Charleston, South Carolina is a Mini Austin, Texas

By Mark A. Leon

The last few weeks got me thinking.  Texas was ravaged by Hurricane Harvey and Charleston suffered a massive hit from Tropical Storm Irma that had us making direct comparisons to Hurricane Hugo and the impact it had on Charleston in 1989.  In fact, our beloved Folly Boat, a symbol of strength and perseverance for 28 years was washed away slamming into a local dock.

I also focused on the growth of the Lowcountry, with Charleston now the largest city in the state of South Carolina and the enormous population spike in Austin and realized, there are many similarities between our two great cities.

Just how similar are we?

Let us break this down to its granular elements and see how Charleston and Austin are following very similar urban paths

  • Charleston and Austin have extremely hot summers and above average temperatures during the winter months. (See chart below)
  • The median age difference is only 1.4 years (Austin 31.8 vs. Charleston 33.2)
  • Charleston’s musical icon is Darius Rucker. Austin holds strong with Stevie Ray Vaughn (though born in Texas, his presence and identity with Austin is so very strong)
  • SXSW TechCrunch is a technology haven conference annually in Austin, while Charleston hails DigSouth
  • SXSW Film Festival offers a diversified, thought provoking line-up annually in March in Austin while Charleston has the Charleston International Film Festival, Crimson Fest Horror Festival and the Charleston Film Festival
  • The glory of the Arthur Ravenel Bridge is a symbol of strength in Charleston. The Congress Avenue Bridge not only has a majestic view of the Capital, it also offers a daily bat show
  • Vibrant College Life. The College of Charleston and the University of Texas – Austin are well respected centers of academic excellence
  • Both pride themselves on their passion and love for BBQ
  • Both Charleston and Austin are liberal thinking cities in traditionally conservative states
  • Austin has the riverfront life with boating, parks, jogging and biking paths along the way. Charleston has the beautiful Charleston Harbor with the bridge pedestrian path, The Battery and both Waterfront parks
  • 6th Street in Austin is world famous for its endless entertainment. King Street is becoming and international site for shopping, dining, lodging and entertainment
  • Bill Murray is the Ambassador of Kwan in Charleston while Austin hails Ethan Hawke and Matthew McConaughey takes pride in the city they know and love

When you really take a close look at both municipalities, it is easy to see there are striking similarities between both thriving Southern landmark cities.

Why call Charleston a mini Austin?  Very simple:  Austin is 147% more densely populated than Charleston.


Appendix Data

Austin                                       Charleston                                 United States

Married Population 41.66% 41.25% 50.58%
 Single Population 58.34% 58.75% 49.42%
 Now Married 39.38% 38.89% 48.41%
 Married but Separated 2.28% 2.36% 2.17%
 Never Married 43.64% 42.76% 32.55%
 Widowed 3.30% 5.39% 5.95%
 Divorced 11.41% 10.61% 10.92%
 Married, w/children 33.68% 27.14% 31.68%
 Married, no children 35.08% 44.16% 41.44%
 Single, w/children 19.91% 16.82% 16.94%
 Single, no children 11.33% 11.89% 9.95%

Austin vs Charleston Weather

Austin, Texas                      

Month Low High
Jan 40.0°F 60.3°F
Feb 44.0°F 65.1°F
Mar 50.9°F 72.5°F
Apr 57.6°F 78.9°F
May 65.4°F 84.8°F
Jun 71.1°F 90.9°F
Jul 73.4°F 95.0°F
Aug 73.3°F 95.6°F
Sept 68.8°F 90.1°F
Oct 59.8°F 81.4°F
Nov 49.3°F 70.1°F
Dec 41.9°F 62.3°F

Charleston, South Carolina

Month Low High
Jan 36.9°F 58.9°F
Feb 39.1°F 62.3°F
Mar 46.0°F 69.3°F
Apr 52.2°F 76.1°F
May 61.3°F 82.9°F
Jun 68.5°F 87.9°F
Jul 72.5°F 90.9°F
Aug 71.6°F 89.4°F
Sept 67.1°F 85.0°F
Oct 55.3°F 77.0°F
Nov 46.4°F 69.6°F
Dec 39.3°F 61.6°F
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