labor force worked in manufacturing, well above the national average of 17%. The top ten manufacturers in the state employed over 40,000 workers. The Westinghouse Savannah River Site military base accounts for a significant portion of the state's manufacturing base. Employment at those facilities grew significantly during the 1980s when the Reagan administration increased military expenditures. In the 1990s, however, the federal government began cutting staff at the bases and considered phasing them out. Rising foreign and domestic investment, coupled with an abundance of first-class tourist facilities along the coast, contributed to the continuing growth of South Carolina's economy in the 1980s and were only temporarily hurt by the national recession of the early nineties. The state economy's annual growth rate, averaging 5.5% 1998 to 2000, dropped to 2.6% in the national recession of 2001. Manufacturing output, nearly flat from 1997 to 2001, dropped as a share of total state output from 24.5% to 20%. The strongest output growth was in the transportation and public utilities sector (up 41.9% 1997 to 2001). General services, including health, business, tourist, personal and educational services were up 30.3%, while financial services, including insurance and real estate were up 28%, and government services were up 25.7%.
In 2004, South Carolina's gross state product (GSP) was $136.125 billion, of which manufacturing (durable and nondurable goods) contributed $26.265 billion or 19.3% of GSP, followed by the real estate sector at $15.185 billion (11.1% of GSP), and construction at $7.670 billion (5.6% of GSP). In that same year, there were an estimated 312,108 small businesses in South Carolina. Of the 92,940 businesses that had employees, an estimated total of 90,416 or 97.3% were small companies. An estimated 11,745 new businesses were established in the state in 2004, up 9.2% from the year before. Business terminations that same year came to 10,975, up 2.5% from 2003. There were 175 business bankruptcies in 2004, up 23.2% from the previous year. In 2005, the state's personal bankruptcy (Chapter 7 and Chapter 13) filing rate was 391 filings per 100,000 people, ranking South Carolina as the 39th highest in the nation.
In 2005 South Carolina had a gross state product (GSP) of $140 billion which accounted for 1.1% of the nation's gross domestic product and placed the state at number 28 in highest GSP among the 50 states and the District of Columbia.
According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, in 2004 South Carolina had a per capita personal income (PCPI) of $27,185. This ranked 45th in the United States and was 82% of the national average of $33,050. The 1994–2004 average annual growth rate of PCPI was 4.0%. South Carolina had a total personal income (TPI) of $114,121,015,000, which ranked 26th in the United States and reflected an increase of 6.0% from 2003. The 1994–2004 average annual growth rate of TPI was 5.3%. Earnings of persons employed in South Carolina increased from $79,528,714,000 in 2003 to $84,052,494,000 in 2004, an increase of 5.7%. The 2003–04 national change was 6.3%.
The US Census Bureau reports that the three-year average median household income for 2002–04 in 2004 dollars was $39,326 compared to a national average of $44,473. During the same period an estimated 14.0% of the population was below the poverty line as compared to 12.4% nationwide.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in April 2006 the seasonally adjusted civilian labor force in South Carolina 2,123,800, with approximately 139,900 workers unemployed, yielding an unemployment rate of 6.6%, compared to the national average of 4.7% for the same period. Preliminary data for the same period placed nonfarm employment at 1,907,100. Since the beginning of the BLS data series in 1976, the highest unemployment rate recorded in South Carolina was 11.4% in January 1983. The historical low was 3.1% in March 1998. Preliminary nonfarm employment data by occupation for April 2006 showed that approximately 6.4% of the labor force was employed in construction; 13.7% in manufacturing; 19.3% in trade, transportation, and public utilities; 5.3% in financial activities; 10% in education and health services; 10.7% in leisure and hospitality services; and 17.5% in government. Data was unavailable for professional and business services.
South Carolina has one of the lowest work stoppage rates in the nation and only a small percentage of the total labor force is organized. Textile, clothing, and ladies' garment workers' unions make up the bulk of the membership, followed by transportation and electrical workers. Several large textile companies have made major efforts to prevent their workers from organizing unions. Conflicts between management and workers have continued for years, but without serious violence.
The BLS reported that in 2005, a total of 40,000 of South Carolina's 1,739,000 employed wage and salary workers were formal members of a union. This represented 2.3% of those so employed, down from 3% in 2004, well below the national average of 12% and the lowest rate of all states. Overall in 2005, a total of 58,000 workers (3.3%) in South Carolina were covered by a union or employee association contract, which includes those workers who reported no union affiliation. South Carolina is one of 22 states with a right-to-work law.
As of 1 March 2006, South Carolina did not have a state-mandated minimum wage law. Employees in that state however, were covered under federal minimum wage statutes. In 2004, women in the state accounted for 48.1% of the employed civilian labor force.
