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South Charleston, West Virginia

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Census Data for South Charleston ...

Population ...

The most recent Census Estimate<1> was for 2017 and it gives South Charleston a population of 12,493 people.

The last Decennial Census<2> was in 2010, giving South Charleston a population of 13,450 people.

The city of South Charleston is located in Kanawha County. The 2010 Census gave Kanawha County a population of 193,063 people. This means that South Charleston had 6.97% of the county's total population, making it Kanawha's 2nd most populous community.

At the same time, West Virginia had a population of 1,852,994 people, meaning that South Charleston had 0.73% of the total population of West Virginia - making it the state's 11th most populous community.

Area ...

When the Census Bureau conducts a census for a city like South Charleston, they draw a boundary around the area in which they are going to conduct their count - this is called a sampling area (or a polygon). The shape of the sampling area can be quite complex and it's important to keep in mind that the boundaries of the sampling area may or may not match the recognized boundaries of the city.

Things like the population, area and housing for South Charleston reflect the sampling area. Since the shape of the sampling area and the actual boundaries of South Charleston might be slightly different, it's best to check with the U.S. Census Bureau if you need precision.

The 2010 Census shows that the sample polygon for South Charleston has a total area of 8.51 square miles [22.1 km²]. Of this total, 7.61 square miles [19.7 km²] is land, with the balance (10.58%) being water (0.9 square miles [2.3 km²]).

Kanawha County has a land area of 901 square miles [2,335.1 km²]. At 7.61 square miles [19.7 km²], South Charleston has 0.84% of the county's total land area.

Not only does the sampling area define boundaries, it also has a GPS location (latitude & longitude) that indicates a point within the sampling area (usually at the center of the polygon). At the time of the 2010 Census, the sampling area was located at:

Lat:   38° 20' 56"   (or 38.35°)             [Map]

Lon:   -81° 42' 23"   (or -81.71°)

More information on this topic and the changes between the 2000 Census and the 2010 Census can be found in the section for our Census-to-Census Observations ... (see below).

Population Density ...

Using the population (13,450 people) and land area (7.61 square miles [19.7 km²]) values from the 2010 Census, South Charleston had a population density of 1,579 people per square mile [609 people/km²].

In comparison, the 2000 Census shows South Charleston had a population of 13,390 people and a land area of 7.43 square miles [19.2 km²]. This gives a population density of 1,612 people per square mile [622 people/km²]

NOTE: Be aware that when comparing population density between the 2000 and the 2010 Census, there were changes in the sampling area for South Charleston. You need to be careful when making such a comparison, the differences are likely to lead to an apple-to-oranges comparison. More information about the changes can be found in the section Census-to-Census Observations ... (see below).

Housing Units ...

At the time of the 2010 Census, South Charleston had 6,819 Housing Units<3> and with its population of 13,450 people, this averages 1.97 people per Housing Unit.

The 2010 Census shows South Charleston had a land area of 7.61 square miles [19.7 km²]. This translates to 800 Housing Units per square mile [309.2 housing units/km²].

From the Census of 2000: South Charleston had 6,770 Housing Units, a population of 13,390 people and a land area of 7.43 square miles [19.2 km²]. This gives a density of 1.98 people per Housing Unit and 815 Housing Units per square mile [314.8 housing units/km²].

NOTE: Repeating the caution above (under Population Density), be aware that when comparing Housing Units between the 2000 Census and the 2010 Census, there were changes in the sampling area for South Charleston and you need to be careful when comparing numbers between the censuses. More information about the changes can be found in the section called Census-to-Census Observations ... (see below).

Kanawha County ...

The community of South Charleston is located in Kanawha County.

The county had a population of 193,063 people at the 2010 Census. With it's population of 13,450 people, South Charleston represented 6.97% of the county's total.

In addition, where the city of South Charleston has a population density of 1,579 people per square mile [609 people/km²], Kanawha County averages 214.1 people per square mile [82.7 people/km²].

For more information, please visit our Census Page for Kanawha County.

Population Rings for South Charleston ...

To help identify the number of people who live in South Charleston and the surrounding area, we have drawn concentric rings centered on South Charleston. We counted the number of communities within each ring and summed their populations.<4>

  Radius   No of
  Since 2010    
5 mi   [8 km]367,760-6.87%
10 mi   [16 km]776,818-6.91%
15 mi   [24 km]1182,395-6.6%
20 mi   [32 km]1997,244-5.82%
25 mi   [40 km]27106,102-5.47%
30 mi   [48 km]32109,146-5.55%

Census-to-Census Observations ...

Introduction ...

When the Census Bureau takes a census count (or enumeration) for South Charleston, they start by specifying the boundaries of the area to be counted. This area (or sampling area) is a polygon and its shape can be quite complex - it may or may not match the geographical boundaries of South Charleston. It's important to note that from one Census to the next, the shape and location of the polygon can change. If you need precision or details about the methodology of the Census, you should visit the U.S. Census Bureau for a definitive answer.

