As of the censusGR2 of 2000, there were 49,765 people, 18,750 households, and 12,093 families residing in the city. The population density was 619.2/km² (1,603.8/mi²). There were 20,287 housing units at an average density of 252.4/km² (653.8/mi²). The racial makeup of the city was 58.74% White, 37.33% African American, 0.50% Native American, 1.39% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 1.02% from other races, and 1.00% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.48% of the population.
There were 18,750 households out of which 32.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 41.6% were married couples living together, 18.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.5% were non-families. 27.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.49 and the average family size was 3.05.
In the city the population was spread out with 25.1% under the age of 18, 14.8% from 18 to 24, 30.5% from 25 to 44, 18.4% from 45 to 64, and 11.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 31 years. For every 100 females there were 84.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 78.6 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $37,336, and the median income for a family was $45,697. Males had a median income of $32,156 versus $24,181 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,929. About 9.7% of families and 14.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 16.2% of those under age 18 and 12.0% of those age 65 or over.
Rock Hill is home to three institutes of higher education.
- Winthrop University was founded in 1886 as the Winthrop Training School in Columbia, South Carolina. It was initially an all-female school for those who desired to become teachers. The institution diversified its class ranks by extending its educational offerings to minorities in 1964 and to men in 1972. It attained university status in 1992. Winthrop has changed considerably since moving to its permanent Rock Hill home in 1895, growing from a single classroom to a comprehensive learning university of distinction. The university is home to over 6,000 students and was recently named one of the Top Ten Regional Public Universities in the South in U.S. News & World Report's "America's Best Colleges" 2006 edition. The Princeton Review has also rated Winthrop among its “Best Southeastern Colleges” in the review's 2006 edition.
- York Technical College opened in 1964 as a Technical Education Center and began with 60 students enrolled in seven programs all housed in one building. The college has grown in the past four decades from the initial enrollment to over 4,000 credit students in more than 70 credit programs. The college campus has also grown from one building to 14. In 1974, York County Technical Education Center became York Technical College. In addition to offering academic programs, the College provides continuing education for approximately 7,000 area residents and more than 250 businesses.
- Clinton Junior College is an institution of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, founded in 1894 as the Clinton Institute. It initially served as a boarding high school, providing high quality education to hundreds of newly freed blacks. In the early years of the 20th century, the school became known as Clinton Normal and Industrial Institute, and was authorized to grant state teacher certificates. The college presently serves as a liberal arts junior college whose major goal is to prepare students to successfully complete a college major at a four-year institution. In 2000, Clinton Junior College is accreditated by the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools (TRACS).
Lore and history
One of the four "Civitas" statues on Dave Lyle Boulevard in Rock Hill
- The city was named for a flint hill of rock that was in the way of the Charlotte and South Carolina Railroad Company, which was building a rail line from Charlotte to Columbia. Much of this rock was removed to make way for the railroad, which built a depot at the site that evenually became known as Rock Hill.
- Rock Hill dates its history to April 17,1852, the day the Rock Hill Post Office opened, even though the town was not officially incorporated until 1870. Thus, Rock Hill celebrated its centennial in 1952 and its sesquicentennial in 2002.
- City limits signs proclaim that Rock Hill is a city with "no room for racism."
- The symbols of the city are the four "Civitas" statues on Dave Lyle Boulevard. Each of them hold discs that symbolize the four different industries in the city. The four Civitas statues located at the GateWay Plaza on Dave Lyle Boulevard were put up in April 1991. The twenty foot tall bronze statues were created by NY artist Audrey Flack. A fifth Civitas statue was placed in the City Hall Rotunda a year later.
- Rock Hill was home to the late Vernon Grant, a commercial artist best known as the creator of Snap, Crackle and Pop, the longtime cartoon mascots of Rice Krispies cereal. Grant also was known for his many depictions of Santa Claus. He created Glen the Frog, the mascot of Rock Hill's annual spring festival, Come See Me.
- Rock Hill's Saint Anne School was the first integrated school in South Carolina. At the time of its desegreation, the school made national news. Soon the school will be receiving a plaque in front of their new location.
- Rock Hill is also home to the Friendship Nine. This was an event that changed the civil Rights movement. They were the first group to practice the "jail-no-bail" system. This meant that they would serve time in prison for protesting. This was reported in the New York Times and News Week. Due to the national attention, protestors around the country took up this system.
- Rock Hill was the setting for two significant events in the American civil rights movement. In February 1961, nine African-American men went to jail at the York County prison farm after staging a sit-in at a segregated McCrory's lunch counter. The event gained nationwide attention because the men followed an untried strategy called "jail, no bail," which lessened the huge financial burden civil rights groups were facing as the sit-in movement spread across the South.They became known as the Friendship Nine because eight of the nine men were students at Rock Hill's Friendship Junior College.
- Later that year, Rock Hill was the first stop in the Deep South for a group of 13 Freedom Riders who boarded buses in Washington, D.C., and headed South to test the 1960 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court outlawing racial segregation in all interstate public facilities. When civil rights leader John Lewis and another man stepped off the bus, they were beaten by a white mob. In 2002, Lewis - by then a U.S. congressman from Georgia - made a triumphant return to the Rock Hill, where he was given the key to the city.
- Central Child Development
- Childrens School at Sylvia Circle
- Ebenezer Avenue
- Finley Road
- India Hook
- Mount Gallant
- Old Pointe
- ParentSmart/Rock Hill Family Resource Center
- Richmond Drive
- Sunset Park
- Trinity Christian School
- York Road
- Westminster Catawba Christian School
Rock Hill is home to a daily newspaper, The Herald. Also, The Charlotte Observer has a Rock Hill bureau that comes out with a York County edition three days a week. Other media include news radio station WRHI (1340 AM, 94.3 FM), educational radio station WNSC (88.9 FM) and CN2, a daily cable news program produced by Comporium Communications. Southside Baptist Church of Rock Hill broadcasts Christian music and Bible teaching from the Fundamental Broadcast Network over its radio station, WRHJ 93.1. Television station WMYT-TV Channel 55, a MyNetworkTV affiliate serving Charlotte, is licensed to Rock Hill.