Agriculture is an integral part of the state's economy. The total cash receipts for agriculture were about $1.75 billion in 2004, but that figure represents only a fraction of the impact of agriculture and agribusiness in the state. Agriculture (food and fiber) along with forestry and forestry products contribute about 25% to the gross state product (GSP). Some 18% of all jobs in South Carolina are from agriculture and agribusiness. As of 2004 there were about 24,400 farms in the state, occupying 4.8 million acres (1.9 million hectares) with an average size of 199 acres (80 hectares). Agriculture in South Carolina supplies not only food for consumption, but also cotton for clothing and soybean oil for newsprint ink.
The main farming area is a 50-mi (80-km) band across the upper coastal plain. The Pee Dee region in the east is the center for tobacco production. Cotton is grown mostly south of the fall line, and feed crops thrive in the coastal and sand hill counties. Tobacco is the leading crop by value; in 2004, farmers in the state produced 60.75 million lb (27.61 million kg) of tobacco on 27,000 acres (10,900 hectares). Soybean and cotton production in that year were 14.8 million bushels and 390,000 bales, respectively. Peach production in 2004 was 70 million lb (31.8 million kg). Greenhouse and nursery products contributed 15.6% to total farm receipts in 2004.
South Carolina farmers and agribusinesses also produce apples, barley, beans, berries, canola, corn, cucumbers, hay, kiwifruit, mushrooms, oats, peanuts, pecans, popcorn, rye, sorghum, sweet potatoes, tea, turf grasses, tomatoes, ornamental trees, and wheat. As more people relocate and retire to the state, demand for agricultural products is increasing in order to supply restaurant, hotel, and landscaping businesses. The South Carolina Department of Agriculture operates three state farmers' markets in Columbia, Florence, and Greenville.
In 2005, there were an estimated 435,000 cattle and calves, worth $339.3 million. During 2004, there were around 300,000 hogs and pigs, valued at $27 million. Dairy farmers produced around 318 million lb (144.5 million kg) of milk from 19,000 milk cows in 2003. Poultry farmers produced 1.4 billion eggs, worth some $87.9 million in the same year, and 14.8 million lb (6.7 million kg) of chicken, 1.14 billion lb (518 million kg) of broilers, and 494 million lb (224.5 million kg) of turkey.
The state's oceanfront saltwater inlets and freshwater rivers and lakes provide ample fishing opportunities. Major commercial fishing is restricted to saltwater species of fish and shellfish, mainly shrimp, crabs, clams, and oysters. In 2004, the commercial catch totaled 12.4 million lb (5.6 million kg), valued at $18.5 million. In 2003, there were two processing plants in the state. In 2002, the commercial fleet had 556 vessels.
In 2004, the state issued 498,088 sport fishing licenses. There are two national fish hatcheries in the state (Orangeberg and Bears Bluff), stocking more than 5 million fish annually. In 2004, there were nine catfish farms covering 90 acres (36 hectares).
South Carolina had 12,415,000 acres (5,024,000 hectares) of forestland in 2004—about two-thirds of the state's area and 1.7% of all US forests. The state's two national forests, Francis Marion and Sumter, comprised 5% of the forested area. Nearly all of South Carolina's forests are classified as commercial timberland, about 90% of it privately owned. Several varieties of pine, loblolly, long-leaf, and shortleaf, are the major source of timber and of pulp for the paper industry. Total lumber production in 2004 was 1.57 billion board ft, 90% soft wood.
According to preliminary data from the US Geological Survey (USGS), the estimated value of nonfuel mineral production by South Carolina in 2003 was $474 million, an increase from 2002 of 3%. The USGS data ranked South Carolina as 27th among the 50 states by the total value of its nonfuel mineral production, accounting for over 1% of total US output.
According to the preliminary data for 2003, portland cement was the state's leading nonfuel mineral commodity by value, and was followed by crushed stone, construction sand and gravel, kaolin, industrial sand and gravel, and vermiculite. Collectively, the initial three commodities accounted for 91% of all nonfuel mineral output, by value. By volume, South Carolina in 2003 ranked first in the production of vermiculite (out of two states), and was the nation's second leading producer of fire clay. It was third in masonry cement and kaolin, and ninth in common clays.
Preliminary data showed that production of portland cement in 2003 totaled 2.5 million metric tons, and was worth an estimated $183 million. It was followed by crushed stone, of which 26.3 million metric tons were produced, with a value of $171 million. Masonry cement output in 2003 totaled 425,000 metric tons and was worth an estimated $40.4 million, Construction sand and gravel production for that same year totaled 10.3 million metric tons and was valued at $36.1 million.
As of 2003, South Carolina had 47 electrical power service providers, of which 22 were publicly owned and 21 were cooperatives. Of the remainder, four were investor owned. As of that same year there were 2,177,474 retail customers. Of that total, 1,235,618 received their power from investor-owned service providers. Cooperatives accounted for 645,551 customers, while publicly owned providers had 296,305 customers.
