EZ Home Search Guide to Living in Greenwood County, SC
EZ Home Search Guide to Living in Greenwood County, SC
Are you looking for a friendly, small-town setting but prefer a more progressive culture? Check out Greenwood County, South Carolina. Known as a small town with a big personality, Greenwood is part of South Carolina's Upstate area. The county offers excellent schools, cultural opportunities, a growing economy, and more for its citizens.
Discover what it's like to live in Greenwood County.
About Greenwood County
Tucked into the lower region of the Piedmont or Upstate area, Greenwood is surrounded by Laurens, Abbeville, McCormick, Saluda, and Newberry counties. It offers a mild and seasonable climate with an average temperature of 68 degrees. The winter sees very little precipitation and snow, allowing residents to enjoy outdoor activities all year round.
Lake Greenwood is a significant tourism attractor. The expansive lake and parts of the Saluda River make up the entire northeastern border.
Greenwood County is in the area known as the Lakelands region because there are five different lakes within a 30-to 40-minute drive of Lake Greenwood. These lakes are resources for fishing, boating, and water recreation.
Sumter National Forest makes up most of the southern portion of the county. Some small towns dot the national forest area.
Greenwood County History
The Native American inhabitants of Greenwood County included the Catawba, Creek, and Cherokee peoples. They took advantage of the Piedmont region's abundant resources and wildlife.
Early European settlers included traders and cattle drivers. Scots-Irish farmers immigrated from Pennsylvania. An early plantation was established on Cherokee Pass at a place called Ninety Six, established in 1769 as the judicial center for the backcountry. A backstory claims the town's name came from the estimated distance to Keowee, a Cherokee town.
During the American Revolution, British forces built a star fort at Ninety Six, which was held under siege by Major General Nathanael Greene. The British abandoned and burned the fort in the summer of 1781, but the town was reborn in 1786.
The county seat of Greenwood grew up around a log house built in 1823 by lawyer John McGeehee. The construction of the railroad in 1850 shifted the village center as businesses clustered around the railroad depot. By 1900, the town served as an agricultural market and transportation hub, thanks to the five railroad lines running through the area.
Textile production was important to the area. Greenwood was part of the cotton-growing region and had numerous cotton mills generating the crop into products. The region's fields were also ideal for producing tobacco and for cattle.
The Great Depression severely impacted Greenwood County. Local textile mills struggled to survive, as did farmers who were hit twice as hard from declining land values. The largest New Deal project in the area was the construction of Buzzard's Roost Dam on the Saluda River, which created Lake Greenwood and generated hydroelectricity.
Manufacturing increased in Greenwood County starting in the 1950s. Major corporations like FujiFilm, Monsanto, Velux, and Park Seed Company have set up shop in the area.
Greenwood County Cities and Areas
The county seat of Greenwood County is Greenwood, the town that gave the county its name. Greenwood has a population of over 23,000 residents and is home to Lander University. It benefits from a central location.
Ninety Six is a historic town nine miles east of Greenwood. It has some notable Revolutionary War sites and is an integral part of the South Carolina Heritage corridor. Surrounding the town are amenities like golf courses, parks, and other outdoor recreational opportunities.
Ware Shoals is a small town in the northern corner of the county along the banks of the Saluda River.
A significant feature of Greenwood county is Lake Greenwood and its 212 miles of shoreline. Lake Greenwood and the Saluda River create the northeastern border. The lake is a popular fishing and vacation home destination.
Greenwood County Job Market
Greenwood County is a manufacturing hub that has seen investment from International companies over the last few decades. The county ranked as one of the top 10 in the state for capital investments during 2014.
The top employing industries are health care, retail trade, accommodation and food service, and education services.
Greenwood's top employers based on their size include, but are not limited to, Ascend Performance Materials, Capsugel Manufacturing, Colgate-Palmolive Company, Eaton Corporation, Fujifilm Manufacturing, Greenwood Mills, Lander University, Velux Greenwood, and Wesley Commons.
The 2020 unemployment rate in Greenwood was 6.4%, a figure on par with the state and below the United States average. A decade ago, the unemployment rate was 12%, but this declined to its lowest point In 2019 before the pandemic, 3.0%.
Greenwood County's unemployment rate as of June 2021 was 5.1%; again, near the state's rate and under the United States average.
A Greenwood County Community profile projected that the job market would increase by 6.7% from 2016 to 2026. The industries with the most anticipated growth were:
- Transportation and warehousing.
- Administrative and support roles.
- Real estate and leasing.
- Enterprise management.
Greenwood County Real Estate Market
Greenwood County real estate offers a selection of small-town living and rural estates.
The most recent market data from July 2021 shows that the Greenwood region has been experiencing increased median sale prices. Year-over-year, the median sales price was up 21.3% to $190,560. However, inventory declined 36.4%. The month's supply for single-family homes was 1.6 months.
Constrained inventory played a role on the days on the market, which was down 15.6% for single-family homes. The median home was on the market for 73 days.
When it comes to state property taxes, Greenwood County on average collects 0.69% of a property's assessed fair market value. The median property tax for Greenwood County was $815 per year for a home worth a median value of $117,300.
Greenwood County Population
The latest data about Greenwood County puts its residential population at 69,351 as of April 2020, a 0.005% loss from the last census in 2010. Looking historically, the number of people living in the area has usually slowly grown since the 1970s. The population by 2030 is anticipated to be 79,750.
Demographically, the age bracket with the most number of residents was the 20 to 24-year-old group. According to the US Census Bureau, the average age of a Greenwood County resident was 39.5 years old.
Around 64% of residents identified as white while 31% identified as black. As of 2020, around 22% of the county residents had a bachelor's degree or higher. Another 28% had some college education.
