Upstate South Carolina

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Map of South Carolina highlighting "The Upstate" region.

The Upstate is the region in the westernmost part of South Carolina, United States, also known as the Upcountry,[1] which is the historical term. Although loosely defined among locals, the general definition includes the ten counties of the commerce-rich I-85 corridor in the northwest corner of South Carolina. The region's population was 1,409,582 as of 2014. Situated between Atlanta and Charlotte, the Upstate is the fastest-growing region of South Carolina. After BMW's initial investment, foreign companies, including others from Germany have a substantial presence in the Upstate; several large corporations have established regional, national, or continental headquarters in the area. Greenville is the largest city in the region with an urban population of 400,492, and it is the base of most commercial activity. Spartanburg, then Anderson, are next in population.


There are ten counties included in the Upstate of South Carolina: Greenville, Spartanburg, Anderson, Pickens, Cherokee, Oconee, Union, Laurens, Greenwood, and Abbeville.

County Year Founded County Seat 2010 Census
July 1, 2014
(Sq. Mi.)
Land Area
(Sq. Mi.)
Abbeville County 1785 Abbeville 25,417 24,965 511 508
Anderson County 1826 Anderson 187,126 192,810 757 718
Cherokee County 1897 Gaffney 55,342 56,024 397 393
Greenville County 1786 Greenville 451,225 482,752 795 790
Greenwood County 1897 Greenwood 69,835 69,520 463 456
Laurens County 1785 Laurens 66,537 66,533 724 715
Oconee County 1868 Walhalla 74,275 75,192 674 625
Pickens County 1868 Pickens 119,224 120,368 512 497
Spartanburg County 1785 Spartanburg 284,307 293,542 819 811
Union County 1798 Union 28,961 27,876 516 514
Total 1,362,073 1,409,582 6,168 6,027

Metropolitan, Micropolitan, and Combined Statistical Areas

Location of the Greenville-Spartanburg-Anderson CSA, which coincides with Upstate South Carolina, and its components:
  Greenville-Anderson-Mauldin Metropolitan Statistical Area
  Spartanburg Metropolitan Statistical Area
  Greenwood Micropolitan Statistical Area
  Seneca Micropolitan Statistical Area
  Gaffney Micropolitan Statistical Area

There are a total of two Metropolitan Statistical Areas and three Micropolitan Statistical Areas in this region. The larger Greenville–Spartanburg–Anderson Combined Statistical Area includes all of the two metropolitan areas and three micropolitan areas.[4]

As of the 2010 Census, the Greenville-Spartanburg-Anderson CSA had a population of 1,362,073.

  • Micropolitan Statistical Areas (μSAs)
    • Gaffney μSA
      • Cherokee County
    • Greenwood μSA
      • Abbeville County
      • Greenwood County
    • Seneca μSA
      • Oconee County


Downtown Greenville

The following population rankings are based on the 2010 Census[2]

Primary cities

Greenville, Spartanburg, and Anderson.

The Office of Management and Budget labels all these cities as principal cities in their respective MSA's.[4]

Other communities with at least 20,000 residents

Cities: Greenwood, Greer, Mauldin

The OMB has labelled Mauldin as a principal city.

CDP's: Taylors, Wade Hampton

Communities with more than 10,000 residents

Cities: Clemson, Easley, Gaffney, and Simpsonville .

If students from Clemson University are included, Clemson has close to 30,000 residents. The OMB has labelled Easley as a principal city.

CDP's: Berea, Five Forks, Gantt, Parker

Communities with fewer than 10,000 inhabitants

Communities in the upstate with under 10,000 residents include:



According to the 2010 Census, no town in the Upstate has a population greater than 6000.


Institutions of higher education

Clemson University Memorial Stadium
Furman University Belltower

The following table shows the major institutions of higher education in the Upstate.

Name Type Enrollment
Anderson University Private Senior 2,000
Bob Jones University Private Senior 5,000
Clemson University Public Senior 17,585
Converse College Private Senior 1,938
Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine - Carolinas Private Professional 600
Erskine College Private Senior 600
Furman University Private Senior 2,660
Greenville Technical College Public Technical 14,338
Lander University Public Senior 3,000
Limestone College Private Senior 3,000
North Greenville University Private Senior 2,071
Piedmont Technical College Public Technical 4,600
Presbyterian College Private Senior 1,200
Sherman College of Chiropractic Private Professional 200
Southern Wesleyan University Private Senior 2,414
Spartanburg Methodist College Private Two-Year 797
Spartanburg Community College Public Technical 4,300
Tri-County Technical College Public Technical 6,000
University Center - Greenville Public Two-Year N/A
University of South Carolina School of Medicine - Greenville Public Professional 400
University of South Carolina-Upstate Public Senior 4,851
University of South Carolina-Union Public Two-Year 363
Wofford College Private Senior 1,600

