The 11th fastest growing county of South Carolina’s 46 counties is Kershaw, according to Bruce Mills with the Santee-Lynches Council of Governments.
And with the growth will almost certainly come more federal dollars, Mills said.
The U.S. Census Bureau released the final 2010 Census population totals Thursday. Census data are used to apportion congressional seats to states, to distribute more than $400 billion in federal funds to state and local governments each year and to make decisions about what community services to provide.
“The big issue is getting more in federal and state financial appropriations based on your size. The bigger you are, the bigger the ‘piece of the pie’ that you get during the decade in federal and state appropriations,” said Mills, whose organization covers Kershaw, Clarendon, Lee and Sumter counties.
Up from 52,647 in 2000, the Kershaw County’s population in the 2010 Census came in at 61,697. Of the total population, 6,838 reside within the municipal limits of Camden, 1,311 in Elgin and 334 in Bethune.
“This is obviously excellent news for Kershaw County,” said Kershaw County Council Vice Chairman Sammie Tucker Jr. “And I’m not surprised a bit by the numbers. Kershaw County is a growing community, the fastest county in our council of governments.”
The funding generated by this boost in population will be essential to the county’s future.
“This is the money that goes into our schools, our public safety, our roads and highways,” Tucker added.
Much of the praise, Tucker said, goes to county employees John Newman and Carolyn Hammond, who headed the committee to organize and promote the Census.
“Mr. Newman and Ms. Hammond, and a lot of other people, too, did an excellent job in spreading the word, answering questions and making sure the forms were filled out,” Tucker said.
While Camden’s growth was a slight 2 percent, Mayor Jeffrey Graham maintained that “any positive growth is wonderful” for a small town in South Carolina in the past 10 years.
“A lot of communities, smaller communities like ours, aren’t seeing any growth,” Graham said. “This shows that we need to have plans and the infrastructure in place for businesses to locate. We’re growing.”
Graham said the Census stats can be used as a selling point for the ongoing downtown development in Camden. The city’s Town Green, off Broad and Rutledge streets, is slated for completion by the end of April, and two new restaurant and bars on Broad Street have opened their doors since the beginning of 2011.
“We have our door open for new businesses,” Graham said. “The city grew, the county grew and the state grew, which should mean more money.”
South Carolina had a 15 percent increase in its population, from 4.01 million to 4.62 million.
Nationally, the 2010 Census came in at just below 309 million people, a nearly 10 percent increase from 2000.