Total net summer generating capability by the state's electrical generating plants in 2003 stood at 20.658 million kW, with total production that same year at 93.772 billion kWh. Of the total amount generated, 97.6% came from electric utilities, with the remainder coming from independent producers and combined heat and power service providers. The largest portion of all electric power generated, 50.417 billion kWh (53.8%), came from nuclear power generation, with coal-fired plants in second place at 37.432 billion kWh (39.9%). Other renewable power sources, petroleum and natural gas fueled plants, hydroelectric and pumped storage facilities accounted for the remaining power generated.
Although it lacks fossil fuel resources, South Carolina produces more electricity than it consumes. South Carolina is heavily engaged in nuclear energy and is one of the nation's largest generators of nuclear power. As of 2006, the state had seven nuclear reactors in operation, two at the Catawba plant (the state's largest), three at the Oconee facility near Greenville, one at the H. B. Robinson plant near Hartsville, and one at the Virgil C. Summer plant near Jenkinsville. The vast Savannah River plant in Aiken County produces most of the plutonium for the nation's nuclear weapons; Chem-Nuclear Systems in Barnwell County stores about half of the country's low-level nuclear wastes; and a Westinghouse plant in Richland County makes fuel assemblies for nuclear reactors.
South Carolina has no proven reserves or production of crude oil or natural gas. There are no refineries in the state.
South Carolina's principal industry beginning in the 1880s was textiles, but many textile mills were closed during the 1970s and early 1980s because of the importation of cheaper textiles from abroad. The economic slack was made up, however, by the establishment of new industries, especially paper and chemical manufactures, and by increasing foreign investment in the state. Principal overseas investment came from Switzerland, Germany, the United Kingdom, and Japan. South Carolina's major manufacturing centers are concentrated north of the fall line and in the piedmont.
According to the US Census Bureau's Annual Survey of Manufactures (ASM) for 2004, South Carolina's manufacturing sector covered some 18 product subsectors. The shipment value of all products manufactured in the state that same year was $81.630 billion. Of that total, transportation equipment manufacturing accounted for the largest share at $15.251 billion. It was followed by chemical manufacturing at $12.722 billion; machinery manufacturing at $6.735 billion; textile mills at $6.445 billion; and plastics and rubber products manufacturing at $6.296 billion.
In 2004, a total of 258,222 people in South Carolina were employed in the state's manufacturing sector, according to the ASM. Of that total, 194,712 were actual production workers. In terms of total employment, the textile mill industry accounted for the largest portion of all manufacturing employees at 32,183, with 27,591 actual production workers. It was followed by chemical manufacturing at 29,896 employees (16,550 actual production workers); transportation equipment manufacturing at 29,655 employees (22,290 actual production workers); fabricated metal product manufacturing at 25,664 employees (19,819 actual production workers); and plastics and rubber products manufacturing with 20,292 employees (16,001 actual production workers).
ASM data for 2004 showed that South Carolina's manufacturing sector paid $10.293 billion in wages. Of that amount, the chemical manufacturing sector accounted for the largest share at $1.696 billion. It was followed by transport equipment manufacturing at $1.356 billion; textile mills at $958.880 million; fabricated metal product manufacturing at $929.957 million; and plastics and rubber products manufacturing at $877.816 million.
According to the 2002 Census of Wholesale Trade, South Carolina's wholesale trade sector had sales that year totaling $32.9 billion from 4,917 establishments. Wholesalers of durable goods accounted for 3,031 establishments, followed by nondurable goods wholesalers at 1,559 and electronic markets, agents, and brokers accounting for 327 establishments. Sales by durable goods wholesalers in 2002 totaled $16.3 billion, while wholesalers of nondurable goods saw sales of $12.8 billion. Electronic markets, agents, and brokers in the wholesale trade industry had sales of $3.8 billion. Tobacco wholesale markets and warehouses are centered in the Pee Dee region, while soybean sales and storage facilities cluster around the port of Charleston. Truck crops, fruits, and melons are sold in large quantities at the state farmers' market in Columbia.
In the 2002 Census of Retail Trade, South Carolina was listed as having 18,416 retail establishments with sales of $40.6 billion. The leading types of retail businesses by number of establishments were: clothing and clothing accessories stores (2,647); gasoline stations (2,476); motor vehicle and motor vehicle parts dealers (2,237); and miscellaneous store retailers (2,131). In terms of sales, motor vehicle and motor vehicle parts dealers accounted for the largest share of retail sales at $10.4 billion, followed by general merchandise stores at $6.2 billion; food and beverage stores at $6.03 billion; and gasoline stations at $4.6 billion. A total of 212,926 people were employed by the retail sector in South Carolina that year.
In 2005, foreign exports were valued at $13.9 billion. Exports, mostly machinery, transportation equipment, and electronics; went primarily to Canada, Mexico, and Germany.
The South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs, established in 1974, has the authority to take, process, and investigate consumer complaints for probable basis and merit, represent the public at regulatory proceedings, and enforce consumer credit laws and consumer-related licensing laws. The Department is organized into five divisions: Administration; Consumer Services; Consumer Advocacy; Public Information and Education; and the Legal Division.
