More than half of Beaufort County's population growth during the past decade came from people 55 or older, and more than a third of residents qualify for senior citizen discounts, according to 2010 census figures released this week.
Beaufort County's population grew 34.1 percent between 2000 and 2010, the U.S. Census Bureau reported in March when it released bulk population totals. New data released Thursday -- including information on age, gender, housing and household status -- add color and context to earlier figures.
In Beaufort County, the number of residents 55 or older grew from 31,437 to 55,191 -- 76 percent -- between census periods. And a subset of that group -- those over 84 years old -- increased 111 percent.
In total, 26 percent of Beaufort County was 55 or older in 2000; that figure now stands at 34 percent.
A similar trend can be seen in the state as a whole.
Since the last national count in 2000, the number of South Carolina residents increased by about 613,000, and the number of residents older than 55 increased by 357,000.
Noting an older population can strain already over-burdened state resources, Patrick Cobb of AARP South Carolina said older residents also contribute to their communities by volunteering and mentoring.
"I'm glad to see them coming here," he said. "We're only going to see these numbers increase."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.