June, 30th 2014
AIKEN COUNTY, S.C. (WRDW) -- A new study commissioned by the Aiken Edgefield Economic Partnership and the Greater Aiken Chamber of Commerce is bringing to light concerns about population trends in Aiken County.
The study, completed over a six month period by two USC Aiken economists, points out a slow growth rate for the county. From 2012-2013 Aiken county’s population grew by 0.84 percent, which experts say is much less than needed.
"You need some growth,” Will Williams of the Aiken Economic Partnership said. ”If you're in the 1 percent or less it shows that you aren't growing as you should.”
The study compares the growth rate to that of Columbia County in Georgia; they grew by 2.93 percent during the same period. In the study, experts cite the rising percentage of retirees in the county and the decrease of people aged 25-45.
“We need younger blood in,” Williams said. “It'll help housing values, it'll help per capita income and manageable growth is a good thing.”
With the option of a penny sales tax still waiting to be approved by state legislators, experts believe that it could be the best option to improve livability for a younger generation.
“In my opinion we need new schools in Aiken county,” Williams said. “I think if we had that we would have some manageable growth.”