The Golden Strip communities along I-385 south of I-85 are rapidly growing and predominantly affluent, although there are pockets of poverty or near-poverty in both Mauldin and Simpsonville and the demographics of Fountain Inn, the southernmost town in the Golden Strip, are similar to the less advantaged rural area to the west. There is also a rapidly growing Hispanic minority in Mauldin and Simpsonville. In the northwestern area of the service area are some of the most disadvantaged neighborhoods in metropolitan Greenville, several of which are "islands" separated from other communities by the Donaldson Industrial Park, a former air base. Most of those neighborhoods are majority African American. Along the Saluda River in the west of the service area are several former mill towns. The southern half of the service area is very rural with just a few small villages (e.g., Fork Shoals) that are easily identified.
Serving southern Greenville County and the nearby communities in Anderson and Laurens counties in South Carolina's Upstate, STRONG COMMUNITIES is based at two family resource centers: The Center for Community Services in Simpsonville and The Riley Center in the U.S. 25 corridor (Pelzer), both in southern Greenville County. A large network of Family Activity Centers using existing community buildings-mostly churches, fire stations, and schools-as bases is now being developed across the service area.
The service area consists of urban, suburban, rural, and small-town communities of diverse social class and ethnicity. The five outreach areas in the service area as a whole vary in median income (2000 Census data) from $31,036 to $56,485, in poverty from 4% to 17%, in population density from 194.3 to 1080.7 persons per square mile, and in ethnicity from about one-third to about 90% White.
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