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View Poll Results: Whic city is #3 in the Carolinas?
Columbia 18 21.18%
Charleston 17 20.00%
Durham 5 5.88%
Greensboro 14 16.47%
Greenville 19 22.35%
Winston-Salem 12 14.12%
Voters: 85. You may not vote on this poll

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Old August 5th, 2006, 11:07 PM   #1
krazeeboi
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The Carolinas' 3rd City

Well, we pretty much know that Charlotte is the premier city in the Carolinas, and I think it's pretty obvious that Raleigh, for the time being, has settled into 2nd place. However, from there, it isn't so clear, as several cities can legitimately vie for "3rd place." So which do you think could be considered the Carolinas' 3rd City? I think it comes down to these six:

Charleston
Columbia
Durham
Greensboro
Greenville (SC, duh)
Winston-Salem

We could look at this in any number of ways: population, growth, economic development, urban development, etc. As far as municipal population goes, NC cities will have the advantage here, as SC's annexation laws are much more restrictive in this regard. Nevertheless, here are the latest figures according to the U.S. Census Bureau:

Charleston: 106,712
Columbia: 117,088
Durham: 204,845
Greensboro: 231,962
Greenville: 56,676
Winston-Salem: 193,755

The urbanized area figures (from 2000, the latest figures available) show that these cities are much more comparable in terms of size:

Charleston: 423,410
Columbia: 420,537
Durham: 287,796
Greensboro: 267,884
Greenville: 302,194
Winston-Salem: 299,290

By this time, I would assume that Greensboro's and Greenville's UA figures are much larger, being adjacent to a seperate, smaller urbanized area (High Point and Mauldin-Simpsonville, respectively). They are beginning to blend into each other.

Here are the 2005 MSA figures and growth rates since 2000:

Charleston: 594,899 (8.4%)
Columbia: 689,878 (6.6%)
Durham: 456,187 (7.0%)
Greensboro: 674,500 (4.8%)
Greenville: 591,251 (5.6%)
Winston-Salem: 448,629 (6.3%)

Now I know the new MSA designations are controversial, specifically for multinodal metro areas like the Upstate, Triad, and Triangle, but here I think they are quite appropriate, as we are discussing cities here, and not regions. But I don't want to get into that discussion here.

As I mentioned earlier, there are other indicators, such as urbanity, urban development, economic development, etc.

So who does your vote go to and why?
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Old August 6th, 2006, 12:22 AM   #2
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Oh man, this is a tough one. And a good one

Out of the cities listed I think…

Columbia: By far is the most “vibrant” of them all. There’s just something about that city. Perhaps it is the fact that it’s a capital city, or maybe it’s the university; more likely all of the above. But Columbia certainly wins the “hustle and bustle” award among them. But by my account, Columbia has little to no national name recognition. So that’s a major negative in my book.

Greensboro: I lived here for a while. To me, Greensboro is clearly number three in NC, so I have to give them strong consideration for this poll. A lot of recognizable companies have set up shop here in one form or another, and being home to the ACC has given them some national attention. And they’ve done some nice things downtown recently. But to me, Greensboro still looks like one big gigantic suburb. And for that reason, I can’t give them the nod.

Charleston: In my book, the most unique city architecturally in the Carolinas (just in front of Asheville). There are plenty of attractions; the downtown, the aquarium, the beach, upscale shopping. There are plenty of cultural events including the internationally recognized Spoleto Festival. The major drawback to me is its lack of a significant corporate presence and white collar jobs (i.e., limited opportunities for people like me to move there). But based on its uniqueness and international reputation, I give the edge to this city.

My number three city in the Carolinas
Charleston, SC






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Old August 6th, 2006, 12:36 AM   #3
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Excellent breakdown. I'd like to hear others.
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Old August 6th, 2006, 02:09 AM   #4
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Who wants to be classed as "third"? Not good. If you can't be first then.......

I think from other forums, you've heard my opinion that numbers and boundaries are irrelevent. Quality of life is the relevent issue. So I won't weigh in on this one.

And Krazee, a good example to illustrate the point. You could easily live just a few miles away in Charlotte (city pop 650,000), but you've said you really would like to live in DC one day because it feels so much more urban (DC city pop 550,000). Smaller city, 100,000 less, but feels more urban.

So anyway....this wasn't meant as a smart ass comment, but my weigh in again is "3rd"? Thats really reaching. Why bother?
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Old August 6th, 2006, 02:22 AM   #5
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Quality of life is very important, but QOL and growth need not be mutually exclusive. Many things that contribute to QOL wouldn't be there if the numbers weren't there to support them. If anything, growth is indicative of a healthy economy and a place where people would like to be or where they have found opportunity.