The Department is also responsible for the licensing and registration of pawnbrokers, motor clubs, physical fitness service organizations, mortgage loan brokers, athletic agents, prescription drug cards, continuing care retirement communities and prepaid legal representatives.
The state's Office of the Ombudsman, which is under the Governor's Office, also provides consumer services to the state's citizens on questions involving complaints, concerns and questions over the activities of the state government.
When dealing with consumer protection issues, the state's Attorney General's Office can initiate only limited civil, and only when permitted, criminal proceedings. It can represent the state before state and federal regulatory agencies, but cannot administer consumer protection and education programs. Formal consumer complaints can only be handled on a limited basis because of the authority granted to the Department of Consumer Affairs. The Attorney General's Office in consumer issues has limited subpoena powers. In antitrust actions, the Attorney General's Office can act on behalf of those consumers who are incapable of acting on their own; initiate damage actions on behalf of the state in state courts; initiate criminal proceedings; and represent counties, cities and other governmental entities in recovering civil damages under state or federal law.
The offices of the South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs, the Office of the Attorney General and the State Ombudsman are located in Columbia.
As of June 2005, South Carolina had 96 insured banks, savings and loans, and saving banks, plus 18 state-chartered and 69 federally chartered credit unions (CUs). Excluding the CUs, the Charleston-Gastonia-Concord market area accounted for the largest portion of the state's financial institutions and deposits in 2004, with 43 institutions and $90.216 billion in deposits. As of June 2005, CUs accounted for 11.9% of all assets held by all financial institutions in the state, or some $6.399 billion. Banks, savings and loans, and savings banks collectively accounted for the remaining 88.1% or $47.240 billion in assets held.
The median net interest margin (the difference between the lower rates offered to savers and the higher rates charged on loans) for the state's insured institutions as of fourth quarter 2005 stood at 4.21%, up from 4.02% in 2004 and 4.06% in 2003. The median percentage of past-due/nonaccrual loans to total loans in fourth quarter 2005 was 1.42%, up from 1.35% in 2004, but down from 1.67% in 2003.
Regulation of South Carolina's state-chartered banks and other financial institutions is the responsibility of the state's Board of Financial Institutions.
The South Carolina Department of Insurance licenses and supervises the insurance companies doing business in the state. Most of these represent national insurance organizations. In 2004, over 3.5 million individual life insurance policies worth $163.9 billion were in force in South Carolina; total value for all categories of life insurance (individual, group, and credit) was $256.3 billion. The average coverage amount is $46,400 per policy holder. Death benefits paid that year totaled $874 million.
As of 2003, there were 32 property and casualty and 12 life and health insurance companies domiciled in the state. In 2004, direct premiums for property and casualty insurance totaled over $5.7 billion. That year, there were 148,301 flood insurance policies in force in the state, with a total value of $28.7 billion. There were also 21,440 beach and windstorm insurance policies against hurricane and other windstorm damage in force, with a total value of $6 billion.
In 2003, there were over 3.3 million auto insurance policies in effect for private passenger cars. Required minimum coverage includes bodily injury liability of up to $15,000 per individual and $30,000 for all persons injured in an accident, as well as property damage liability of $10,000. Uninsured motorist coverage is also required. In 2003, the average expenditure per vehicle for insurance coverage was $744.79.
In 2004, 51% of state residents held employment-based health insurance policies, 4% held individual policies, and 28% were covered under Medicare and Medicaid; 15% of residents were uninsured. In 2003, employee contributions for employment-based health coverage averaged at 20% for single coverage and 29% for family coverage. The state offers a six-month health benefits expansion program for small-firm employees in connection with the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA, 1986), a health insurance program for those who lose employment-based coverage due to termination or reduction of work hours.
There are no securities exchanges in South Carolina. In 2005, there were 1,060 personal financial advisers employed in the state and 1,700 securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents. In 2004, there were over 64 publicly traded companies within the state, with over 18 NASDAQ companies, 8 NYSE listings, and 4 AMEX listings. In 2006, the state had one Fortune 500 company; SCANA, based in Columbia and listed on the NYSE, ranked 447th in the nation with revenues of over $4.7 billion. Sonoco Products (NYSE), Bowater (NYSE), and ScanSource (NASDAQ) were all listed in the Fortune 1,000.
Enforcement of the state Securities Act is vested in the securities commissioner within the Office of the Attorney General.
South Carolina's governor submits the annual budget to the General Assembly in January as the basis for enactment of an appropriation bill, effective for the fiscal year beginning July 1.
The state constitution requires that budget appropriations not exceed expected revenues. A General Reserve Fund (equaling 3% of General Fund revenues) is maintained to cover operating deficits. In addition, approximately 25% of projected revenue growth is set-aside and may be used as a surplus at the end of the fiscal year. Many tax revenues are earmarked for specific purposes and are deposited in accounts other than the general fund: all gasoline taxes and related charges are designated for highways, and a portion of the sales tax goes directly to public education. In addition, public education accounts for more than half of all general fund expenditures. The state shares tax collections with its subdivisions (counties and municipalities), which determine how their share of the money will be spent.