In 2008, U.S. News ranked Furman as the 37th best liberal arts college, Wofford College as the 59th best, and Presbyterian College as the 101st best. Also, they ranked Clemson University as the 67th best national university. Additionally, the Bob Jones University Museum and Gallery constitutes the largest collection of religious art in the Western Hemisphere. [1]


The majority of business and commerce in the Upstate takes place in Greenville County. Greenville has the largest concentration of businesses and financial institutions in its downtown area. In fact, the Greenville-Spartanburg-Anderson MSA was ranked seventh in the nation by site consultants considering the top markets for economic development. Many financial institutions have regional offices located in downtown Greenville. These include Wachovia and Bank of America. Other major industries of commerce in the Upstate include the auto industry which is concentrated mainly along the corridor between Greenville and Spartanburg around the BMW manufacturing facility in Greer. The other major industry in the Upstate is the healthcare and pharmaceuticals. Greenville Hospital System and Bon Secours St. Francis Health System are the area's largest in the healthcare sector, while the pharmaceutical corporation of Bausch & Lomb have set up regional operations alongside smaller recently developed local companies like IRIX Manufacturing, Incorporated and Pharmaceutical Associates. The Upstate is also home to a large amount of private sector and university-based research including R&D facilities for Michelin, Fuji and General Electric and research centers to support the automotive, life sciences, plastics and photonics industries. Clemson University, BMW, IBM, Microsoft, and Michelin have combined their resources to create International Center for Automotive Research (ICAR), a research park that specializes in the development of automotive technology.

Corporations based in or with a major presence in the Upstate

The following corporations have a major presence in the Upstate: Adidas, Bank of America, Bi-Lo, BMW of North America, Bon Secours St. Francis Health System [2], Bosch North America, Bowater, SunTrust, Toronto-Dominion Bank, Charter Communications, Denny's Restaurants, Dunlop Slazenger Group, Ernst & Young, Fluor Corporation, Freightliner LLC, GE Power Systems, Greenville Hospital System [3], IBM, Liberty Corporation, Mary Black Health System, Michelin of North America, Microsoft, Milliken & Co., Perrigo Company of South Carolina, Spartanburg Regional Health System, and Ovation Brands.

• BMW's only North American manufacturing plant is located in Spartanburg County, with an investment of $3.7 billion. [4]

• Fuji Film located their first manufacturing facility in the U.S. in Greenwood County. [5]

• Michelin North America's headquarters is located in Greenville, along with seven manufacturing plants, R&D facility and test track located in the Upstate. Michelin employees more than 7,800 in South Carolina. [6]

• Walgreens has their southeastern distribution center located in Anderson County, which employs mentally handicapped workers as nearly 40% of their workforce. [7]


View of the Upcountry from I-26 in Spartanburg County

The Upstate is served by two major interstate highways, I-85 and I-26. Other major interstate spurs include I-185, I-385, and I-585. The major airport in the region is Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport, located nearly halfway between Greenville and Spartanburg in suburban Greer. Greenville, Spartanburg, Anderson, Clemson, Pickens, Union, and Gaffney each have smaller airfields. AMTRAK service along the Crescent Line stops in Spartanburg, Greenville, and Clemson.


The Upstate region is served by 3 regional newspapers: The Greenville News, the (Spartanburg) Herald-Journal and the Anderson Independent-Mail, each of which serves their individual city and surrounding area respectively.

The Upstate is part of the vastly larger Greenville-Spartanburg-Anderson-Asheville designated market area, which extends into western North Carolina and northeastern Georgia. The following television stations serve the region:

See also


  1. Hollis, Daniel Walker, University of South Carolina, Volume I, South Carolina College, 1951, Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, p 342
  2. 2.0 2.1 See for population numbers and for municipality and CDP lists.
  3. "Table 1: Annual Estimates of the Resident Population by Sex, Race, and Hispanic Origin for the United States, States and Counties: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". 2014 Population Estimates. United States Census Bureau, Population Division. 2014-07-01. Retrieved 2015-09-01.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. 4.0 4.1 "OMB Bulletin No. 13-01: Revised Delineations of Metropolitan Statistical Areas, Micropolitan Statistical Areas, and Combined Statistical Areas, and Guidance on Uses of the Delineations of These Areas" (PDF). United States Office of Management and Budget. February 28, 2013. Retrieved April 15, 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links

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