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Orangeburg County, South Carolina facts for kids

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Orangeburg County
Historic Orangeburg County Jail
Historic Orangeburg County Jail
Map of South Carolina highlighting Orangeburg 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 1769
Named for William III of England aka "William of Orange"
Seat Orangeburg
Largest city Orangeburg
 • Total 1,128 sq mi (2,920 km2)
 • Land 1,106 sq mi (2,860 km2)
 • Water 22 sq mi (60 km2)  1.9%%
 • Total 92,501
 • Estimate 
 • Density 82.00/sq mi (31.662/km2)
Time zone UTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
Congressional districts 2nd, 6th

Orangeburg County is a county located in the U.S. state of South Carolina. As of the 2010 census, the population was 92,501. Its county seat is Orangeburg. The county was created in 1769.

Orangeburg County comprises the Orangeburg, SC Micropolitan Statistical Area, which is also included in the Columbia-Orangeburg-Newberry, SC Combined Statistical Area. It is located in the Midlands region of South Carolina.

It is the home of South Carolina State University, the only public four-year HBCU in the state of South Carolina. It is also home to Claflin University, the oldest historically black college or university (HBCU) in the state.


The district was occupied for thousands of years by succeeding cultures of indigenous peoples. By the time of European encounter, Siouan-speaking tribes, such as the Pee Dee, Cheraw and Catawba, inhabited the Piedmont area above the fall line.

The Orangeburg Judicial District was chartered by European Americans in 1769 from a mostly unorganized upland area between the Congaree and Savannah rivers. A county, initially of the same name but later called Orange, was organized within the district but deorganized in 1791, after the American Revolutionary War.

The southwest portion bordering on the Savannah River, about half of Orangeburg District, was separated and organized as Barnwell District in 1800. In 1804 the northern third of the district was separated to form the new Lexington District, which gained another, smaller portion of Orangeburg District in 1832.

During the nineteenth century, the districts and counties were developed chiefly as cotton plantations for short-staple cotton. This development followed the invention of the cotton gin in the late eighteenth century, which made the processing of short-staple cotton profitable. The county became a center of labor by black slaves on the plantations, who were transported from coastal areas and the Upper South to cultivate and process cotton. Those brought from the coastal areas were likely of the Gullah culture and language. The enslaved African Americans greatly outnumbered the white planters and non-slaveholding whites. Reflecting the patterns of nineteenth-century settlement, the area is still chiefly agricultural and majority-African American in population.

In 1868, under the revised state constitution during the Reconstruction era, South Carolina districts were organized as counties. Resident voters were enabled to elect their state representatives rather than having them chosen by the state legislature, as was done previously. Election of representatives by the state legislature had kept the districts dominated by the elite owners of major plantations in the Low Country and elsewhere. The changes in rules expanded participation in the franchise by more male residents. Emancipation of slaves after the war under newly ratified federal constitutional amendments resulted in freedmen voting. Using voter intimidation, white Democrats took control of the state legislature by the end of the century; they passed state electoral laws and a new constitution that essentially disfranchised most blacks, a situation that lasted until after the federal legislation of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

A small western portion of Orangeburg County was annexed in 1871 to the newly formed Aiken County during the Reconstruction era.

In 1908 the northern portion of the County along the Congaree River was separated and included in the newly formed Calhoun County, with its seat at Saint Matthews. In 1910 a small western portion of Berkeley County, around Holly Hill and Eutawville, was annexed to Orangeburg County, thus bringing the county to its present size.


Orangeburg courthouse 1274
First Baptist Church, downtown Orangeburg, SC

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,128 square miles (2,920 km2), of which 1,106 square miles (2,860 km2) is land and 22 square miles (57 km2) (1.9%) is water. It is the second-largest county in South Carolina by land area and fifth-largest by land area.

Region within the state

Orangeburg county is a fairly big county, covering 1,128 square miles, it is about 60 miles from the western part of the county to the eastern part of the county. Orangeburg county lies within 3 "regions" of South Carolina. The western part of the county lies in the "CSRA" (Central Savannah River Area). The middle part of Orangeburg county is included in the "Midlands" Region. The eastern and south eastern part of the county are located in the "Lowcountry" region of the state.

