The Grand Strand begins at the South Carolina state line at Little River (in Horry County) and stretches south to Pawleys Island, S.C. (inside Georgetown County.) Considered one of the nationís top vacation destinations, the Grand Strand hosts an estimated 13.5 million visitors annually. The Grand Strand has seen steady growth in population in the past several decades. This population explosion has been evident in the increase of the number of residential construction starts and infrastructure development.
Money magazine rated the Grand Strand as one of the top 20 places to retire in America. The number of persons over the age of 65 has grown from nearly 18,262 in 1990 to an estimated 30,793 in 2000. This increase of 69% boosted this portion of the population of Horry County to account for nearly 17% of the resident population. In the year 2010, almost 21% of the county population will be 65 and over. Similarly, in Georgetown County, the population of persons over the age of 65 is 9,019, which is 16.8% of the total county population.
In 2000, The Searchers, Inc., a St. Louis-based data research company, named the Myrtle Beach area and Horry County as an Outstanding Community. Quality of life, taxes, crime rate, and affordability of housing were among the criteria in The Searcherís selection. Travel managers from AAA named the Myrtle Beach area as the second most popular travel destination for the summer of 1999. And the readers of Southern Living selected the area their second favorite family vacation destination and their favorite beach in 1999.
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