Upstate South Carolina

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Greenville CSA
Greenville–Spartanburg–Anderson, SC Combined Statistical Area
Greenville-Spartanburg-Anderson CSA.png
Location of the Greenville-Spartanburg-Anderson CSA, which coincides with Upstate South Carolina except for Abbeville County, and its components:
  Greenville–Anderson Metropolitan Statistical Area
  Spartanburg Metropolitan Statistical Area
  Seneca Micropolitan Statistical Area
  Greenwood Micropolitan Statistical Area
  Gaffney Micropolitan Statistical Area
  Union Micropolitan Statistical Area
CountryFlag of United States.svg United States
StateFlag of South Carolina.svg South Carolina
Principal citiesGreenville
 • Total6,168 sq mi (15,980 km2)
 • Land6,008 sq mi (15,560 km2)
 • Water141 sq mi (370 km2)  2.2%
 • CSA
1,409,582[1] (40th)
Time zoneUTC−5 (EST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−4 (EDT)
Area code(s)864
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,[2] 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. This definition coincided with the Greenville–Spartanburg–Anderson, SC Combined Statistical Area, as first defined by the Office of Management and Budget in 2015. In 2018, the OMB redefined the CSA such that it no longer included Abbeville County. That definition remains as of 2020.[3] The region's population was 1,347,112 as of 2016. Situated between Atlanta and Charlotte, the Upstate is the geographical center of the Charlanta mega-region. 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 a population of 72,227 and an urban-area population of 400,492, and it is the base of most commercial activity. Spartanburg and Anderson are next in population.


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

Upstate South Carolina

County 2019 Estimate 2010 Census Change
Greenville County 523,542 451,225 +16.03%
Spartanburg County 319,785 284,307 +12.48%
Anderson County 202,558 187,126 +8.25%
Pickens County 126,884 119,224 +6.42%
Oconee County 79,546 74,273 +7.10%
Greenwood County 70,811 69,661 +1.65%
Laurens County 67,493 66,537 +1.44%
Cherokee County 57,300 55,342 +3.54%
Union County 27,316 28,961 −5.68%
Abbeville County 24,527 25,417 −3.50%
Total 1,499,762 1,362,073 +10.11%

Metropolitan, Micropolitan, and Combined Statistical Areas[edit]

As of 2018, the Greenville–Spartanburg–Anderson CSA includes all counties in the Upstate except for Abbeville County. Within the CSA are a total of two Metropolitan Statistical Areas and four Micropolitan Statistical Areas.[3]

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

MSA County Population (2010)
Greenville–Anderson Greenville, Anderson, Pickens, Laurens 824,112
Spartanburg Spartanburg 340,000
Total: 1,108,419
μSA County Population (2010)
Seneca Oconee 74,273
Greenwood Greenwood 69,661
Gaffney Cherokee 55,342
Union Union 28,961
Total: 228,237


The following population rankings are based on the 2010 Census[4]

Primary cities[edit]

Greenville, Spartanburg, and Anderson.

The Office of Management and Budget labels all these cities as principal cities in their respective MSA's.[3]

Other communities with at least 20,000 residents[edit]

Cities: Greenwood, Greer, and Mauldin.

In the 2016 Census population estimate, the cities of Easley and Simpsonville have populations that exceed 20,000.

The OMB labelled Mauldin and Easley as principal cities from 2015 to 2018.

CDPs: Taylors, Wade Hampton

Communities with more than 10,000 residents[edit]

Cities: Clemson and Gaffney.

If students from Clemson University are included, Clemson has close to 30,000 residents.

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

Communities with fewer than 10,000 residents[edit]

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[edit]

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 25,822
Converse College Private Senior 1,938
Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine – Carolinas Private Professional 600
Erskine College Private Senior 750
Furman University Private Senior 2,660
Greenville Technical College Public Technical 14,338
Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary Private Professional
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.[citation needed] Also, they ranked Clemson University as the 67th best national university.[citation needed] According to the Bob Jones University, its Museum and Gallery constitutes the largest collection of religious art in the Western Hemisphere.[5]


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 Bank of America and the now-defunct Wachovia. 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[edit]

The following corporations have a major presence in the Upstate: Adidas, Advance America, Bank of America, BMW of North America, Bon Secours St. Francis Health System [1], Bosch North America, Denny's Restaurants, Dunlop Sport, Ernst & Young, Fluor Corporation, Freightliner LLC, GE Power Systems, Prisma Health [2], IBM, Kemet Corporation, Liberty Corporation, Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System, Michelin of North America, Microsoft, Milliken & Co., Spartanburg Regional Health System, Spectrum Communications, SunTrust, Ovation Brands, Perrigo Company of South Carolina, Techtronic Industries, Toronto-Dominion Bank, and Verizon.

• BMW's only North American manufacturing plant is located in Spartanburg County, with an investment of $3.7 billion. [3]

Fujifilm located their first manufacturing facility in the U.S. in Greenwood County. [4]

• 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 employs more than 7,800 in South Carolina. [5]

• Walgreens has their southeastern distribution center located in Anderson County, which employs mentally handicapped workers as nearly 40% of their workforce. [6]


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[edit]


  1. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014 – United States -- Combined Statistical Area; and for Puerto Rico". US Census Bureau. Archived from the original on February 14, 2020. Retrieved January 7, 2016.
  2. ^ Hollis, Daniel Walker, University of South Carolina, Volume I, South Carolina College, 1951, Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, p 342
  3. ^ a b c "OMB Bulletin No. 20-01, Revised Delineations of Metropolitan Statistical Areas, Micropolitan Statistical Areas, and Combined Statistical Areas, and Guidance on Uses of Delineations of These Areas" (PDF). United States Office of Management and Budget. March 6, 2020. Retrieved April 25, 2020.
  4. ^ See for population numbers and for municipality and CDP lists.
  5. ^ M & G at Bob Jones University

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 34°43′N 82°11′W / 34.717°N 82.183°W / 34.717; -82.183