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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.

Comment on this Story

  • 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.

  • Guest2020

    This makes sense sense more people in Brunswick County prefer Myrtle Beach to Wilmington.

  • B M

    I would much rather be associated with and spend my time in Myrtle Beach, not having to wonder and deal with the Leland area and the bridge traffic, and it’s a lot safer area, now if we could just get their gas prices.

  • David P

    So you prefer the big tourist trap of Myrtle Beach to an actual small and working city of Wilimngton? Wilmington has a lot more history, alot more charm, and there is actuallly some other industry in Wilmington besides tourism. I know the gas prices in NC stink, but I actually enjoy the emaller feel of NC. If you prefer that Brunswick County eventually turns into an endless strip of Surf Shops, tatoo parlors, mini-golf courses, I feel sorry for you.

  • Vog46

    Since there’s fewer people in the Wilmington Metro area now I guess ‘ol Chuck Kuebler won’t be able to claim these folks in the stadium studies now eh?

    This is just plain weird


  • Guest Shallotte

    I have always wished my beloved home town in southern Brunswick County was a part of South Carolina.

  • B.C. guest

    Instead of asking other’s what they should do for Brunswick County why not ask Brunswick County. I mean its not just about Wilmington anymore and know all of sudden pow Wilmington is needing Brunswick County for there numbers.

  • Ole Blue

    Appears Brunswick County gets two for one. Sandwiched between two MSA central market areas, Myrtle Beach and Wilmington. I would guess Brunswick will get a good look from developers interested in either MSA.
    Brunswick will be a benefactor of this change. Brunswick can’t escape NC tax codes so Industry Development will still suffer but housing and small business development should be promising. Wilmington may not like losing it’s step child but that’s not a problem that Brunswick should concern itself about.

  • Ramsey Taylor

    Why not South of Supply to be part of Myrtle Beach MSA and North and West be part of Wilmington MSA??

  • Guesttoo

    …this makes too much sense to consider. I share your thoughts on this. Brunswick County is huge and the southern end of the county has a closer association with Little River/NMB/MB than the northern end. The proximity of the Leland Metro area to Wilmington needs to be considered as well.

  • Guest Reply

    Ya see what happened when City Council secretly tried to annex Myrtle Beach? Brunswick ricocheted southward!!!

  • GuestDriver

    SC has better roads; maybe we will get some improvements. Did the Feds hear that Wilmington doesn’t want us on their streets? Also, no one in NC who was in a position to do so was willing to help Brunswick County get Continental Tire or Caterpillar.

    We still have lots of land for industry and development if it is the right kind. Perhaps we are better off with this move.

  • Guest2020

    That’s the truth on those gas prices. I am fortunate enough to live close enough to the border to zip down there and take advantage. One thing I like about Myrtle Beach is that whoever designed their road system knew what they were doing. It is so easy to get around down there now and they don’t drive as crazy there as they do in Wilmington.

  • Guest Reply

    ” whoever designed their road system knew what they were doing. It is so easy to get around down there now and they don’t drive as crazy there as they do in Wilmington.”

    Hey man…there are a Kazillion places in this country where the road system is laid out properly to handle traffic from locals and visitors…minus another Kazillion Pot Holes!
    Wilmington takes the cake of some of the worse roads in America…except the D.C. beltway where front end alignments are on part of your monthly “Things to do list”.
    If there were a virtual reality game where you travel roads of America (as you watched your journey through your visor)…when you got into Wilmington…all you would see would be an Earthquake effect as you viewed your journey…HA!

  • David P

    Maybe Brunswick County should consider splitting into two counties. Shalotte and below can be one, and belong to the MB area, and everything else can be its own county and belong to the Wilmington area.


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