I started the thread because it makes for a good, interesting, stimulating discussion. As I've stated, after Charlotte and Raleigh, the larger Carolina cities are pretty much on an even playing field, so I just wanted to know what others thought about the subject.
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Old August 6th, 2006, 02:30 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by krazeeboi
Quality of life is very important, but QOL and growth need not be mutually exclusive. Many things that contribute to QOL wouldn't be there if the numbers weren't there to support them. If anything, growth is indicative of a healthy economy and a place where people would like to be or where they have found opportunity.
"Need not be mutually exclusive".....but many times are. A healthy economy doesn't automtically mean "Quality of Life", it means jobs. Quality of life is topography, weather, restaurant selection, outdoor activities readily available, shopping, cultural opportunities, airport facilities, etc, etc. And most important for quality of life, the attitude of people in a given city.
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Old August 6th, 2006, 02:48 AM   #7
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QOL indicators are different for different people. Some people aren't really outdoor enthusiasts, so topography and outdoor activites aren't really that important. And when it comes to shopping, cultural opportunities, and airport facilities, those are directly tied to population. A healthy economy may not directly translate into a greater QOL, but oftentimes it does mean a higher standard of living, which is definitely a QOL indicator.

At any rate, growth and numbers weren't the only characteristics I named in deciding which city falls in line behind Charlotte and Raleigh. However, those indicators are significant nonetheless. If you wish to make a case for Greenville apart from those indicators, by all means do so. If not, that's fine as well; I look forward to seeing how others are thinking about the topic at hand.
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Old August 6th, 2006, 02:54 AM   #8
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I'm not making a case for any city. I didn't vote. It'll be fun to see who ends up with the "honor" of "third place". I would hope people have more to cling to for a city than numbers rankings.
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Old August 6th, 2006, 03:02 AM   #9
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Krazeeboi - this is a very challenging question. I will have to go with Charleston or Columbia. The demographics and economy as mentioned are important, but equally important is the geographic proximity of the city and how it related to the region - "the carolinas". The number one and two cities are located in North Carolina as stated. The number three city should be in the southern sector - same premise as Walter Christaller's theory of central place describing the hierarchy and dispersion of cities, market area and distance, etc....
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Old August 6th, 2006, 03:03 AM   #10
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Since this is all subjective, then I don't think Charlotte and Raleigh-Durham are clearly the 1st and 2nd "premier" cities in the Carolinas. They are the two largest in terms of population, and they are the two with major league sports teams, so is that your criteria for them being the two most premier cities? Interestingly, Charleston is arguably more well-known and recognizable across the country than either Charlotte or Raleigh (especially Raleigh) - despite being smaller in population.
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Old August 6th, 2006, 03:07 AM   #11
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I don't think I would've bunched the Carolinas together.....it makes it difficult because Raleigh and Gboro have no real influence over SC. With that being said, Greensboro is easily, IMO, the 3rd city in NC. As for both, it seems unfair that SC doesn't have any cities in the top 3, because SC's cities are important in that State, not NC, and likewise. I'll still stick with G'boro, but I think that's a bit unfair.
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------Arlington-208,000
-------Newport News-181,000
--------Alexandria-147,000
---------Hampton-136,000
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Old August 6th, 2006, 03:09 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gsupstate
I'm not making a case for any city. I didn't vote. It'll be fun to see who ends up with the "honor" of "third place". I would hope people have more to cling to for a city than numbers rankings.
I think it'll be fun too. But things can change rather quickly. Only a century ago (not that long ago in the grand scheme of things), Charleston reigned supreme in the Carolinas. During the 90's, Raleigh began pulling ahead of its peers to secure its secondary position. So who knows? Maybe the #3 city today will be #1 in 50 years; anything could happen.

Vulcan, interesting premise concerning Christaller.

Greenville, you could indeed make that case. Hell, you could even say that the premier city is Myrtle Beach, as it probably has more noteriety than all of the Carolinas' major cities. Granted, size, growth, and economy have priority in my list of indicators, but they're not the only indicators. I hardly consider major league pro sports franchises as an indicator of being significant.
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Old August 6th, 2006, 03:12 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JRQ
I don't think I would've bunched the Carolinas together.....it makes it difficult because Raleigh and Gboro have no real influence over SC. With that being said, Greensboro is easily, IMO, the 3rd city in NC. As for both, it seems unfair that SC doesn't have any cities in the top 3, because SC's cities are important in that State, not NC, and likewise. I'll still stick with G'boro, but I think that's a bit unfair.
It really doesn't have anything to do with which city has influence in both states; as a matter of fact, Charlotte doesn't have a whole lot of influence on SC as a whole. It's just that since both states share a common history and the largest metro area between both states is actually located in both states, many times the two get lumped together in comparisons such as these.

