Does race have anything to do with homelessness in Myrtle Beach? Well, the fact is that most of the people in lower income parts of the city are black or brown, which makes us much closer to homelessness financially. If you’re not from Myrtle Beach, and you would like to see for yourself, the poorest areas are not very hard to find. The most poverty stricken neighborhoods nearest to the ocean and adjacent to Ocean Blvd. are along streets like Flagg Street and Chester Street from 8th Ave. North to about 1st Ave. North (which was my neighborhood on and off for a little over a decade from ’04 -’14), and from Yaupon Drive at 6th Ave. South on down to around 15th South. These are where the cheapest weekly rental motels are where many working homeless individuals and families live for extended periods. Further back from the ocean, the lower income neighborhoods are up streets like Mr. Joe White Ave., Carver Street, and Dunbar.
If you can’t see that many of Myrtle Beach’s homeless and a large portion of the city’s working poor are frequently in and around those areas, you must be blind. One thing you will undoubtedly notice is that there is not one main color of person, and the folks you see will vary in skin color, from white, to black, to brown. Don’t get me wrong, I know for a fact from personal life experience that there is a high level of racism here. But, the point I’m trying to make is that homelessness affects all races. I mean, it’s just like all those students (Asians, Caucasians, African-Americans, Indians, etc.) at the local colleges who, although they are consistently crashing with friends every day after classes, are still homeless, because that place isn’t theirs. Although, it may still feel like their home, because they are always sleeping there.
I decided to do some research and get some real numbers, some concrete digits that relate to poverty and homelessness in Myrtle Beach and skin color. First, I wanted to find out what percentage of every race was in Horry County overall. I know, I know. All of y’all are smart, and many of you just don’t believe that everyone in the county is accurately counted when certain agencies are trying to determine what the exact population number is. Believe me, I get it. But, if you’ve read this far in the article, then your curiosity is obviously sparked, just like mine was when I was doing this research. So, you might as well keep on reading!
Okay, so, according to the United States Census Bureau, there are hell of a lot more White people in our county than any other race. I know a lot of y’all are like “Duhh…”, and I was too when I saw the stats. But, I didn’t know the exact percentage, which according to the bureau is 82.6%! They found that Black people made up 13.3%, Latinos are an even 6%, Asians are 1.3%, and Indians make up .2% of Horry County’s population. A publication entitled The Census Reporter had research that said that there were not quite that many White people in Horry County, just 77%, but that Black folks were still 13% and Latinos and Asians were still around 6% and 1%.
I wanted to get one more source to round it all out, so I looked at the Statistical Atlas. They had White people in Horry County at 77.2% of the population, Black folks at 13.7%, Hispanics at 5.7%, Asians at 1.1%, and other races such as American Indians combined for 2.3%. I don’t know how the Census got 82.6% when it comes to the number of White people in the county, and the others got closer to 77%. But for the sake of this article and the research that I am trying to do here on how many people within each race are actually in poverty and/or homeless in Myrtle Beach and around Horry County, I’ll go with two out of three of my sources and say that the county is approximately 77% White.
Ok, so the Census Reporter says that in Horry County almost 17% of the people live in poverty. According to the publication, there are 333,268 in the county, so 17% of that is 56,655. So, we have a total of 56,655 people living in poverty in Horry County.
Now, again, this research is just for fun, but 77% of that is 43,624 White folks in poverty. 13% of that would be 7,365 Black folks in poverty. Hispanics make up 6% of the total population, so when breaking it down to how many are in poverty the number would be about 3,399. Indians and other races would be 2% of that 56,665 people living in poverty, so it would be 1,133 of them.
All I did was take 17% of the total number of people in the county, then 17% of each individual race group to see what the poverty percentage would approximately be within each group. I may or may not be exactly right, I was only going off the sources I found. Either way, when it comes to poverty and homelessness in Horry County, I don’t care what color you are, just do your best to make it out of it.