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Aiken County, South Carolina facts for kids

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Aiken County
Aiken County Courthouse
Aiken County Courthouse
Official seal of Aiken County
Map of South Carolina highlighting Aiken County
Location within the U.S. state of South Carolina
Map of the United States highlighting South Carolina
South Carolina's location within the U.S.
Country  United States
State  South Carolina
Founded 1871
Named for William Aiken
Seat Aiken
Largest city Aiken
 • Total 1,081 sq mi (2,800 km2)
 • Land 1,071 sq mi (2,770 km2)
 • Water 9.6 sq mi (25 km2)  0.9%
 • Total 160,099
 • Estimate 
 • Density 148.10/sq mi (57.183/km2)
Time zone UTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
Congressional district 2nd

Aiken County is a county in the U.S. state of South Carolina. As of the 2010 U.S. Census, its population was 160,099. Its county seat and largest city is Aiken. Aiken County is a part of the Augusta-Richmond County, GA-SC Metropolitan Statistical Area. It is mostly in the Sandhills region, with the northern parts reaching in the Piedmont and southern parts reaching into the Coastal Plain.


Both Aiken County and its county seat of Aiken are named after William Aiken (1779–1831), who was the first president of the South Carolina Railroad Company. Aiken County was organized during the Reconstruction era in 1871 from portions of Barnwell, Edgefield, Lexington, and Orangeburg counties.

Prince Rivers, a freedman and state legislator from Edgefield County, had been a leader in the United States Colored Troops. He was named to head the commission that drew the new county's boundary lines. He was dubbed "The Black Prince" by local newspapers, including the Edgefield Advertiser. He also led the commission that selected the site of Aiken County's present-day courthouse. Other freedmen who were part of the founding of the county were Samuel J. Lee, speaker of the state House and the first black man admitted to the South Carolina Bar; and Charles D. Hayne, a free man of color from one of Charleston's elite families.

Political tensions kept rising in South Carolina during the 1870s, especially around elections. In the months prior to the 1876 elections, Aiken County was one of the areas to suffer white paramilitary Red Shirts attacks and violence directed against black Republicans to suppress the black vote. Between the Hamburg Massacre in July and several days of rioting in September in Ellenton, more than 100 black men were killed by white paramilitary groups in this county. Two white men died in the violence.

In the late 19th century, the county became a popular destination as a winter refuge for affluent Northerners, who built luxury housing. The county remains popular with horse trainers and professional riders because mild winters allow lengthy training seasons.

In the 1950s, Aiken County, along with the nearby counties of Allendale and Barnwell was chosen as the location for storage of nuclear materials and various fissile materials, now known as the Savannah River Site. Ellenton, South Carolina was acquired and its buildings demolished for its development for this plant. Its residents and businesses were all moved north about eight miles to New Ellenton. Developed during Cold War tensions, the facility is now scheduled for decommissioning of various parts of the site.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,081 square miles (2,800 km2), of which 1,071 square miles (2,770 km2) is land and 9.6 square miles (25 km2) (0.9%) is water. It is the fourth-largest county in South Carolina by land area.

Adjacent counties

Major highways

  • I-20 (SC).svg I-20
  • I-520 (SC).svg I-520
  • US 1.svg U.S. 1
  • US 25.svg US 25
  • US 78.svg US 78
  • US 278.svg US 278


Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 28,112
1890 31,822 13.2%
1900 39,032 22.7%
1910 41,849 7.2%
1920 45,574 8.9%
1930 47,403 4.0%
1940 49,916 5.3%
1950 53,137 6.5%
1960 81,038 52.5%
1970 91,023 12.3%
1980 105,625 16.0%
1990 120,940 14.5%
2000 142,552 17.9%
2010 160,099 12.3%
2020 (est.) 172,295 7.6%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2013

2010 census

As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 160,099 people, 64,253 households, and 43,931 families living in the county. The population density was 149.5 inhabitants per square mile (57.7/km2). There were 72,249 housing units at an average density of 67.5 per square mile (26.1/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 69.6% white, 24.6% black or African American, 0.8% Asian, 0.4% American Indian, 2.6% from other races, and 1.9% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 4.9% of the population. In terms of ancestry, 20.6% were American, 10.0% were English, 9.9% were German, and 8.6% were Irish.

Of the 64,253 households, 31.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.3% were married couples living together, 14.4% had a female householder with no husband present, 31.6% were non-families, and 26.9% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.45 and the average family size was 2.96. The median age was 40.0 years.

The median income for a household in the county was $44,468 and the median income for a family was $57,064. Males had a median income of $44,436 versus $33,207 for females. The per capita income for the county was $24,172. About 13.4% of families and 16.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 23.7% of those under age 18 and 13.3% of those age 65 or over.

The following is from the 2010 Census Total Population : 160,099 (100.00%)

Population by Race American Indian and Alaska native alone 682 (0.43%) Asian alone 1,329 (0.83%) Black or African American alone 39,354 (24.58%) Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific native alone 61 (0.04%) Some other race alone 4,126 (2.58%) Two or more races 3,090 (1.93%) White alone 111,457 (69.62%)

Population by Hispanic or Latino Origin (of any race) Persons Not of Hispanic or Latino Origin 152,275 (95.11%) Persons of Hispanic or Latino Origin 7,824 (4.89%)

Population by Gender Female 82,549 (51.56%) Male 77,550 (48.44%)

Population by Age Persons 0 to 4 years 10,046 (6.27%) Persons 5 to 17 years 26,782 (16.73%) Persons 18 to 64 years (98,652) 61.62% Persons 65 years and over 24,619 (15.38%)

2020 census

Aiken County racial composition
Race Num. Perc.
White (non-Hispanic) 107,918 63.93%
Black or African American (non-Hispanic) 39,465 23.38%
Native American 530 0.31%
Asian 1,773 1.05%
Pacific Islander 96 0.06%
Other/Mixed 7,500 4.44%
Hispanic or Latino 11,526 6.83%

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 168,808 people, 67,889 households, and 43,932 families residing in the county.




Census-designated places

Unincorporated communities

Historic places

Aiken County Courthouse
  • Aiken Tennis Club
  • Hamburg
  • Whitehall
  • Palmetto Golf Club
  • Whitney Field, Polo, Oldest in United States


Aiken County Public School District

Aiken Technical College

University of South Carolina Aiken

See also

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