Greenwood County Education
The Greenwood School District 50 is the largest of the three school districts operating inside Greenwood County. It runs 16 public schools for just over 9,000 students: eight Elementary schools, three middle schools, two high schools, one alternative center, and one technology center.
Greenwood County School District 52 operates in the Ninety Six area of the county. It runs four schools, one primary, elementary, middle, and high school each.
Ware Shoals School District 51 is shared across the county border in the northern reaches of Greenwood County. It runs four schools, one primary, elementary, middle, and high school each.
Greenwood County residents have seven private schools to choose from. Two of the top-ranked private schools are Greenwood Christian School and Hopewood Academy.
Higher education is available at Lander University, a public university located in Greenwood. It is the state's second-smallest publicly-funded undergraduate Institution. Around 3,500 students have 80 areas of study to choose from.
Another option is the Piedmont Technical College which runs its main campus in Greenwood. The college serves the seven counties of the Lakelands region. Students can pursue a technical certificate or a two-year associate's degree.
Greenwood County Health Care
Greenwood County residents have two large-scale medical providers. The first is the Self Regional Healthcare, a major referral and medical center for the Lakelands region. It has a 322-bed facility. Specialized services include cardiac care, pediatrics, sleep disorders, ambulatory care, cancer care, neurology, and vascular care.
Another option is the Greenwood Regional Rehabilitation Hospital, which specializes in rehabilitative services for patients recovering from disabilities caused by injuries, illnesses, or chronic medical conditions.
Greenwood County Things To Do
Greenwood County is a place abundant with outdoor recreation opportunities. The leading recreational attraction is Lake Greenwood. It offers 11,400 water acres for recreation opportunities and is renowned for its bass and crappie fishing.
Lake Greenwood State Park has a fishing pier, two boat ramps, paste campsites, a conference center, and a nature trail. The park hosts the South Carolina Festival of Flowers Triathlon each June.
Residents who enjoy golf have several courses in the area to test their skills. The most prominent is the Greenwood Country Club, one of the country's oldest private golf clubs and the only private country club in Greenwood. It provides a world-class full-service golf experience. It has an 18-hole course and a state-of-the-art tennis facility.
One big attraction is the South Carolina Festival of Flowers, which has been recognized as one of the Top 20 Events by the Southeast Tourism Society. Held each June across Greenwood County, it has 20 events for the family and the avid gardener. The signature Safari Topiary Display is the premier attraction. Fujifilm Manufacturing also holds the photography competition.
Other festivals are hosted in Greenwood County, such as the Festival of Discovery, a weekend of food, music, and amusement rides, the Festival of Stars, which caps with a major fireworks display, and the Catfish Festival in Ware Shoals.
Greenwood County, particularly Greenwood, is home to some more modern recreational options such as Skate Away USA, which has a skating rink and a Laser Tag Facility.
Greenwood County has stops along the South Carolina Heritage Trail. In particular, the town of Ninety-Six has an important American Revolution site. Other historical attractions are surrounding Ninety Six, such as the Ninety-Six Presbyterian Church founded in 1774.
Greenwood County Local Attractions
The Ninety Six National Historic Site is the location of one of the first Revolutionary War battles. The star fort survived a 28-day siege in 1781, which is reenacted each April. Every October, there is a Candlelight Tour of the park.
Greenwood County has several cultural institutions. The main museum is the Greenwood Museum and Railroad Historical Center, which documents the county's history. The facilities serve as a community center and have been a leading South Carolina tourist attraction in its category. The exhibits include six restored train cars.
Another culturally significant historic site is the Benjamin Mays Historic Site. Dr. Benjamin E. Mays was an influential civil rights leader. His childhood home has been preserved and furnished with period furniture. It displays information about Dr. Mays' life. The building is on the site of the Burns Spring African-American School.
The Arts Center is 25,000 square feet of usable space that serves as a visitor center, classrooms, artist studios, and a professional art gallery.
Agritourism is another thing to do in the Greenwood County area. Emerald Farm is a goat farm with a goat milk soap farm store and activities for the whole family. It offers group tours of the facilities.
Greenwood County Dining
The dining scene is predominantly chain restaurants and locally-owned venues. Some have been in operation for years and are favorites of residents. Much of the cuisine is American or Southern-style cooking. Here's a sampling of what you can find to eat in Greenwood County:
- Polo's Restaurant in Greenwood offers a casual dining experience serving the freshest ingredients
- Pascal's Cafe is a bistro-style restaurant serving a blend of French and American Cuisine with Southern Charm
- R Place Grill and Spirits provides classic American Pub food
- Amish Oven offers homestyle cooking and comfort food
Greenwood County Shopping
Shopping is available at several shopping malls in areas throughout the county. The Greenwood Mall is a destination with name-brand retailers such as Belk, TJ Maxx, Rue21, and Hibbett Sports.
Downtown Greenwood is a Main Street America area with businesses, retail, and dining options. Here you will find local vendors and unique shops. The Uptown also hosts festivals and markets throughout the year. Enjoy live music and a street fair on different Saturdays. The Uptown Market is a place for locally grown produce and other food products. It operates once or twice a week, depending on the time of year. It also runs a special Christmas Market in November and December.
Living in Greenwood County
Greenwood County has a lot to offer its residents. Families take advantage of quality education and a small public undergraduate University. There's a strong job market here, and the cost of living is not outrageous. Numerous small towns throughout the area offer the classic American lifestyle, where the neighbors still know each other's names. Spend weekends enjoying the parks and recreational opportunities, enjoying a community festival, or connecting with your family. Explore Greenwood County real estate to find the right lifestyle for you.