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Central is a town in Pickens Countymarker, South Carolinamarker, United Statesmarker. Contrary to its name, it is not at all near the central area of South Carolina. The population was 3,522 at the 2000 census. It received its name from its geographic location, being the halfway or central point between Atlantamarker and Charlottemarker along the former Atlanta and Richmond Air-Line Railway line. Central has several very large apartment complexes primarily housing students from nearby Clemson Universitymarker, as well as from Central's own Southern Wesleyan University. South Carolina's senior U.S. senator Lindsey Graham was born and raised in Central.

Mac Martin is the mayor of Central.

The town is part of the GreenvillemarkerMauldinmarkerEasleymarker Metropolitan Statistical Area.


Central is located at .

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 2.4 square miles (6.2 km2), all of it land.


As of the census of 2000, there were 3,522 people, 1,560 households, and 617 families residing in the town. The population density was 1,463.4 people per square mile (564.3/km2). There were 1,832 housing units at an average density of 761.2/sq mi (293.5/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 79.70% White, 15.25% African American, 0.03% Native American, 1.79% Asian, 2.13% from other races, and 1.11% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.32% of the population.

There were 1,560 households out of which 17.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 27.1% were married couples living together, 8.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 60.4% were non-families. 35.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.19 and the average family size was 2.91.

In the town the population was spread out with 15.1% under the age of 18, 37.4% from 18 to 24, 25.7% from 25 to 44, 12.7% from 45 to 64, and 9.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 24 years. For every 100 females there were 116.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 115.5 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $23,869, and the median income for a family was $39,524. Males had a median income of $26,855 versus $22,207 for females. The per capita income for the town was $14,394. About 11.3% of families and 29.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 19.0% of those under age 18 and 8.2% of those age 65 or over.


Central owes its existence to a railroad boom that began in 1873. The town's name represents the fact that it is midway between Atlanta and Charlotte. It retains much of its early cultural landscapes.

At its center is a small, quaint downtown, bisected by a rail line. A significant number of late 19th to early 20th century commercial buildings remain, most of which are a single story in height and retain a good amount of historical integrity. As of summer 2006, a downtown streetscape project is underway that is designed to improve the aesthetics of the area. There are also many pre-WWII homes near the downtown, although most are relatively modest.

Central is particularly proud of its heritage. The Central Heritage Society has a museum and information on many historic buildings and homes in the area.

The following buildings are listed on the National Register of Historic Places

  • Central High School
  • Morgan House


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