Fiscal year 2006 general funds were estimated at $6.4 billion for resources and $5.7 billion for expenditures. In fiscal year 2004, federal government grants to South Carolina were $6.1 billion.
In 2005, South Carolina collected $7,318 million in tax revenues or $1,720 per capita, which placed it 43rd among the 50 states in per capita tax burden. The national average was $2,192 per capita. Property taxes accounted for 0.1% of the total; sales taxes, 39.7%; selective sales taxes, 13.4%; individual income taxes, 36.8%; corporate income taxes, 3.4%; and other taxes 6.7%.
As of 1 January 2006, South Carolina had six individual income tax brackets ranging from 2.5% to 7.0%. The state taxes corporations at a flat rate of 5.0%.
In 2004, state and local property taxes amounted to $3,704,419,000 or $882 per capita. The per capita amount ranks the state 33rd highest nationally. Local governments collected $3,692,822,000 of the total and the state government $11,597,000.
South Carolina taxes retail sales at a rate of 5%. In addition to the state tax, local taxes on retail sales can reach as much as 2%, making for a potential total tax on retail sales of 7%. Food purchased for consumption off-premises is taxable. The tax on cigarettes is 7 cents per pack, which ranks 51st among the 50 states and the District of Columbia. South Carolina taxes gasoline at 16 cents per gallon. This is in addition to the 18.4 cents per gallon federal tax on gasoline.
According to the Tax Foundation, for every federal tax dollar sent to Washington in 2004, South Carolina citizens received $1.38 in federal spending.
The Department of Commerce seeks to encourage economic growth and to attract new industries; it has been successful in at-
|South Carolina—State Government Finances|
|(Dollar amounts in thousands. Per capita amounts in dollars.)|
|Abbreviations and symbols:—zero or rounds to zero; (NA) not available; (X) not applicable.|
|source: U.S. Census Bureau, Governments Division, 2004 Survey of State Government Finances, January 2006.|
|Individual income tax||2,438,712||580.92|
|Corporate income tax||196,510||46.81|
|Miscellaneous general revenue||1,209,879||288.20|
|Liquor store revenue||-||-|
|Insurance trust revenue||3,357,790||799.85|
|Insurance benefits and repayment||2,293,201||546.26|
|Assistance and subsidies||695,601||165.70|
|Interest on debt||608,695||145.00|
|Exhibit: Salaries and wages||2,736,968||651.97|
|General expenditures, by function:|
|Parks and recreation||68,284||16.27|
|Interest on general debt||453,179||107.95|
|Other and unallocable||1,779,542||423.90|
|Liquor store expenditure||-||-|
|Insurance trust expenditure||2,293,201||546.26|
|Debt at end of fiscal year||11,162,865||2,659.09|
|Cash and security holdings||30,436,285||7,250.19|
tracting foreign companies, especially to the Piedmont. The Community and Rural Development Division strengthens and improves the leadership capacity and education of local community leaders. The division offers technical assistance to all South Carolina communities.
The state exempts all new industrial construction from local property taxes (except the school tax) for five years. Moreover, industrial properties are assessed very leniently for tax purposes. State and local governments have cooperated in building necessary roads to industrial sites, providing water and sewer services, and helping industries to meet environmental standards. Counties are authorized to issue industrial bonds at low interest rates. Generally conservative state fiscal policies, relatively low wage rates, and an anti-union climate also serve as magnets for industry.
The infant mortality rate in October 2005 was estimated at 8.4 per 1,000 live births. The birth rate in 2003 was 13.4 per 1,000 population. The abortion rate stood at 9.3 per 1,000 women in 2000. In 2003, about 77.5% of pregnant woman received prenatal care beginning in the first trimester. In 2004, approximately 80% of children received routine immunizations before the age of three.
The crude death rate in 2003 was 9.2 deaths per 1,000 population. As of 2002, the death rates for major causes of death (per 100,000 resident population) were: heart disease, 235.2; cancer, 202.9; cerebrovascular diseases, 68.7; chronic lower respiratory diseases, 46; and diabetes, 27.1. The mortality rate from HIV infection was 7.3 per 100,000 population. In 2004, the reported AIDS case rate was at about 18.1 per 100,000 population. In 2002, about 59.3% of the population was considered overweight or obese. As of 2004, about 24.3% of state residents were smokers.
In 2003, South Carolina had 61 community hospitals with about 11,100 beds. There were about 506,000 patient admissions that year and 7.4 million outpatient visits. The average daily inpatient census was about 8,100 patients. The average cost per day for hospital care was $1,355. Also in 2003, there were about 178 certified nursing facilities in the state with 18,306 beds and an overall occupancy rate of about 88.6%. In 2004, it was estimated that about 68.7% of all state residents had received some type of dental care within the year. South Carolina had 231 physicians per 100,000 resident population in 2004 and 732 nurses per 100,000 in 2005. In 2004, there was a total of 1,949 dentists in the state.
