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A+ Columbia Amenities Lots of amenities close to this location
F Columbia Cost of Living Cost of living is 9% higher than Maryland
Columbia
13030% more expensive than the US average
Maryland
12020% more expensive than the US average
United States
100National cost of living index
Columbia cost of living
C- Columbia Crime Total crime is 16% lower than Maryland
Total crime
2,28917% lower than the US average
Chance of being a victim
1 in 4417% lower than the US average
Year-over-year crime
-1%Year over year crime is down
Columbia crime
B+ Columbia Employment Household income is 35% higher than Maryland
Median household income
$102,89986% higher than the US average
Income per capita
$48,37062% higher than the US average
Unemployment rate
4%14% lower than the US average
Columbia employment
F Columbia Housing Home value is 26% higher than Maryland
Median home value
$364,90098% higher than the US average
Median rent price
$1,60469% higher than the US average
Home ownership
67%5% higher than the US average
Columbia real estate or Columbia rentals
B- Columbia Schools HS graduation rate is 9% higher than Maryland
High school grad. rates
95%14% higher than the US average
School test scores
53%9% higher than the US average
Student teacher ratio
13:120% lower than the US average
Columbia K-12 schools or Columbia colleges

Living in Columbia, MD

Columbia, Maryland is a mid-sized city with a population of 103,439 inhabitants. With a population density of 3,240 people per square mile, Columbia is well above the nation's average density level. Individuals of White (55%) and Black or African American (26%) backgrounds make up a significant portion of the population of the city. If you are looking for a family friendly city, Columbia might be a good fit as 75% of the population over 15 years old are married, and 58% have kids who are 18 years old or younger.

Are you trying to figure out if living in Columbia is the right fit for your lifestyle? To ensure a fulfilling experience before relocating to any new city in Maryland, you will probably want to make sure that you check all of the most important boxes. Finding the best places to live in Columbia and nearby areas is a much easier task when you can rely on information and data from the livability score, which includes cost of living, weather, education, housing and other important metrics.

With a livability score of 70 out of 100, Columbia is ranked #11,308 in the United States and #116 in Maryland. Based on the grades for each individual category, Columbia has been rewarded with high marks for amenities (A+), education (B-) and employment (B+). On a more negative note, Columbia does not have favorable ranks for the following: cost of living (F) and housing (F). If we take a look at the data, we can find out why.

Location, location, location - possibly the three most important words in your search for a new place to live. Fortunately, in Columbia, there is no shortage of amazing local amenities and interesting things to do. Here are some of the more popular things to do in Columbia: Merriweather Post Pavilion, Robinson Nature Center, and Earth Treks Climbing Center.

Columbia real estate prices and overall affordability will play a huge role in determining if the area is the right fit for you. Of course there are probably some other items on your “wish list”, but even before they are considered, let’s take a look at the home prices and affordability in Columbia. The median home price for Columbia homes is $364,900, which is 25.7% higher than the Maryland average. If we take a closer look at the affordability of homes in Columbia, we’ll see that the home price to income ratio is 3.6, which is 5.3% lower than the Maryland average. Purchasing your new home can come with many financial benefits, some of which are more lucrative than others. Perhaps the most notable benefit could be the appreciation of your new home. Home appreciation rates are a good way to generate tax-free equity on a long term basis. The year over year appreciation rates in Columbia were 4%, and the 5 year appreciation rates came in at 2.2%.

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Compare Columbia, MD Livability To Other Cities

Best Neighborhoods In & Around Columbia, MD

PlaceLivability scoreScoreMilesPopulationPop.
Cheswolde Area, Baltimore7714.612,433
Roland Parl-Homewood-Guilford, Baltimore7315.516,535
Franklintown, Baltimore6511.41,503
Glen-Fallstaff Area, Baltimore6413.915,750
PlaceLivability scoreScoreMilesPopulationPop.
Greater Mount Washington, Baltimore64155,164
Downtown, Baltimore6314.34,268
Hunting Ridge, Baltimore6311.211,601
Westgate, Baltimore6310.314,467

