South Carolina Facts

South Carolina Economy

South Carolina's economy was ranked the 25th largest in the United States based on GDP (Gross Domestic Product) in 2020. The current GDP for South Carolina is 244,881.70 (October 2021). South Carolina has employed over 2 million people. Currently, the unemployment rate for South Carolina is 4.3%. 

Top 10 Exports in SC
Transportation Equipment
Plastics & Rubber Products
Machinery, except Electrical
Computer & Electronic Products
Electrical Equipment, Appliances & Components
Fabricated Metal Products, Nesoi
Food & Kindred Products
Textiles & Fabrics 
Leading Industries in SC
Aerospace and Aviation
Advanced Manufacturing


South Carolina Firsts

By Robert Henry Thurston, author. - "The Growth of the Steam-Engine. Part III: The Non-Condensing Engine, and its Application in the Locomotive." The Popular Science Monthly, Vol. XII, January 1878. Fig. 34, p. 270., Public Domain,
  • In 1526, Lucas Vásquez de Ayllón founded San Miguel de Guadalupe, the first white European settlement near present-day Georgetown. The Spanish settlement was unsuccessful and failed within a few months. 
  • The Stono Rebellion was not the first slave revolt in South Carolina. The enslaved Africans that came with the Spanish colonizers revolted in November 1526. It is said that these enslaved Africans either traveled south as winter approached or was helped by the local Native Americans. 
  • The Parsonage Provincial Library in Charleston, South Carolina, was the first public lending library in the American Colonies. The library was founded in 1698. 
  • "Flora," the first opera performed in the United States was premiered in Charleston, South Carolina, on February 8, 1735. 
  • The Charleston Museum is the first museum in America. The museum was founded in 1773 and opened to the public in 1824. 
  • Built in 1830, the Best Friend of Charleston was a steam-powered railroad locomotive considered to be the first locomotive built entirely within the United States for commercial service. It produced the first locomotive boiler explosion in the United States.
  • Founded in 1770 and chartered in 1785, The College of Charleston was the first municipal college in the nation. 
  • Built on May 6, 1840, the South Caroliniana Library was the first building to be used solely as a college library. 
  • South Carolina was the first state to secede from the Union. South Carolina was also one of the eleven states to form the Confederate States of America.  
  • The First South Carolina Volunteer Infantry was the first black unit of the Union Army during the Civil War. The unit was organized in November of 1862. 
  • Mount Vernon Mills, the first electric textile plant, opened in Columbia in 1893. The mill is now home to the South Carolina State Museum. 
  • Strom Thurmond was the first United States Senator to be elected to the U.S. Senate through write-in votes.


South Carolina Government

Capital of South Carolina: Columbia

Governor: Henry McMaster 

Lieutenant Governor: Pamela Evette

Secretary of State: Mark Hammond

Treasurer: Curtis Loftis

Attorney General: Alan Wilson 

U.S. Representatives: Joe Wilson, Tom Rice, Jim Clyburn, Nancy Mace, Ralph Norman, Jeff Duncan, and William Timmons 

U.S. Senators: Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott 


South Carolina Mottoes

South Carolina has two official mottoes: 

Animis Opibusque Parati (ah-ni-mis oh-pi-boos-kwe pah-rah-tee) means prepared in minds and resources. 

Dum Spiro Spero (doom spee-roh spey-roh) means while I breathe, I hope. 


South Carolina Population

South Carolina is the 23rd largest state in population in the United States. The 2021 population is 5,179,334. Below is a table of the most populated cities and counties in South Carolina. 

Most Populated SC Cities
Charleston - 150,227
Columbia - 136,632
North Charleston - 114,852
Mount Pleasant - 90,801
Rock Hill - 74,372
Greenville - 70,720
Summerville - 50,915
Goose Creek - 45,946
Sumter - 43,463
Florence - 39,899
Most Populated SC Counties
Greenville - 525,534
Richland - 416,147
Charleston - 408,235
Horry - 351,029
Spartanburg - 327,997
Lexington - 293,991
York - 282,090
Berkeley - 229,861
Anderson - 203,718
Beaufort - 187,117


South Carolina State Amphibian

The indigenous Spotted Salamander (Ambystoma maculatum) was designated as the State Amphibian by ACT Number 79 of 1999 as a result of a campaign by a third-grade class at Woodlands Heights Elementary School in Spartanburg.