About 24% of state residents were enrolled in Medicaid programs in 2003; 15% were enrolled in Medicare programs in 2004. Approximately 15% of the state population was uninsured in 2004. In 2003, state health care expenditures totaled $5.5 million.
In 2004, about 123,000 people received unemployment benefits, with the average weekly unemployment benefit at $211. In fiscal year 2005, the estimated average monthly participation in the food stamp program included about 521,125 persons (219,503 households); the average monthly benefit was about $90.48 per person. That year, the total of benefits paid through the state for the food stamp program was about $565.8 million.
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), the system of federal welfare assistance that officially replaced Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) in 1997, was reauthorized through the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005. TANF is funded through federal block grants that are divided among the states based on an equation involving the number of recipients in each state. South Carolina's TANF program is called Family Independence. In 2004, the state program had 39,000 recipients; state and federal expenditures on this TANF program totaled $51 million in fiscal year 2003.
In December 2004, Social Security benefits were paid to 750,970 South Carolina residents. This number included 453,910 retired workers, 69,510 widows and widowers, 123,460 disabled workers, 30,770 spouses, and 73,320 children. Social Security beneficiaries represented 18% of the total state population and 93.8% of the state's population age 65 and older. Retired workers received an average monthly payment of $931; widows and widowers, $820; disabled workers, $884; and spouses, $468. Payments for children of retired workers averaged $490 per month; children of deceased workers, $597; and children of disabled workers, $270. Federal Supplemental Security Income payments in December 2004 went to 105,223 Pennsylvania residents, averaging $369 a month. An additional $937,000 of state-administered supplemental payments were distributed to 2,981 residents.
In 2004, there were an estimated 1,890,682 housing units, 1,611,401 of which were occupied; 69.7% were owner-occupied. About 60.6% of all housing units were single-family, detached homes. The state had one of the largest percentages of mobile home units with nearly 18.8% in 2004. Electricity and utility gas were the most common energy sources for heating. It was estimated 102,653 units lacked telephone service, 5,428 lacked complete plumbing facilities, and 8,284 lacked complete kitchen facilities. The average household had 2.52 members.
In 2004, 43,200 new privately owned housing units were authorized for construction. The median home value was $113,910. The median monthly cost for mortgage owners was $987. Renters paid a median of $610 per month. In 2006, the state received over $23.9 million in community development block grants from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
South Carolina has made a determined effort to upgrade housing. The State Housing Authority, created in 1971, is empowered to issue bonds to provide mortgage subsidies for low- and middle-income families.
For decades, South Carolina ranked below the national averages in most phases of education, including expenditures per pupil, median years of school completed, teachers' salaries, and literacy levels. During the 1970s, however, significant improvements were made through the adoption of five-year achievement goals, enactment of a statewide educational funding plan, provision of special programs for exceptional children and of kindergartens for all children, measurement of students' achievements at various stages, and expansion of adult education programs. As of 2004, 83.6% of residents 25 years or older had completed high school, almost meeting the national average of 84%. Some 24.9% had attended four or more years of college.
The total enrollment for fall 2002 in South Carolina's public schools stood at 695,000. Of these, 501,000 attended schools from kindergarten through grade eight, and 194,000 attended high school. Approximately 54.2% of the students were white, 41.3% were black, 3.2% were Hispanic, 1.1% were Asian/Pacific Islander, and 0.3% were American Indian/Alaskan Native. Total enrollment was estimated at 689,000 in fall 2003 and expected to be 675,000 by fall 2014, a decline of 2.7% during the period 2002–14. Expenditures for public education in 2003/04 were estimated at $6.1 billion. In fall 2003 there were 58,005 students enrolled in 345 private schools. Since 1969, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) has tested public school students nationwide. The resulting report, The Nation's Report Card, stated that in 2005, eighth graders in South Carolina scored 281 out of 500 in mathematics compared with the national average of 278.
As of fall 2002, there were 202,007 students enrolled in college or graduate school; minority students comprised 30.6% of total postsecondary enrollment. In 2005 South Carolina had 63 degree-granting institutions. The state has three major universities: the University of South Carolina, with its main campus in Columbia; Clemson University, at Clemson; and the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston. In addition, there are four-year state colleges, as well as four-year and two-year branches of the University of South Carolina. The state also has 23 four-year non-profit private colleges and universities; most are church-affiliated. The Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary in Columbia is the only major private graduate institution. South Carolina has an extensive technical education system, supported by both state and local funds. Tuition grants are offered for South Carolina students in need that are enrolled in private colleges in the state.
The South Carolina Arts Commission, created in 1967, has developed apprenticeship programs, under the Folklife and Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Initiative, in which students learn from master artists. In 2005, the South Carolina Arts Commission and other South Carolina arts organizations received 15 grants totaling $933,200 from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). In 2005, the National Endowment for the Humanities contributed $769,885 for 10 state programs. The state and various private sources also provided funding for the council's activities.
