The Charleston Metropolitan Area (MSA) comprises three counties: Charleston, Berkeley and Dorchester.

Charleston SC Park BenchPopulation

From 2000 to 2007, Charleston's population grew by 14.8%, faster than South Carolina (9.9%) and the U.S. as a whole (7.2%). In 2015, the estimated total population for the Charleston MSA is 727,000. More than 48% are 34 years or younger, although the median age increased from 33.9 years in 2000 to 35.8 years in 2010, showing the influence of baby boomers and a growing retirement population attracted by the city's historic charm, warm climate, proximity to beaches, reasonable cost of living, well-developed health system and easy-going lifestyle.

Economic Growth

Charleston has the good fortune of having six major pillars supporting its economic growth: Tourism, the Military (Air Force, Navy, SPAWAR), Transportation and Logistics (Port of Charleston), medical research (MUSC), higher education (College of Charleston, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston Southern University), and since 2012, aerospace. Boeing has been a major driver of employment and has established a solid presence in the aerospace sector. Additionally, in 2015 Volvo announced they will open their first North American plant in Ridgeville, just outside of the Charleston Metro Area. 

The Charleston Regional Development Alliance (CRDA) is an organization that attracts new businesses to the Charleston area, and keeps detailed information on demographics and employment trends. 

Major Employers

Major Public Sector Employers: US Navy (Naval Weapons Station), Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC), Charleston Air Force Base and Charleston County School District.

Volvo coming to CharlestonMajor Private Employers: Boeing, Roper St, Francis Healthcare, Piggly Wiggly Supermarket, Bosch Corporation, Wal-Mart Corporation, Trident Medical Center, Google, Benefit Focus, Blackbaud.


Charleston area residents have many options in K-12 education, including four public school districts: Berkeley County, Charleston County, Dorchester District 2 and Dorchester District 4, a growing number of charter schools, 65 private schools, and a number of public magnet schools, including Charleston County's Academic Magnet High School, ranked among the nation's top ten public high schools by Newsweek Magazine. The SC Governor's School for the Arts and Humanities and the Governor's School for Science and Mathematics are also ranked among the best academic secondary schools in the nation.

For additional information on area public and private schools, visit the South Carolina Department of Education. More information on local public school initiatives can be found by visiting The Education Foundation.


  • In 2008, South Carolina was in the top five states in the U.S. in terms of teachers earning their National Board certification. 
  • According to the 2007 CEOs for Cities Report, Charleston is in the Top 10 U.S. metro areas in terms of its growth of college-educated residents (census 1990 to 2000 comparisons) 


If you've been to Charleston, SC you will understand its allure. There are more than 55 new residents being added to the region every day. In addition to Charleston's acclaimed culture, cuisine, entertainment and beaches (Charleston has won many accolades including among the 25 "Best Places to Retire to" by Forbes, the "Friendliest City", and "Best Place to Visit in the World" by Conde Naste Travel Magazine), residents here enjoy a diverse range of housing options, one of the most impressive medical hubs in the Southeast, a mild year-round climate where you can play tennis or gold year-round – and a cost of living below the national average.