According to one set of online number crunchers, Lake Wylie tops the state in combined economic and population growth.
NerdWallet, a group that creates data tools for investment uses, put out its “cities on the rise” list Aug. 8 ranking 91 South Carolina communities with 5,000 or more residents. Lake Wylie came in at No. 1, followed by Tega Cay at No. 2 and Fort Mill at No. 20.
Other area municipalities on the list include Clover (23), Rock Hill (47) and York (73).
Rankings look at growth of the working age population, percentage of employed residents and median income from 2009 to 2012.
Lake Wylie’s score of 80.71 is as far ahead of Tega Cay’s second place score of 57.79 as Tega Cay is to Newberry‘s score of 35 at No. 39.
Charles Wood, chairman of the Lake Wylie Chamber of Commerce, liked the recent ranking. But it didn’t shock him.
“I’m not surprised,” Wood said.
The 2010 census showed tremendous growth in Lake Wylie, Wood said. Since 2010, numerous home and apartment developments have been announced along S.C. 274 and in the past year, the number of restaurants in Lake Wylie nearly doubled.
“Things are really booming,” Wood said. “It’s great to see our area recognized for being the community it is.”
NerdWallet paints an overall positive picture of South Carolina communities, hit hard by recession but recovering because of low taxes, increasing industry and an influx of residents.
“South Carolina is getting younger and wealthier,” states the nerdwallet.com post. “While employment growth was moderate for many of our top cities, the growth of median income and working-age populations were often in the high double digits.”
Locally, leaders say the rankings reflect what many residents already know.
“We’re always pleased to receive this kind of recognition,” said Danny Funderburk, mayor of Fort Mill. “It validates what we already know to be fact, that Fort Mill is blessed as a very special place.”
The Fort Mill designation only includes activity in the municipality, which doesn’t account for residential growth that hasn’t been annexed into the cityor business activity in places like Baxter.
Charlie Funderburk, city manager in Tega Cay, believes his city’s spot “only further validates what I, and so many of our residents, have known for years. Tega Cay is great place to call home for your family and your business,” he said.
Recent investments like Toast Cafe and 521 BBQ, then Wellmore coming next spring and 135 new homes in the city this year, Funderburk said “it’s nice to see those outside of Tega Cay taking notice of the wonderful things this city has to offer.”
That’s a sentiment shared in Lake Wylie, too.
“People are finding out what we have known for a long time, that Lake Wylie is a growing and happening community,” Wood said.