South Carolina's three major centers for the visual arts are the Gibbes Museum of Art in Charleston, the Columbia Museum of Art, and the Greenville County Museum of Art. The Town Theater in Columbia was built in 1924 and is the nation's oldest community playhouse in continuous use. The theater building is also listed in the National Register of Historic Places. As of 2005, the Town Theater offered Summer Camps for youths between 2nd and 12th grade.
The Charleston Symphony Orchestra, founded in 1936, celebrated its 70th anniversary during the 2005/06 season. The Charlotte Symphony Orchestra celebrated its 75th anniversary during its 2006/07. Perhaps South Carolina's best-known musical event is the Spoleto Festival—held annually in Charleston during May and June and modeled on the Spoleto Festival in Italy—at which artists of international repute perform in original productions in opera, theater, dance, music, and circus.
For the fiscal year ending in June 2001, South Carolina had 41 public library systems, with a total of 183 libraries, of which 143 were branches. In that same year, the South Carolina public library systems had a combined book/serial publication stock of 8,260,000 volumes and a total circulation of 18,166,000. The system also had 280,000 audio and 234,000 video items, 30,000 electronic format items (CD-ROMs, magnetic tapes, and disks), and 35 bookmobiles. The State Library in Columbia works to improve library services throughout the state and also provides reference and research services for the state government. The University of South Carolina and Clemson University libraries, with more than 3,067,457 and 1,024,289 volumes, respectively, have the most outstanding academic collections. Special libraries are maintained by the South Carolina Historical Society in Charleston and the De-partment of Archives and History in Columbia; the South Caroliniana Society at the University of South Carolina is a friends' group devoted to the USC library. In fiscal year 2001, operating income for the state's public library system totaled $75,829,000 and included $648,000 in federal funds and $6,990,000 in state funding.
There are 131 museums and historic sites, notably the State Museum in Columbia, with collections reflecting all areas of the state; Charleston Museum (specializing in history, natural history, and anthropology); and the University of South Carolina McKissick Museums (with silver, lapidary, and military collections) also in Columbia. Charleston is also famous for its many old homes, streets, churches, and public facilities; at the entrance to Charleston Harbor stands Ft. Sumter, where the Civil War began. Throughout the state, numerous battle sites of the American Revolution have been preserved; many antebellum plantation homes have been restored, especially in the low country. Restoration projects have proceeded in Columbia and Charleston, where the restored Exchange Building, dating to the Revolutionary War, was opened to the public in 1981.
Among the state's best-known botanical gardens are the Cypress, Magnolia, and Middleton gardens in the Charleston area. Edisto Garden in Orangeburg is renowned for its azaleas and roses, and Brookgreen Gardens near Georgetown displays a wide variety of plants, animals, and sculpture.
In 2004, 93.4% of South Carolina's occupied housing units had telephones. Additionally, by June of that same year there were 2,337,367 mobile wireless telephone subscribers. In 2003, 54.9% of South Carolina households had a computer and 45.6% had Internet access. By June 2005, there were 464,917 high-speed lines in South Carolina, 414,608 residential and 50,309 for business. The state had 62 major radio stations (14 AM, 48 FM) and 20 major television stations in 2005. South Carolina has one of the most highly regarded educational television systems in the nation, with ten stations serving the public schools, higher education institutions, state agencies, and the general public through a multichannel closed-circuit network and seven open channels. The Charlotte area alone had 880,570 television households, 67% receiving cable in 1999. Some 45,839 Internet domain names were registered in the state as of 2000.
Charleston Courier, founded in 1803, and the Post. founded in 1894 merged to form the Charleston Post and Courier in 1991. The Spartanburg Herald-Journal was founded in 1844 and the Greenville News began publication in 1874. Overall, as of 2005, South Carolina had 14 morning newspapers, 2 evening dailies, and 14 Sunday newspapers.
Leading dailies and their approximate 2005 circulation rates are as follows:
|Charleston||Post and Courier (m,S)||95,588||106,061|
|Columbia||The State (m,S)||115,464||148,865|
In 2006, there were over 3,110 nonprofit organizations registered within the state, of which about 2,238 were registered as charitable, educational, or religious organizations. National professional and business organizations with headquarters in the state include the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, the National Peach Council, and the United States Sweet Potato Council. National offices for US Club Soccer and the Southern Conference of collegiate sports are located within the state. State educational and cultural organizations include the South Carolina Historical Society and the South Carolina Humanities Council. There are several local arts councils. The Congressional Medal of Honor Society in Mount Pleasant hosts a museum to honor recipients of this award.
In 2004, the tourism and travel industry ranked first in the state as the largest employer and the largest "export." That year, the state hosted some 32 million visitors with total visitor spending at $7.8 billion. Approximately 132,400 South Carolinians are directly employed by the tourism industry. About 75% of travelers are from out-of-state. Nearly one-third of all trips are day trips. About 75% of out-of-state tourist revenue is spent by vacationers in Charleston, where visitors may tour in a horse-drawn buggy, and at the Myrtle Beach and Hilton Head Island resorts. The Marketplace at the center of Charleston marks the place where over 70% of all slaves were processed into the country. Outside of Charleston, several historic plantations offer tours.
