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BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — We all know Brunswick County is part of southeastern North Carolina, but the federal government sees the map differently.

A new designation means the Census Bureau will factor Brunswick County’s population, income and demographics into the Myrtle Beach Metropolitan Statistical Area. Local leaders say they’re surprised the government decided to shift Brunswick County’s statistics south of the border.

“It was a shock to understand how the Census Bureau and Office of Management (and Budget) could move Brunswick County from Wilmington to Myrtle Beach,” Brunswick County Economic Development Director Jim Bradshaw said.

The move, which took effect in February, cost the Wilmington metro area 100,000 residents. Local leaders say the shift in population makes the Myrtle Beach area more appealing for business recruitment over Wilmington.

“There are companies that look look at size of your region where they choose to put a location in the region, so that certainly has an impact,” said Connie Majure-Rhett of the Greater Wilmington Chamber of Commerce.

Regardless, leaders say they will continue to market Brunswick County as the Wilmington area.

“Our major industrial corridor is located from Leland down to the Columbus County line, and this is just a few miles from the Wilmington Airport and port,” Bradshaw said.

The county’s population growth seems to match that. Bradshaw says most of the growth in Brunswick County has been north of Shallotte, where he says residents identify with Wilmington not Myrtle Beach.

“The vast majority of Brunswick County work in Brunswick County or in the Wilmington region,” Bradshaw said. “Just a very small minority actually work in the Myrtle Beach area.”

Bradshaw says it’s a regional effort to get the county back into Wilmington’s MSA. Rep. Mike McIntyre said he plans to lobby the Census Bureau to reverse the move.

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  • Common Sense

    I know Wilmington City Council and Brunswick approved the request to have Brunswick put back into Wilmington MSA, which is very good. I don’t think anybody realizes how detrimental this will be to Wilmington. It cuts federal and state funding, less people will come here, less development, we can probably say goodbye to the skyway if this isn’t reversed. Probably sayonara to the finishing of 140 too, or any other road projects. Places like PF Changs, etc. that we have wanted wont have a chance of coming here, because the population will be too low. Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Chipotle, etc. might even close their doors with this, who knows. To the person saying SC has better roads… Ok? That doesn’t mean anything for Brunswick County. South Carolina roads are for South Carolina, as NCs are for NC. This will just make road conditions worse than they already are. About 95 percent of Brunswick County works in Brunswick County or New Hanover County. We all know that Brunswick County is suburban Wilmington, and not part of Myrtle Beach. Hardly any work in South Carolina. Have you ever seen rush hour commutes into Wilmington from Brunswick County? There is no commuting traffic into Myrtle Beach from Brunswick County. The Office of Management and Budget /Census Bureau needs to reverse this ASAP, and should also make a CSA of the two MSAs (Myrtle Beach and Wilmington). This will benefit the whole area too, and more dense growth can happen, bus and rail transportation, more funding, etc. while conserving the natural beauty of the area, too.

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