South Carolina State Animal

The White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus) can be seen bounding through South Carolina's woods year-round. They are plentiful in our state, and in 1972 the legislature named them the official state animal


South Carolina State Beverage

Milk was designated as the official State Beverage by Act Number 360 of 1984 because dairy farmers are found in almost every county in the state. The dairy industry is a one hundred million dollar enterprise for the state of South Carolina.  


South Carolina State Bird

The Carolina Wren was designated as the official State Bird by Act Number 693 of 1948. This Act repealed an earlier Act designating the Mockingbird as the State Bird. The Carolina Wren is found in all areas of South Carolina. It is a small bird with a conspicuous white stripe over the eyes.


South Carolina State Botanical Garden

The 295-acre South Carolina Botanical Garden at Clemson University was designated the State Botanical Garden by Act Number 288 of 1992. 


South Carolina State Butterfly

The beautiful Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus) butterfly was designated the official Butterfly of the State by Act Number 319 of 1994. The Eastern Tiger Swallowtail can be seen in deciduous woods, along streams, rivers and wooded swamps, and in towns and cities throughout South Carolina. 


South Carolina State Color

Indigo Blue was designated as the official Color of the State by Act Number 200 of 2008. The purplish-blue-hued Indigo plant formed a significant part of the South Carolina economy from the late 1740s to the late 1790s. 


South Carolina State Dance

The Shag (Carolina Shag) was designated the official State Dance by Act Number 329 of 1984. The basic step for this upbeat, quick, and smooth dance is a six-count, eight-step pattern danced in a slot. 


South Carolina State Dog

The Boykin Spaniel is the only dog initially bred by South Carolinians and has developed into a breed of superb hunting instincts and mild temperament. In 1985, the Boykin Spaniel was designated the official State Dog of South Carolina. 


South Carolina State Duck

The Wood Duck (Aix sponsa) was designated the official State Duck by Act Number 58 of 2009. Wood Ducks tend to habitat in woodland ponds, lakes, swamps, and marshes feeding on the vegetation and insects. 


South Carolina State Fish

The versatile Striped Bass (Morone saxatilis) was designated the official State Fish by Act Number 1333 of 1972. The Striped Bass can live in both freshwater and saltwater environments. 


South Carolina State Flag

A blue flag with a white crescent moon and white palmetto tree.

The General Assembly adopted the current version of South Carolina's flag on January 28, 1861. This version added the Palmetto tree to the original design by Colonel William Moultrie in 1775 for use by South Carolina troops during the Revolutionary War. 

What does everything mean on the State Flag?

  • The blue color of the flag represents the color of the uniforms South Carolina troops used during the Revolutionary War. 
  • The crescent moon represents the silver emblem that was worn on the front of the soldier's caps. 
  • The Palmetto Tree symbolized Colonel Moultrie's heroic defense of the palmetto-log fort on Sullivan's Island against the attack of the British fleet. 

Did you know that there are serious consequences for vandalizing the State Flag? 

  • Any person who mutilates, injures, or desecrates the State Flag, wherever displayed, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of not more than $100 or by imprisonment for not more than 30 days or both. 

There is a pledge that goes with the State Flag!

  • The official State Pledge to the Flag of South Carolina was adopted by Act Number 910 of 1966. Mrs. John R. Carson wrote the pledge in 1950, and it goes: "I salute the flag of South Carolina and pledge to the Palmetto State love, loyalty, and faith." 


South Carolina State Flower

Carolina jessamine, Gelsemium sempervirens

The indigenous fragrant Yellow Jessamine (Gelsemium sempervirens) was adopted by the General Assembly as the official State Flower on February 1, 1924. It is a climbing woody vine with evergreen leaves and blooms small, fragrant yellow flowers. 