The Cowpens National Battlefield and the Ft. Sumter and Ft. Moultrie and Kings Mountain national military sites are popular tourist attractions. Golf is a major attraction, generating more income than any other single entertainment or recreational activity. During the last week in May, Charleston hosts the Spoleto Festival, which features exhibits, plays, and musical presentations.
There are 46 state parks and 9 welcome centers in the state.
There are no major professional sports teams in South Carolina. Minor league baseball teams are located in Myrtle Beach and Charleston. There are also minor league hockey teams in North Charleston, Greenville, and Florence. Several steeplechase horse races are held annually in Camden, and important professional golf and tennis tournaments are held at Hilton Head Island.
In collegiate football, the Clemson Tigers of the Atlantic Coast Conference won the AP and UPI National Championship in 1981. The University of South Carolina of the Southeastern Conference and South Carolina State of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference also have football programs. Under the tutelage of former Notre Dame coach Lou Holtz, the South Carolina Gamecocks saw a turnaround in their football program, highlighted by consecutive Outback Bowl victories over Ohio State in 2001 and 2002.
Fishing, water-skiing, and sailing are popular sports. There are two major stock car races held at Darlington each year: the Mall. com 400 in March and the Southern 500 on Labor Day weekend.
Other annual sporting events include Polo Games held from February through Easter in Aiken, and the Governor's Annual Frog Jumping Contest held in Springfield on the Saturday before Easter.
Many distinguished South Carolinians made their reputations outside the state. Andrew Jackson (1767–1845), the seventh US president, was born in a border settlement probably inside present-day South Carolina, but studied law in North Carolina before establishing a legal practice in Tennessee. Identified more closely with South Carolina is John C. Calhoun (1782–1850), vice president from 1825 to 1832; Calhoun also served as US senator and was a leader of the South before the Civil War.
John Rutledge (1739–1800), the first governor of the state and a leader during the America Revolution, served a term as US chief justice but was never confirmed by the Senate. Another Revolutionary leader, Charles Cotesworth Pinckney (1746–1825), was also a delegate to the US constitutional convention. A strong Unionist, Joel R. Poinsett (1779–1851) served as secretary of war and as the first US ambassador to Mexico; he developed the poinsettia, named after him, from a Mexican plant. Benjamin R. Tillman (1847–1918) was governor, US senator, and leader of the populist movement in South Carolina. Bernard M. Baruch (1870–1965), an outstanding financier, statesman, and adviser to presidents, was born in South Carolina. Another presidential adviser, James F. Byrnes (1879–1972), also served as US senator, associate justice of the Supreme Court, and secretary of state. The state's best-known recent political leader was J(ames) Strom Thurmond (1902–2003), who ran for the presidency as a States' Rights Democrat ("Dixiecrat") in 1948, winning 1,169,134 popular votes and 39 electoral votes, and served in the Senate from 1954 until his death.
Famous military leaders native to the state are the Revolutionary War General Francis Marion (1732?–95), known as the Swamp Fox, and James Longstreet (1821–1904), a Confederate lieutenant general during the Civil War, Mark W. Clark (b.New York, 1896–1984), US Army general and former president of the Citadel, lived in South Carolina after 1954. General William C. Westmoreland (1914–2005) was commander of US forces in Viet-Nam.
Notable in the academic world are Francis Lieber (b.Germany, 1800–1872), a political scientist who taught at the University of South Carolina and, later, Columbia University in New York City, and wrote for the United States the world's first comprehensive code of military laws and procedures; Mary McLeod Bethune (1875–1955), founder of Bethune-Cookman College in Florida and of the National Council of Negro Women; John B. Watson (1878–1958), a pioneer in behavioral psychology; and Charles H. Townes (b.1915), awarded the Nobel Prize in physics in 1964. South Carolinians prominent in business and the professions include architect Robert Mills (1781–1855), who designed the Washington Monument and many other buildings; William Gregg (b.Virginia, 1800–1867), a leader in establishing the textile industry in the South; David R. Coker (1870–1938), who developed many varieties of pedigreed seed; and industrial builder Charles E. Daniel (1895–1964), who helped bring many new industries to the state.
South Carolinians who made significant contributions to literature include William Gilmore Simms (1806–70), author of nearly 100 books; Julia Peterkin (1880–1961), who won the Pulitzer Prize for Scarlet Sister Mary; DuBose Heyward (1885–1940), whose novel Porgy was the basis of the folk opera Porgy and Bess; and James M. Dabbs (1896–1970), a writer who was also a leader in the racial integration movement.
Entertainers born in the state include singer Eartha Kitt (b.1928) and jazz trumpeter John Birks "Dizzy" Gillespie (1917–1993). Tennis champion Althea Gibson (1927–2003) was another South Carolina native.
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