Adjacent counties


Historical population
Census Pop.
1790 18,513
1800 15,766 −14.8%
1810 13,229 −16.1%
1820 15,653 18.3%
1830 18,453 17.9%
1840 18,519 0.4%
1850 23,582 27.3%
1860 24,896 5.6%
1870 16,865 −32.3%
1880 41,395 145.4%
1890 49,393 19.3%
1900 59,663 20.8%
1910 55,893 −6.3%
1920 64,907 16.1%
1930 63,864 −1.6%
1940 63,707 −0.2%
1950 68,726 7.9%
1960 68,559 −0.2%
1970 69,789 1.8%
1980 82,276 17.9%
1990 84,803 3.1%
2000 91,582 8.0%
2010 92,501 1.0%
2020 (est.) 85,337 −7.7%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2013
Confed memorial 1272
Confederate memorial, Orangeburg, South Carolina

2010 census

At the 2010 census, there were 92,501 people, 35,788 households, and 23,580 families in the county. The population density was 83.6 inhabitants per square mile (32.3/km2). There were 42,504 housing units at an average density of 38.4 per square mile (14.8/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 62.2% black or African American, 34.3% white, 0.8% Asian, 0.5% American Indian, 0.9% from other races, and 1.2% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 1.9% of the population. In terms of ancestry, 7.7% were American, and 5.1% were German.

Of the 35,788 households, 32.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 38.1% were married couples living together, 22.5% had a female householder with no husband present, 34.1% were non-families, and 29.0% of households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.49 and the average family size was 3.06. The median age was 38.1 years.

The median household income was $32,849 and the median family income was $40,332. Males had a median income of $35,934 versus $28,508 for females. The per capita income for the county was $17,579. About 21.1% of families and 25.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 32.9% of those under age 18 and 19.1% of those age 65 or over.

2020 census

Orangeburg County racial composition
Race Num. Perc.
White (non-Hispanic) 27,787 32.99%
Black or African American (non-Hispanic) 50,802 60.32%
Native American 467 0.55%
Asian 892 1.06%
Pacific Islander 37 0.04%
Other/Mixed 2,271 2.7%
Hispanic or Latino 1,967 2.34%

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 84,223 people, 32,129 households, and 20,620 families residing in the county.

Native Americans

The Pee Dee tribes (such as the Beaver Creek Indians and the Pee Dee Indian Nation of Beaver Creek) traditionally occupied land between the two forks of the Edisto River in Orangeburg County, and especially along Beaver Creek, as did their ancestors for thousands of years before European encounter. Their original language family was Siouan. English colonial accounts from the 18th century acknowledge the Pee Dee peoples in this area.

Many Pee Dee tribe members still live in this area. In 1998 the tribe established its government as a non-profit organization, known as the Beaver Creek Indians. They achieved state recognition as a tribe on January 27, 2006, but are still working toward federal recognition. This has been more difficult for some of the older, landless tribes who became more assimilated during and after the colonial era. Today the Beaver Creek people speak English as their first language. They are a multi-racial people, having absorbed both European and African people into their culture over the centuries. Common family names within the tribe are: Chavis, Hutto, Williams, Barr, Bolin, Jackson, Huffman and Gleaton.



At least four railroad lines run through Orangeburg County; a former Southern Railway Line, and three CSX lines, the westernmost which was formerly a Seaboard Air Line Railroad line running along US 321.

Major highways

  • I-95
  • I-26
  • US 15
  • US 176
  • US 178
  • US 301
  • US 321
  • US 601
  • SC 3
  • SC 4
  • SC 6
  • SC 33
  • SC 39
  • SC 45
  • SC 47
  • SC 70
  • SC 172
  • SC 210
  • SC 267
  • SC 332
  • SC 389
  • SC 394
  • SC 400
  • SC 419
  • SC 453




Census-designated places


Orangeburg County is one of the largest agricultural producing counties in South Carolina, with fertile, slightly rolling land. Major crops are cotton, soybeans, corn, turf grass and watermelons.

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