South Carolina State Folk Dance

The Square Dance was designated the official State Folk Dance by Act Number 329 of 1994. The dance is designed to be for four couples arranged in a square, with one couple on each side, facing the middle of the square. 


South Carolina State Fossil

The Columbian Mammoth (Mammuthus columbi) was designated as the official State Fossil by Act Number 177 of 2014. The Columbian mammoth was named after Christopher Columbus. The discovery of fossilized mammoth teeth in a South Carolina swamp in 1725 was credited as the first scientific identification of a North American vertebrate fossil. 


South Carolina State Fruit

The fuzzy sweet Peach (Prunus persica) was designated as the official State Fruit by Act Number 360 of 1984. South Carolina has over 18,000 acres of peach farms across the state. 


South Carolina State Game Bird

The gobbling, clucking and purring Wild Turkey was designated as the official State Wild Game Bird by Act Number 508 of 1976. Wild Turkeys are found in forests throughout the State of South Carolina 


South Carolina State Gemstone


The semi-precious quartz, Amethyst, was designated as the official State Gemstone by Act Number 345 of 1969. South Carolina is known to be the home to some of the world's highest-quality amethyst. 


South Carolina State Grass

Indian Grass was designated as the official State Grass by Act Number 94 of 2001. Indian Grass can be used to make baskets. 


South Carolina State Heritage Horse

The Marsh Tacky is a rare colonial Spanish horse breed found only in South Carolina. In 2010, the Marsh Tacky was designated as the official State Heritage Horse of South Carolina. 


South Carolina State Hospitality Beverage

Tea was designated as the official State Hospitality Beverage by Act Number 31 of 1995. South Carolina was the first state to grow tea in the United States and the birthplace of the sweet tea beverage. 


South Carolina State Insect

The native Carolina Mantid (Stagmomantis Carolina) was designated as the official State Insect by Act Number 591 of 1988. As a beneficial insect, the Carolina Mantid consumes pest insects that could otherwise damage or destroy flowers and produce. 


South Carolina State Marine Mammal

The intelligent Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) was designated as the official State Marine Mammal by Act Number 58 of 2009. The bottlenose dolphins are protected in U.S. waters under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. 


South Carolina State Music

The Spiritual was designated as the official State Music by Act Number 64 of 1999. A spiritual is a type of religious folksong that is most closely associated with the struggles of slavery and the hope of freedom for the enslaved Africans in the American South. 


South Carolina State Opera

Porgy and Bess was designated as the official Opera of the State by Act Number 94 of 2001. Porgy and Bess is an opera based on the novel Porgy written by South Carolina native Edwin Dubose Heyward. 


South Carolina State Picnic Cuisine

Barbecue was designated as the official State Picnic Cuisine by Act Number 231 of 2014. Each region of South Carolina has a unique way of preparing and cooking barbecue that can be explored through South Carolina's "BBQ Trail."


South Carolina State Poet Laurate

The official State Poet Laureate was designated by Joint Resolution Number 736 of 1934. This resolution allows the Governor to appoint a Poet Laureate for the State. In 2003, former Governor Mark Sanford named Marjory Heath Wentworth as South Carolina's sixth Poet Laureate. 


South Carolina State Popular Music

Beach Music was designated as the official State Popular Music by Act Number 15 of 2001. Beach music is primarily a rhythm and blues style based on 4/4 rhythms with a moderate to fast-paced tempo. 


South Carolina State Reptile

The Loggerhead Turtle (Caretta caretta) was designated as the official State Reptile by Act Number 588 of 1988 as a result of a request by a fifth-grade class from the town, Ninety-six in Greenwood County. South Carolina's coast is one of the Loggerhead nesting areas, and nest protection projects have been established along the South Carolina coast to increase hatchling productivity. 


South Carolina State Seal

South Carolina State Seal

South Carolina's State Seal was designed by William Henry Drayton and Arthur Middleton in 1776. John Rutledge, the President of the Provincial Congress of South Carolina, used the Seal for the first time on May 22, 1777. The current seal is made up of two elliptical areas linked by branches of the palmetto tree. The left oval is the palmetto tree with a fallen oak at the base. The right oval is the goddess Spes (Hope) walking on the beach at dawn over discarded weapons.


