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Upstate South Carolina

Coordinates: 34°43′N 82°11′W / 34.717°N 82.183°W / 34.717; -82.183
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Metropolitan Area
Greenville–Spartanburg–Anderson, SC
Combined Statistical Area
Map of Greenville–Spartanburg–Anderson, SC CSA
Country United States
State South Carolina
Principal cities
 • Total6,168 sq mi (15,980 km2)
 • Land6,008 sq mi (15,560 km2)
 • Water141 sq mi (370 km2)  2.2%
 • CSA
1,487,610[1] (39th)
Time zoneUTC−5 (EST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−4 (EDT)
Area code(s)864 and 821

The Upstate, historically known as the Upcountry,[2] is a region of the U.S. state of South Carolina, comprising the northwesternmost area of the state. Although loosely defined among locals, the general definition includes the 10 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 (OMB) in 2015. In 2023, the OMB issued its most updated definition of the CSA that coincides again with the 10-county region.[3]

The region's population was 1,487,610 as of 2020. Situated between Atlanta and Charlotte, the Upstate is the geographical center of the Charlanta megaregion. 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; it has a population of 72,227 and an urban-area population of 387,271, 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 2021 Estimate 2020 Census Change
Greenville County 533,834 525,534 +1.58%
Spartanburg County 335,864 327,997 +2.40%
Anderson County 206,908 203,718 +1.57%
Pickens County 132,229 131,404 +0.63%
Oconee County 79,203 78,607 +0.76%
Greenwood County 69,241 69,351 −0.16%
Laurens County 67,803 67,539 +0.39%
Cherokee County 56,052 56,216 −0.29%
Union County 27,016 27,244 −0.84%
Abbeville County 24,299 24,295 +0.02%
Total 1,532,449 1,511,905 +1.36%

Metropolitan, micropolitan, and combined statistical areas[edit]

As of 2023, the Greenville–Spartanburg–Anderson CSA includes all ten counties in the Upstate. Within the CSA are a total of two metropolitan statistical areas and three micropolitan statistical areas.[3]

As of the 2020 Census, the Greenville–Spartanburg–Anderson CSA had a population of 1,511,105.

MSA County Population (2020)[4]
Greenville–Anderson Greenville, Anderson, Pickens, Laurens 928,195
Spartanburg Spartanburg, Union 355,241
Total: 1,283,436
μSA County Population (2020)[5]
Seneca Oconee 78,607
Greenwood Greenwood, Abbeville 93,646
Gaffney Cherokee 56,216
Total: 228,469


The following population rankings are based on the 2010 Census.[6]

Primary cities[edit]

Greenville, Spartanburg, Anderson, Greer, Mauldin, and Greenwood,

The OMB labels all these cities as principal cities in their respective MSAs and μSA.[3]

Other communities with more than 20,000 residents[edit]

Cities: Easley, Simpsonville

CDPs: Taylors, Wade Hampton

Communities with more than 10,000 residents[edit]

Cities: Clemson, Gaffney, and Fountain Inn, South Carolina.

Gaffney is a principal city in its μSA. If students from Clemson University are included, Clemson has close to 30,000 residents.

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

Communities with fewer than 10,000 residents[edit]

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



Seneca is a principal city in its μSA. 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 Senior 1,025
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.[7]


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 has set up regional operations alongside smaller recently developed local companies such as IRIX Manufacturing and Pharmaceutical Associates. The Upstate is also home to a large number 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 Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research, a research park that specializes in the development of automotive technology.

Corporations based in or with a major presence in the Upstate[edit]

These corporations have a major presence in the Upstate: Adidas, Advance America, Bank of America, BMW of North America, Bon Secours St. Francis Health System Bon Secours | Bringing Health Care and Good Help to Those in Need, Bosch North America, Denny's Restaurants, Dunlop Sport, Ernst & Young, Fluor Corporation, Freightliner, GE Power Systems, Prisma Health [1], IBM, Kemet Corporation, Liberty Corporation, Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System, Michelin of North America, Microsoft, Milliken & Company, 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.[8]

Fujifilm located their first manufacturing facility in the U.S. in Greenwood County.[9]

• 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.[10]

• Walgreens has their southeastern distribution center located in Anderson County, which employs mentally disabled workers as nearly 40% of their workforce.[11]


View of the Upcountry on I-26 from Polk County, NC, a short distance from the state line.

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 three regional newspapers: The Greenville News, the (Spartanburg) Herald-Journal, and the Anderson Independent-Mail, each of which serves its individual city and surrounding area. The Post and Courier recently opened expansion newsrooms in Greenville and Spartanburg for coverage of the Upstate, including Clemson.

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

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Areas Population Totals: 2020-2022". Retrieved July 14, 2023.
  2. ^ Hollis, Daniel Walker, University of South Carolina, Volume I, South Carolina College, 1951. Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press, p. 342
  3. ^ a b c "OMB Bulletin No. 23-01, 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. July 21, 2023. Retrieved July 25, 2023.
  4. ^ "Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Areas Population Totals: 2020-2022". Retrieved July 14, 2023.
  5. ^ "Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Areas Population Totals: 2020-2022". Retrieved July 14, 2023.
  6. ^ See http://factfinder.census.gov for population numbers and for municipality and CDP lists.
  7. ^ "Home". Museum & Gallery. Retrieved April 23, 2023.
  8. ^ "Plant Spartanburg".
  9. ^ FUJIFILM Manufacturing U.S.A., Inc. "Fujifilm [United States]". fujifilm.com. Retrieved December 25, 2022.
  10. ^ "North America". Michelin. Retrieved April 23, 2023.
  11. ^ Tom Andel. (August 8, 2007). How disabled workers enable Walgreens distribution Modern Materials Handling Archived July 6, 2008, at the Wayback Machine

External links[edit]

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