It's nothing serious, just something to generate discussion.
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Old August 6th, 2006, 03:13 AM   #14
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Honestly, Myrtle Beach is veryyyyyy well known in the US. Probably on the lines of Charlotte, or above. You also have to think about Greensboro, especially as of late. Hosting the American Idol competition at the coliseum, and producing the most idols this season, as well as being the host of the ACC tournament several times. ALOT of publicity.
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-Fairfax County-1,118,000
--Virginia Beach-447,000
---Norfolk-246,000
----Chesapeake-228,000
-----Richmond-210,000
------Arlington-208,000
-------Newport News-181,000
--------Alexandria-147,000
---------Hampton-136,000
----------Roanoke-98,000
-----------Portsmouth-97,000
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Old August 6th, 2006, 03:23 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by krazeeboi
Charlotte doesn't have a whole lot of influence on SC as a whole.
Charlotte has a huge amount of influence on SC. Our major department store chain, Belk, is based in Charlotte. Our major banks are based in Charlotte. When Upstaters want or need something not available to them in Greenville/Spartanburg/Anderson, they head to Charlotte. Charlotte has the sports teams and the amusement park for both states. Many from both Upstate and Columbia drive to Charlotte to fly. Much regional distribution happens out of Charlotte for both Carolinas (food, retail, consumer goods).
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Old August 6th, 2006, 03:36 AM   #16
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You do have some points, but I meant more on a direct level, like NYC has on NJ. Only one SC county is in the Charlotte MSA, with two others in the CSA (and they are largely rural). Charlotte-Douglas definitely has some of the lowest airfares between the two states. I don't understand why Upstaters (particularly Greenvillians) would go to Charlotte for more shopping options when Atlanta is the same distance away and has many more options in that regard. While the Panthers in particular play in Charlotte, they represent both teams, train in SC, and Jerry Richardson is a Spartanburg native. And the Bobcats right now aren't having much of an impact on Charlotte, much less SC. Might I also point out that the founder of Belk, as well as Hugh McColl who is largely responsible for turning BOA into a national powerhouse, are native South Carolinians. I wll say that Columbia and the Upstate are definitely more influenced by Charlotte than Charleston and Myrtle Beach, the two fastest growing metros in the state. And let's not forget that Charleston largely supplies goods to Charlotte through means of the Port of Charleston.
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Old August 6th, 2006, 04:19 AM   #17
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I don't think I have ever been to Charlotte to shop. Greenville pretty much has anything you need 95% of the time, and when it doesn't, Atlanta is the destination of choice.
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Old August 6th, 2006, 04:21 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greenville
Since this is all subjective, then I don't think Charlotte and Raleigh-Durham are clearly the 1st and 2nd "premier" cities in the Carolinas. They are the two largest in terms of population, and they are the two with major league sports teams, so is that your criteria for them being the two most premier cities? Interestingly, Charleston is arguably more well-known and recognizable across the country than either Charlotte or Raleigh (especially Raleigh) - despite being smaller in population.
Seriously, I’m not trying to start an argument. But, I would like to hear your reasons for thinking that Charlotte and Raleigh are not numbers one and two in the Carolinas. Rather you’re talking about population, sports, cultural attractions, entertainment, activities, education, commerce; in my opinion they would be one and two in so many categories that all other cities would be far in the distance.
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Old August 6th, 2006, 04:23 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gsupstate
I'm not making a case for any city. I didn't vote. It'll be fun to see who ends up with the "honor" of "third place". I would hope people have more to cling to for a city than numbers rankings.
I voted for my city of Greenville, SC. Come on gsupstate, you have to vote for your city, man. Also, Charlotte is closer to Greenville than Atlanta. It takes me an 1 1/2 hours to get to Charlotte from here and 2 1/2 hours to get to Atlanta.
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Old August 6th, 2006, 04:36 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carolina Blue
Seriously, I’m not trying to start an argument. But, I would like to hear your reasons for thinking that Charlotte and Raleigh are not numbers one and two in the Carolinas. Rather you’re talking about population, sports, cultural attractions, entertainment, activities, education, commerce; in my opinion they would be one and two in so many categories that all other cities would be far in the distance.
Well if you're talking about urbanity, culture, cuisine, history, geographical setting, and notereity, a case could easily be made for Charleston above all others. Even when considering education, Charleston holds its own. You've got a medical university, a law school, a top-rated military school, a private four-year university, and a downtown public four-year college. Neither Charlotte or Raleigh can boast that type of diversity in higher education. But in terms of population, growth, robust economy, sports, etc., Charlotte and Raleigh take the cake.
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