Best Cities Near Columbia, MD

PlaceLivability scoreScoreMilesPopulationPop.
Occoquan, VA8641.9947
Countryside, VA8331.410,472
Fair Oaks, VA8335.433,478
Naval Academy, MD8325.16,040
PlaceLivability scoreScoreMilesPopulationPop.
Merrifield, VA8330.617,000
Cascades, VA8230.212,205
Friendship Heights Village, MD8220.64,730
Arlington, VA8225.8226,092
See all Maryland cities

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Columbia Reviews

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Nightlife0/10
Dining0/10
Shopping0/10
Extreme vandalism and theft.

Attractions4/10
Community5/10
Nightlife1/10
Dining5/10
Shopping4/10
I have lived in Columbia for 3 months, it was recommended by multiple people when we found out we were moving to the area. We live in a seemingly quiet cul-de-sac with an entrance to the trail network that we have previously enjoyed taking our dogs on. We recently had our vehicle broken into, door window was completely smashed and belongings were scattered across left out in the rain. Turns out our vehicle was not the only one. There were 6 on our street, 5 on the next, and 3 on another. We were informed by other neighbors that this was not the first time (would've been nice if we had known prior). When the cop arrived he was disinterested in and seemed annoyed that he was there. He did inform us that there were more than the number that we had given him and that wasn't including the other side of the community which got hit hard as well. He also told us we would've been better off if we did not lock our vehicle and that it was just kids being kids. For the thousands of dollars of property damage on our street alone (not including stolen items) I felt like more could've been done especially if they are aware that this is a reoccurring issue. It's a shame because Columbia does have a variety of amenities but not of that matters if you don't feel safe in your own neighborhood.
  • 3 0
Fraud

Attractions/10
Community/10
Nightlife/10
Dining/10
Shopping/10
I lived in Columbia for more than 10 years. While there are many friendly, pleasant, and neighborly people in Columbia, a significant proportion, perhaps a majority, are arrogant, self righteous, narrow-minded, and entitled. Columbia was founded as an experiment in new town living in the 60s and attracted many idealists with progressive view points. There was a significant sense of community and inclusiveness. At least that's the story. When I lived there, within the last few years, that's curdled into a sense of propriety and significant separation. New comers are looked down upon and ignored. If you didn't move to Columbia in the 70s or earlier (a group that refers to itself as "pioneers") your opinion is worthless. The pioneers consider Columbia to be theirs. As one of them told me once, "you have to understand. We are always watching and we see everything". While there is a degree of diversity, classism renders that nearly valueless today.Falling home values in most of Columbia, has never recovered from the real estate crash, have added to the tension as the pioneers have seen increases in home prices dwindle,mleaving them with less to cash out. Changes to the down town area, which benefit corporations in ways in which old socialists who have worked for government all their lives cannot hope to understand, are fueling this growing sense of entitled anger. The whole community reeks of smoldering discontent. I drive to Annapolis to shop, although Columbia is much closer. I go there only when I absolutely must.
  • 2 0
Diverse, expensive, good schools and lots of shopping

Attractions7/10
Community8/10
Nightlife7/10
Dining7/10
Shopping8/10
I was born and raised in Columbia. I graduated HS in 1998 and the majority of my graduating class went to college or joined the military. The school system here is pretty decent. I would feel safe sending my kids (if I had them) to Howard County Public schools. There are private schools around here as well and they all have great reputations.

Columbia has alot of government workers living here due to the close proximity to Washington DC/NoVA/Baltimore. Thre are plenty of jobs, you may not want to do them (fast food, waitressing, sign spinning, cleaning, retail) but there are opportunities for those who don't have college. There is a great community college, HCC, that I graduated from with a Registered Nurse AA. Columbia is pretty liberal, but if you look hard you can find the Right wingers. There is a magnet for your car that says "Choose Civility" meaning that we as Howard Countians should think about others, make the right decisions, be courteous, etc. I personally have one that says "Choose Insanity, Live in HoCo." I always have to be different!