South Carolina State Shell

Lettered olive shells in a tub.

The Lettered Olive (Olive Sayana) was designated as the official State Shell by Act No. 360 of 1984. The shell has a smooth, shiny, cylindrical shape and is typically found in shallow waters near the shore. 


South Carolina State Snack

The Boiled Peanut was designated as the official State Snack by Act Number 270 of 2006. This South Carolina delicacy is a snack found throughout South Carolina at roadside stands, festivals, produce stands, and stores. 


South Carolina State Songs

South Carolina has two official State Songs: "Carolina" and "South Carolina on My Mind."

"Carolina" was written by Henry Timrod and set to music by Anne C. Burgess. On February 11, 1911, the song was designated as the State Song by a Concurrent Resolution. 

"South Carolina on My Mind" was composed and recorded by Hank Martin and Buzz Arledge in 1980. On March 8, 1984, the song was designated as the State Song by Act Number 302 of 1984. 


South Carolina State Spider

The skittish Carolina Wolf Spider (Hogna carolinensis) was designated as the official State Spider by Act Number 389 of 2000. The Carolina Wolf Spider is the largest species of wolf spider in North America. While skittish and large, the wolf spider is generally not aggressive. 


South Carolina State Stone

Blue Granite is a type of igneous rock that is one of the hardest substances in the world. The Blue Granite was designated as the official State Stone by Act Number 345 of 1969. Surprisingly, South Carolina was known to have been one of the nation's top producers of granite. 


South Carolina State Tree

The hardy Palmetto Tree (Inodes palmetto or Sabal palmetto) was designated as the official State Tree by Joint Resolution Number 63 on March 17, 1939. It is believed that the Palmetto tree was symbolical of the defeat of the British fleet at Fort Moultrie on Sullivan's Island due to the fact that the Palmetto logs absorbed the impact of the cannonballs. 


South Carolina State Vegetable

A bundle of collard greens/

Big, green, and leafy, Collard Greens (Brassica oleracea var. viridis) was designated as the official State Vegetable by Act Number 38 of 2011, as a result of efforts by Mary Grace Wingard, a third-grader from Lexington, South Carolina. South Carolina ranks second in the nation in collard green production. 


South Carolina State Waltz

The Richardson Waltz was designated as the official State Waltz by Act Number 389 of 2000. The waltz had been created and preserved for generations by members of the Richardson family. 


South Carolina State Wildflower

Solidago, Goldenrod

The weedy herb, Goldenrod (Solidago), was designated as the official State Wildflower by Act Number 31 of 2003. The Goldenrod is a hardy plant with tiny bright yellow flowers that bloom in late summer and early fall. 


South Carolina State Work Animal

The hard-working Mule was designated as the official State Heritage Work Animal by Act Number 240 of 2010.  


South Carolina Statehood

South Carolina became the eighth state to ratify the U.S. Constitution on May 23, 1788. 


South Carolina's Nickname

Palmetto-tree, and old custom-house, at Charleston, South Carolina

South Carolina is known as the Palmetto State in honor of the Palmetto tree, but did you know that South Carolina was nicknamed the Iodine State at one point? South Carolina received this name due to the large percentage of iodine found in the vegetation growing in the state. 


The Mace of the South Carolina House of Representatives

A golden mace with decorative details.

The South Carolina House of Representatives Mace is the oldest legislative mace in use in the United States. The Mace was made in London by Magdalen Feline in 1756.  Upon the opening of the session, the Sergeant-at-Arms will bear the mace ahead of the Speaker and lay it upon a specially prepared rack on the rostrum in front of the Speaker. The Mace remains on its rack until recess or adjournment. 


The State Sword of South Carolina

A silver bladed sword with reddish gold hilt.

The State Sword of South Carolina is a symbol for the South Carolina Senate and is placed in a cradle on the Senate rostrum whenever the Senate is in session. The current Sword was presented to the Senate on February 20, 1951, as a gift to South Carolina by Lord Halifax, former British ambassador to the United States, after learning of the theft of the original sword.