Area ...

The sampling area (or polygon) given for the 2010 Census is 2.53% larger than the 2000 Census.

The 2010 Census shows that the total area for South Charleston was 8.51 square miles [22.1 km²]. Of this total, 7.61 square miles [19.7 km²] is land, with the balance (10.58%) being water (0.9 square miles [2.3 km²]).

The 2000 Census shows a total area of 8.3 square miles [21.5 km²]. Of this total, 7.43 square miles [19.2 km²] is land, with the balance (10.3%) being water (0.88 square miles [2.3 km²]).

Location ...

While generally coinciding with the GPS location (latitude/longitude) of South Charleston, the latitude and longitude given by the Census Bureau actually indicates the GPS location of the polygon for South Charleston.

For the 2010 Census, the location was given as:

Lat:   38.348914°   (or 38°20'56" N)             [Map]

Lon:   -81.706462°   (or -81°42'23" W)

For the 2000 Census, the location given was:

Lat:   38.352455°   (or 38°21'8" N)             [Map]

Lon:   -81.712001°   (or -81°42'43" W)

The difference indicates that the U.S. Census Bureau moved the location of the polygon for the 2010 Census 2,043 feet to the southeast<5> of the location that was used in the 2000 Census.

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the U.S. Board on Geographic Names (BGN) have assigned a unique GNIS identifier (#2390655) to South Charleston. This identifier also marks a GSP point on the map, and that point lies within the boundaries of South Charleston. The GNIS point has been mapped to the latitude/longitude:

Lat:   38.349503°   (or 38°20'58" N)             [Map]

Lon:   -81.709428°   (or -81°42'33" W)

The GSP location given for the 2010 Census lies 874 feet to the east<6> of the point given by the GNIS for South Charleston. For more information about this and the relationship of the various Federal Codes, please visit our Misc Page for South Charleston.

Miscellaneous Information for South Charleston ...

The Federal government has assigned various identifying codes to each community, county and state. At one time or another, the US Census Bureau has referenced one (or more) of the following identifiers when referring to either Kanawha County or the city of South Charleston:

The GNIS Codes ...

The current system of identification is called the Geographic Names Information System (GNIS). The following GNIS codes relate to South Charleston:

GNIS ID for South Charleston: 2390655

GNIS ID for Kanawha County: 1550026

GNIS ID for West Virginia: 1779805

The FIPS Codes ...

An earlier (and largely obsolete) identification method was called the Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS):

State Code: 54 (West Virginia)

County Code: 039 (Kanawha County)

Place Code: 75292 (South Charleston)

State & County Code: 54/039 (West Virginia / Kanawha County)

State & Place Code: 54/75292 (West Virginia / South Charleston)

Misc. Census Codes ...

South Charleston is located in Census Region #3 (the South Region) and Division #5 (the South Atlantic Division).

For more information about the various Federal identification codes, please visit our Misc Page for South Charleston.

Other Roadside Stops ...

Search for a Community located in West Virginia

About Kanawha County

About West Virginia

Off-the-Road Links ...

The official website of the U.S. Census Bureau

Unfortunately, we don't know of a website for South Charleston. If you can help, please contact us through our Feedback Page.

The official website for Kanawha County:

The official website for State of West Virginia:

The official website of the U.S. Board on Geographic Names (BGN)

The official website of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)

Footnotes ...

<1>Every year, the US Census Bureau creates a population estimate for the preceeding year. Keep in mind that this value is an estimate and not an actual count. The most recent Census estimate is for the year 2017.

- Return to Citation

<2>Every 10 years (eg- 1990, 2000, 2010), the US Census Bureau conducts a Constitutionally-mandated count (or enumeration) of people living within the United States. This count is called a Decennial Census. The last Decennial Census was the 2010 Census, with the next one planned for 2020.

- Return to Citation

<3>A Housing Unit is a broad term for those places where people live (whether occupied or temporarily vacant), such as a house, an apartment, a mobile home, or an area that is considered as a separate living quarter. Separate living quarters (consisting of one or more rooms) are considered to be those places where people live, sleep and eat separately from others and that have access to the outside (either directly or by a shared hallway).

- Return to Citation

<4>The communities in our count are those provided by the 2010 Census, so keep in mind that our population rings will only include the people living in those communities. Smaller communities usually don't participate directly in the Census and therefore they won't be included. While our count is a close approximation, it shouldn't be considered as a complete or accurate count.

- Return to Citation

<5>The calculated bearing (or angle) to the 2010 Census location is 230 degrees and a distance of 2,043 feet.

- Return to Citation

<6>The calculated bearing (or angle) to the GNIS point is 255 degrees and a distance of 874 feet.

- Return to Citation


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This page was last modified: 13 Nov 2018
By John Hall