The Columbia Mall is top notch with great shopping. There's the usual Target, Walmart, Old Navy, and drug stores as well as the local grocery chains of Wegmans, Giant, Safeway, and Harris Teeter. The restaurants are pretty decent, the chains and the independents. There is plenty of things to do on the weekends especially for young kids/families. There
is always complaints that there isn't anything to for teenagers to do but I don't think teenagers know what they want to do in the first place! The mall and movies (2 theaters at that), lots of sports. TONS of sports and county run activities. Lacrosse and soccer are pretty important around here. There is also Merriweather Post Pavillion which is a concert venue that has history going back to the late 60's. Great place to see an outdoor show.

Housing is not cheap. I'm not going to lie, but its going to break your bank unless you make a decent salary or have roommates. My rent is $1400 for a 1 bedroom with a den near the mall. Its a nice complex; there are some areas that have section 8 housing that are really not safe. There's alot of car thefts/petty theft in these areas and it is a shame because James Rouse (the founder of Columbia's concept) didn't intend for it to be like that. If you want to buy a house, a condo will start at $150,000-300,000. A townhouse $190-400,000 and a single family home can run $250,000 to 700,000 with the median somewhere around 350-400,000. Property taxes are high from what I understand but we are a "rich county." Personally I don't think I want to pay that much for a house in Columbia when I can go to a different county in MD and pay less. But Columbia is accessible to major highways and is central between DC and Baltimore. Traffic is typical during rush hours, a little congestion but we are between 2 major cities with lots of highways so thats to be expected. And our roads are maintained well, no crumbling bridges or miles of potholes.

There is a strong Volunteer Fire Dept as well as Professional FF's as well as a great Police Department. They take good care of us and the community. There are community "laws" that make you follow the rules as far as stuff like you can't just paint your door pink and your house purple; you have to have the neighborhood approve it. There is a Columbia Association that runs the pools, gyms, and other stuff. We even have a few man-made lakes with trails to ride/walk/run on. Rumor has it we are getting a dog park next year; Columbia is very dog friendly.

This is definitely a decent place to raise kids if you can afford to buy here. Living here single has its perks but its pricey to rent apartments without roommates. Downtown Baltimore is better for the single life in my opinion.

And last but not least Howard County General Hospital...its a decent hospital. I worked there for 18 months and I would trust the doctors and nurses with my loved ones and myself. There is an abundance of top notch doctors in the area; they are also affiliated with Johns Hopkins. Other great hospitals and medical facilities are close by in Baltimore.

For older folks or retired folks this is probably not the best area unless you have alot of money. Its very pricey for 55 and Up housing/nursing homes/assisted living. They are good facilities but if you don't have $7k a month for one person, you won't be able to retire and live near here.

So if you take anything from this rambling of mine its that Columbia is aesthetically pleasing, well mannered, and hard working people. The local government is pretty liberal but that is Maryland overall.
  • 1 -1
Columbia, MD - A Nice Place To Stop

Attractions5/10
Community6/10
Nightlife7/10
Dining7/10
Shopping8/10
Columbia, MD has all of the ingredients to make an excellent place to live or visit however it doesn't quite utilize them in a way that makes it successful! I was slightly impressed with Columbia when I passed through in May of 2009 but I can't say I'd ever move there!

The downtown Columbia area is nice and consists of many fancy businesses, shopping and restaurants which give it is a semi-modern feel. I suppose the first problem I had with Columbia is that there really arent' many things to do! There aren't really any special attractions! Visitors can go enjoy a nice day in the park since Columbia does have some wonderful outdoor areas.

In addition the local shopping is pretty decent, plenty of shops and an outstanding mall that offers plenty of selection and even decent dining! Outside of the mall there are also plenty of good places to get high quality food or just a quick and delicious meal! Columbia is in the process of redeveloping downtown and I look forward to see how it might turn out! For now I would recommend Columbia as a day-stop; great to visit the mall and eat.
  • 0 0
Reason for reporting
Source: The Columbia, MD data and statistics displayed above are derived from the 2016 United States Census Bureau American Community Survey (ACS).
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