Notes for Newcomers: Who are the Newcomers Anyway?

By Phil La Borie

Notes for Newcomers: Who are the Newcomers Anyway?

I’m always on the lookout for either the unusual or the unexpected – must be something genetic – my dad was an Industrial Engineer at Kodak and conducted time and motion studies for fifty years. I always thought of him as a sort of detective. He was always looking for new and more efficient ways to improve job performance and increase production.

So here I am standing in line at one of the check-out counters in my local Big Box (in the 20 items or less line) and the guy in line in front of me is wearing a New York Yankees ball cap and has the team logo tattooed on his shoulder.

At the same time, he’s wearing a cut-off t-shirt that clearly identifies him as a resident of Massachusetts, and more specifically, from the area around Boston. Here’s an anomaly – a diehard Yankee fan deep in Boston Red Sox territory. Talk about the unusual and unexpected! If there ever was a good example of chalk and cheese not mixing, this is it!

Just to be neighborly, I asked him about his apparently conflicting loyalties, and he tells me because of his choice of baseball teams and his insistence on openly displaying it, he wasn’t all that popular with the folks in his neighborhood up north. It’s only since he and his family moved to the Grand Strand area that he feels comfortable enough to sport both his choice in clothing and his very memorable tattoo at the same time. I thought his feeling that comfortable and relaxed was nice to hear, since I’ve also experienced a very nice reception from local folks since I’ve moved here.

This welcoming attitude to newcomers in our part of the world got me to thinking and led me to ponder the question, Who are these newcomers anyway, and why do they come here?

Here’s what I found out. (“Just the facts, ma’am,” as Jack Webb on Dragnet used to say). Please bear with me while I list them since they tell quite a story about the Grand Strand area and our popularity as both a resettlement location and a tourist attraction.

Who’s Coming to Live Here from Where:

The largest segment of newcomers these days comes from our neighbors to the North – New York, Northern New Jersey and Long Island.

They are closely followed by folks moving away from the Beltway – Baltimore/Washington, D.C.

Newcomers are also arriving from Philadelphia, Florida, several Midwestern states and from as far away as Arizona and California.

New residents coming to our area prefer the Coastal Region, followed by the Inter-coastal Waterway, with Oceanfront as the third most popular relocation site.

About half of the 155,000 “new faces” we see in South Carolina annually are less than 50 years old. So we’re clearly attracting both younger and older new residents.

So, that’s a brief look at newly relocated residents, but let’s not forget about our tourists:

The Grand Strand is vacationland to nearly 14 million tourists each year and that number continues to increase annually.

Over 100,000 of our visitors travel here from overseas – principally from Europe, but visitors from more distant parts of the world are also well-represented.

By the way, visitors have been arriving here since the 1700s. However, it seems that earlier visitors never experienced the Grand Strand’s welcoming attitude; in fact, most early efforts to settle and colonize our area met with abject failure.

Some other information of interest:

The influx of new neighbors has made Myrtle Beach the 9th fastest growing area in the United States. In fact, our area has grown 37% in the last decade. Overall, over 500,000 new faces have moved to South Carolina during that same time period. The influx of these folks has resulted in creating nearly 45,000 new jobs state-wide.

But enough already for the numbers…

Why Newcomers Come Here.

Here’s just a small reminder of why we live here and just some of the reasons that make this area so attractive – either as a permanent residence or a vacation destination.

Fantastic housing options – Whether a newcomer is interested in either a short-term vacation rental or a permanent residence; very affordable options in a wide variety of locations abound.

Low taxes and low cost of living – The cost of living in the Grand Strand area is typically seven percent lower than the rest of the USA. And with no state tax on Social Security benefits, our area has become a magnet for retirees. Everyone’s dollar just goes farther here.

Excellent Healthcare – Our area boasts numerous award-winning medical facilities with first-rate technology and treatments.

Wonderful weather – On average, the Grand Strand experiences 215 sunny days a year. And because we are on the coast with the Gulf Stream just 60 miles off shore, our temperatures are more moderate than those to the south of us or inland areas. That said, on certain mid-summer days around here, I find that a little hard to believe.

Miles of beaches – More than 60 miles of Grand Strand beaches stretch north and south as far as the eye can see. We are also blessed with beach water temperatures that rise well into the 80s during the summer months.

Great employment opportunities – Nearly 75,000 jobs in the Myrtle Beach area are dependent on tourism and that number keeps increasing every year.

And last, but hardly least, Southern hospitality – Our warm and welcoming attitude makes a big difference when folks are either choosing a vacation location, a permanent home or just submitting to a series of friendly questions about your “tat” in a local store.

If you’d like to experience our hospitality when traveling abroad, you might consider visiting one or more of Myrtle Beach’s sister cities – Burlington, Canada; Keighley, United Kingdom; Pinamar, Argentina, or Killarney, Ireland. Just tell them you’re from the Myrtle Beach area, and hopefully they’ll make you feel right at home.

My thanks to VisitMyrtleBeach.com, the Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce and CarolinaLiving.com for all the numbers.

About this writer

  • Phil La Borie Phil La Borie is an award-winning writer/artist based in Garden City, South Carolina. His work has been published in AdWeek, The Kaiser-Permanente Journal, Westworld Magazine and online at smilesforall.com. Phil is the 2015 winner of the Alice Conger Patterson Award offered through the Emrys Foundation. He can be reached at plaborie@voxinc.net.

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