Hanahan is located on the very south end of Berkeley County, and its city limits on the west and south sides are contiguous with the county line between Berkeley and Charleston Counties. It was incorporated as a city in 1972.
Hanahan is bordered on the west and south by the city of North Charleston, South Carolina. To the east is the old Naval Weapons Station, which was formerly a submarine base, and is still federal property. A very small portion of this federal base is actually in Hanahan's city limits. Among other uses of the former submarine base, the Naval Consolidated Brig is there, as is the Navy's Nuclear Power School. To the north is an unincorporated portion of Berkeley County.
The CSX Railroad has a main north-south track that runs along Hanahan's west city limit. Hanahan is primarily a residential city. It does have quite a number of major warehouses in the southeast portion of the city, most of whose business is tied directly to the Port of Charleston. There are relatively few commercial businesses for a city of its size. Practicing professionals include one medical doctor, five dentists, one veterinarian, three attorneys, an engineering firm, and a professional financial adviser. Hanahan is also the home of a weekly newspaper, "The Hanahan, North Charleston and Goose Creek News." One of the regular guest columnists is local attorney Terry Walker, whose column, entitled "Thunder On The Right," covers a variety of current event topics, appears weekly.
The form of government is council-administrator. The council is the governing body of the city, with the city administrator being hired by, and serving at the pleasure of, the city council. The council and mayor are elected by the voters. The mayor is a first among equals on the council, presiding over council meetings and representing the city at official functions. The council hires and fires department heads. The mayor and council members, though paid a small salary, are not full-time, but are citizens with other jobs.
Most areas of Hanahan are located within a 10-15 minute drive of the major shopping areas, including a regional mall (in North Charleston), in what is known locally as the "North Area." Also within a short drive are Interstate 26 and Interstate 526, as well as U.S. Highway 52.
The public schools in Hanahan are considered to be some of the best in the Tri-County Area (consisting of Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester Counties).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 10.7 square miles (27.7 km²), of which, 10.1 square miles (26.1 km²) of it is land and 0.6 square miles (1.6 km²) of it (5.80%) is water.
There were 5,243 households out of which 27.9% have kids under the age of 18 living with them, 46.1% were married couples living together, 13.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.3% were non-families. 27.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.34 and the average family size was 2.84.
In the city the population was spread out with 21.0% under the age of 18, 13.8% from 18 to 24, 31.5% from 25 to 44, 22.2% from 45 to 64, and 11.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 112.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 113.0 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $39,327, and the median income for a family was $45,246. Males had a median income of $30,354 versus $22,374 for females. The per capita income for the city was $22,629. About 6.0% of families and 15.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 10.9% of those under age 18 and 6.2% of those age 65 or over.