Justin Thomas Williams, 26, left the family farm in Wagener in 2002 to attend USC.
Nine years later, Williams is still in Columbia with a wife, a house and a job in the 5th Circuit Solicitors office. Not to mention a large church to attend, networking events where he makes friends with other young professionals and endless entertainment options.
I love my hometown for what it gave me, Williams said. I grew up on a farm. People know my family.
But theres no Prince concerts in Wagener. There are no malls in Wagener, and the one that is 20 miles away is smaller than Richland Fashion Mall.
In South Carolina, Williams is just one of thousands of people who fled small, rural areas during the past decade to find jobs and other opportunities in urban areas. Growth during the past 10 years centered along the S.C. coast, the counties that serve as Charlotte suburbs and the Midlands, according to 2010 census data released Wednesday.