Columbia cost of living index

In the event that the cost of living data was unavailable for this city, estimates based upon nearby cities were used. Each cost of living index is based on a national average of 100. If the amount is below 100, it is lower than the national average. If the amount is above 100, it is higher than the national average.
IndexColumbiaSouth CarolinaNational
Cost of living index9995100
IndexColumbiaSouth CarolinaNational
Goods & Services index102101100
Groceries index111109100
Health care index98100100
Housing index9180100
Transportation index9693100
Utilities index98104100
Displayed above is a general overview of the Columbia, SC cost of living index. The overall cost of living index in Columbia, SC is 99, which is 4% higher than the South Carolina average and 1% lower than the national average. The cost of living index is created from the following categories: goods/services (33%), groceries (13%), health care (5%), housing (30%), transportation (9%) and utilities (10%). As you can see, goods/services and housing make up the majority of the overall cost of living index. Everyday goods and services can be a good indicator of the general cost of goods in a given city. In this case, the goods and services in Columbia, SC are 2% higher than the South Carolina average and 2% higher than the national average.

Did you know?

  • The cost of living in Columbia is 4% higher than the South Carolina average.
  • The cost of living in Columbia is 1% lower than the national average.
  • The cost of housing in Columbia is 9% lower than the national average.
  • South Carolina general sales tax is 18% higher than the national average.
  • South Carolina state income tax is 100% lower than the national average.

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Salary Calculator

This is how much you would need to earn in
Price difference in compared to
Cost of living index
Goods & Services index
Groceries index
Health care index
Housing index
Transportation index
Utilities index
The salary calculator is meant to help you compare your salary in Columbia, SC to your potential earning power in another city. This can help you deduce what your salary would need to be in any given city in order for you to live the same lifestyle that you do in your current city. In other words, if you plan on moving to a city where the cost of living is higher than in Columbia, SC, you'll have to make more money in the new city in order to maintain the lifestyle you currently enjoy. To use the Columbia, SC salary calculator, simply input the new city, then move the adjustable slider to match your current income. Once you've selected your income, the calculator will determine if that income is sufficient to support your standard of living in the new city you entered. The calculator will also supply you with a rundown of living costs in the new city.

Median Income & Debt-To-Income Ratio

Median IncomePer YearPer MonthMax Budget (28% DTI)Max Budget (36% DTI)
One can approximate the cost of living and the housing affordability in Columbia, SC by the percentage of a person’s income that he or she spends on the monthly housing, otherwise known as the debt-to-income ratio (DTI). To stay on the safe side and keep one’s head above the water, a consumer should never spend more than 28 percent of his or her gross income on housing-related expenses and costs and not more than 36 percent of income on all expenses and debts. Homeowners in Columbia, SC have a median income of $67,315. Therefore, the amount that a consumer should spend on housing costs should be no more than $1,571 per month to avoid calamity and poverty. The renters in the city have an income of about $28,054, which would make their monthly maximum allowable rental costs $655.

South Carolina Sales Tax

StateGeneral Sales TaxWith Max Surtax
South Carolina6%9%

South Carolina Income Tax

StateIncome Tax (Low)Income Tax (High)
South Carolina0%7%
When considering the overall cost of living expenses in Columbia, SC, it's important to take into account the sales tax for South Carolina, as well as the rate for income tax in South Carolina. Goods and services sold to consumers in any state have some form of sales tax. Each state has its own tax code, which means that sales tax rates vary from state to state, ranging from over 7% in some states to as low as 0% in others. The maximum surtax for South Carolina is 9%, and the sales tax in the state of South Carolina is 6%. Alternatively, the tax imposed on your income by the state government is known as income tax. The rate for this tax also varies from state to state, and your rate is affected by your tax bracket, which is determined by your level of income. Income tax rates might be as high as 9%, down to as low as 0%. The range for income tax rates in South Carolina starts from 0% and goes up to 7%.

Goods & Services

ItemColumbiaNational avg.Difference
Haircut $17.33$14.5918.8%
Beauty Salon $38.33$34.6810.5%
Toothpaste $3.46$2.4739.9%
Shampoo $1.34$1.0231.1%
Movie $13.26$9.8734.4%
Bowling $3.88$4.3911.7%


ItemColumbiaNational avg.Difference
Ground Beef $5.49$4.4822.6%
Fried Chicken $1.49$1.461.8%
Milk $2.77$2.3617.5%
Potatoes $3.59$3.0617.3%
Pizza $7.99$9.2413.6%
Beer $8.41$8.632.6%

Health Care

ItemColumbiaNational avg.Difference
Optometrist $97.50$99.782.3%
Doctor $97.50$105.037.2%
Dentist $85.00$88.704.2%
Ibuprofen $9.49$9.410.8%
Lipitor $319.22$298.506.9%


ItemColumbiaNational avg.Difference
Home Price $159,600.00$175,700.009.2%
Avg. Mortgage Payment $734.00$1,081.0332.1%
Apartment Rent $833.00$920.009.5%


ItemColumbiaNational avg.Difference
Gasoline $2.00$2.094.4%
Tire Balancing $44.00$45.292.8%


ItemColumbiaNational avg.Difference
All Electricity$178.74$170.804.7%
Phone $24.99$28.2611.6%
Although the cost of living data is updated regularly, this cost of living information is to be used as estimates only as prices can change on an ongoing basis.

Nearby cities with low cost of living

City, StatePopulationCost of Living IndexNational Avg.
Springdale, SC2,21687-13%
Hopkins, SC3,25788-12%
Gaston, SC1,57189-11%
St. Andrews, SC21,29891-9%
Woodfield, SC9,48492-8%
Columbia, SC131,33199-1%

Cities with similar population

City, StatePopulationCost of Living IndexNational Avg.
Sterling Heights, MI130,60493-7%
New Haven, CT130,55311919%
Frisco, TX130,49911919%
Bellevue, WA132,26815858%
West Valley City, UT132,32998-2%
Columbia, SC131,33199-1%
Source: The Columbia, SC cost of living data displayed above is derived from the Council for Community and Economic Research (C2ER) for the fourth quarter of 2015.