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New homes and subdivisions are popping up across Aiken County. This development is in Graniteville, generally west of Aiken.

South Carolina, Aiken County and the City of Aiken all grew over the past decade, estimate data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows, a trend in line with the South's recent boom.

The Palmetto State is now home to nearly 5.15 million people, an increase of about 523,000 – 11.3% – since April 2010. The state ranks 23rd in terms of population, but scored eighth in terms of growth between July 2018 and July 2019. Roughly 64,500 people moved to South Carolina in that time frame.

Neighboring Georgia, North Carolina and Tennessee also made the top 10 list in terms of sheer growth.

Aiken County, roughly the size of Rhode Island and home to just shy of 170,000 people, grew almost 6% in population between 2010 and 2019. The City of Aiken, similarly, grew 4%.

Almost 31,000 people live in the city now, according to the bureau's rough numbers. While that's still more than North Augusta, that nearby city's population grew almost 11% over the course of the decade.

"Even though the City of Aiken is growing, it is really lagging behind other communities," said Greater Aiken Chamber of Commerce President and CEO J. David Jameson. He continued: "The Valley is really surging in growth because it has affordable housing. It has a good location for people who work across the region."

The South – the bureau's most expansive region, comprising more than a dozen states and three so-called divisions – welcomed a little more than 1 million new residents between 2018 and 2019. More births than deaths and migration within the U.S. accounted for the spike.

Over the past decade, according to the Census Bureau, roughly 11 million people turned south and planted roots in one of the 17 Southern states. That's just shy of 10% population growth, far exceeding the Northeast and the Midwest.

The Northeast, the bureau's smallest region, recently saw a population decrease, the first time in a decade. New York and New Jersey, for example, each lost thousands of residents between 2018 and 2019.

Population Estimates, Census Bureau

The South Carolina swell, though, is not necessarily a new phenomenon: In 2015, 2016 and 2017, states to the south and to the west dominated growth trends. Between 2016 and 2017, the Palmetto State gained about 64,500 new residents, and between 2014 and 2015, almost 67,000 people moved into the state, according to the Census Bureau.

Will Williams, the president and CEO of the Economic Development Partnership, a business-minded nonprofit, credited South Carolina's favorable tax environment, proximity to amenities like beaches, mountains and cities, and job availability.

Roughly 40% of the nation's population now lives in the South.

Colin Demarest covers the Savannah River Site, the U.S. Department of Energy, the National Nuclear Security Administration and government in general. Follow him on Twitter: @demarest_colin