South Charlotte

Rock Hill 4th-largest S.C. city

Rock Hill has regained bragging rights over Mount Pleasant.

Census estimates released Thursday show Rock Hill nudged the coastal town from its perch as the state's fourth-largest municipality last year. Mount Pleasant had held that spot since 2004.

“We thought we already were larger,” Rock Hill City Manager Carey Smith joked. “We've never recognized Mount Pleasant's claim to being fourth largest.”

The census' 2007 estimates show Rock Hill with a population of 64,858 and Mount Pleasant with 64,707, a difference of 151.

“That's close, isn't it,” said Mount Pleasant town administrator Mac Burdette. “We'll have to put out some signs in Mount Pleasant that say, ‘Have more babies. Rock Hill has more people than us.'”

The towns have been locked in a friendly battle of demographics for years.

From 2000 to 2002, Rock Hill was the state's fifth-largest city while Mount Pleasant dawdled at sixth. In 2003, Rock Hill hopped to fourth and Greenville snatched fifth, leaving Mount Pleasant in sixth.

But in 2004, Mount Pleasant vaulted over both to take fourth.

In terms of pure growth, though, Mount Pleasant has dominated.

Since 1990, the town's population has more than doubled – growing about 115 percent. Rock Hill's population grew about 56 percent over that time.

In 2000, Mount Pleasant started limiting residential building permits to curb the rush of newcomers and ease the burden on the town's infrastructure.

That move calmed the town's annual growth rate to 4 percent from 9 percent, Burdette said. After last year's national housing market collapse, growth has tapered off at about 2 percent, he said.

But Mount Pleasant's not bitter.

“I tip my hat to Rock Hill,” Burdette said. “I hope they reach 150,000.”

Rock Hill has regained bragging rights over Mount Pleasant.

Census estimates released Thursday show Rock Hill nudged the coastal town from its perch as the state's fourth-largest municipality last year. Mount Pleasant had held that spot since 2004.

“We thought we already were larger,” Rock Hill City Manager Carey Smith joked. “We've never recognized Mount Pleasant's claim to being fourth largest.”

The census' 2007 estimates show Rock Hill with a population of 64,858 and Mount Pleasant with 64,707, a difference of 151.

“That's close, isn't it,” said Mount Pleasant town administrator Mac Burdette. “We'll have to put out some signs in Mount Pleasant that say, ‘Have more babies. Rock Hill has more people than us.'”

The towns have been locked in a friendly battle of demographics for years.

From 2000 to 2002, Rock Hill was the state's fifth-largest city while Mount Pleasant dawdled at sixth. In 2003, Rock Hill hopped to fourth and Greenville snatched fifth, leaving Mount Pleasant in sixth.

But in 2004, Mount Pleasant vaulted over both to take fourth.

In terms of pure growth, though, Mount Pleasant has dominated.

Since 1990, the town's population has more than doubled – growing about 115 percent. Rock Hill's population grew about 56 percent over that time.

In 2000, Mount Pleasant started limiting residential building permits to curb the rush of newcomers and ease the burden on the town's infrastructure.

That move calmed the town's annual growth rate to 4 percent from 9 percent, Burdette said. After last year's national housing market collapse, growth has tapered off at about 2 percent, he said.

But Mount Pleasant's not bitter.

“I tip my hat to Rock Hill,” Burdette said. “I hope they reach 150,000.”

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