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South Carolina Counties

South Carolina is made up of fourty-six counties. They range in size from 392 square miles (1,016 square kilometers) in the case of Calhoun County to 1,358 square miles (3,517 square kilometers) in the case of Charleston County. The least populous county is McCormick County, with only 9,958 residents, while the most populous county is Greenville County, with a population of 395,357, despite the state's most populous city, Columbia, being located in Richland County.

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South Carolina Counties: History and Information

Find a brief history of South Carolina CountiesBrief history of South Carolina Counties: Flags of Our Nation

South Carolina currently has forty-six counties. Counties were established in the colonial period primarily for locating land grants, with most other governmental activities being centralized in Charleston. The growth of the backcountry led to the establishment of judicial districts throughout the colony, but low country areas continued to be identified primarily by their Anglican parish names. Following the Revolution, both district and county courts were established, but in 1800 most of the counties became districts. Finally, in 1868 all of the existing districts were renamed counties. New counties continued to be formed until the early part of the 20th century, with the most recent being Allendale in 1919. For maps and information on early counties and districts, see Maps Tracing the Formation of Counties in South Carolina.

For most of the state's history, county officers had very little power or authority. Counties were essentially governed by their state legislative delegations. This system ended in 1975 when the Home Rule Act was passed. Each county now has a choice of one of four types of government. In the council form of government all executive and legislative power rests in the elected county council, while the council-supervisor form provides for an elected council and an elected supervisor with specified powers and duties. In both the council-administrator and council-manager forms the administrator or manager is appointed by the council.

Find a brief history of South Carolina Counties
County 2000
County Seat Created
Abbeville County 26,167 508 Abbeville 1785
Aiken County 142,552 1,073 Aiken 1871
Allendale County 11,211 408 Allendale 1919
Anderson County 165,740 718 Anderson 1826
Bamberg County 16,658 393 Bamberg 1897
Barnwell County 23,478 548 Barnwell 1798
Beaufort County 120,937 587 Beaufort 1764
Berkeley County 142,651 1,100 Moncks Corner 1882
Calhoun County 15,185 380 Saint Matthews 1908
Charleston County 309,969 917 Charleston 1769
Cherokee County 52,537 393 Gaffney 1897
Chester County 34,068 581 Chester 1785
Chesterfield County 42,768 799 Chesterfield 1798
Clarendon County 32,502 607 Manning 1855
Colleton County 38,264 1,056 Walterboro 1798
Darlington County 67,394 562 Darlington 1785
Dillon County 30,722 405 Dillon 1910
Dorchester County 96,413 575 Saint George 1868
Edgefield County 24,595 502 Edgefield 1785
Fairfield County 23,454 687 Winnsboro 1785
Florence County 125,761 799 Florence 1888
Georgetown County 55,797 815 Georgetown 1769
Greenville County 379,616 792 Greenville 1798
Greenwood County 66,271 456 Greenwood 1897
Hampton County 21,386 560 Hampton 1787
Horry County 196,629 1,134 Conway 1802
Jasper County 20,678 654 Ridgeland 1912
Kershaw County 52,647 726 Camden 1798
Lancaster County 61,351 549 Lancaster 1798
Laurens County 69,567 713 Laurens 1785
Lee County 20,119 410 Bishopville 1902
Lexington County 216,014 701 Lexington 1804
Marion County 35,466 489 Marion 1800
Marlboro County 28,818 480 Bennettsville 1798
McCormick County 9,958 360 McCormick 1914
Newberry County 36,108 631 Newberry 1785
Oconee County 66,215 625 Walhalla 1868
Orangeburg County 91,582 1,106 Orangeburg 1769
Pickens County 110,757 497 Pickens 1826
Richland County 320,677 756 Columbia 1799
Saluda County 19,181 451 Saluda 1896
Spartanburg County 253,791 811 Spartanburg 1785
Sumter County 104,646 666 Sumter 1798
Union County 29,881 514 Union 1798
Williamsburg County 37,217 934 Kingstree 1802
York County 164,614 682 York 1798

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