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A+ Columbia Amenities Lots of amenities close to this location
C- Columbia Cost of Living Cost of living is 5% higher than South Carolina
1011% more expensive than the US average
South Carolina
973% less expensive than the US average
United States
100National cost of living index
Columbia cost of living
F Columbia Crime Total crime is 63% higher than South Carolina
Total crime
6,020118% higher than the US average
Chance of being a victim
1 in 17118% higher than the US average
Year-over-year crime
-3%Year over year crime is down
Columbia crime
D Columbia Employment Household income is 9% lower than South Carolina
Median household income
$42,87522% lower than the US average
Income per capita
$25,99013% lower than the US average
Unemployment rate
5%15% higher than the US average
Columbia employment
F Columbia Housing Home value is 14% higher than South Carolina
Median home value
$164,20011% lower than the US average
Median rent price
$85310% lower than the US average
Home ownership
45%29% lower than the US average
Columbia real estate or Columbia rentals
D- Columbia Schools HS graduation rate is 3% higher than South Carolina
High school grad. rates
84%1% higher than the US average
School test scores
41%16% lower than the US average
Student teacher ratio
16:1equal to the US average
Columbia K-12 schools or Columbia colleges

Living in Columbia, SC

Columbia, South Carolina is a mid-sized city with a population of 132,537 residents. Columbia is mostly populated by White (52%) and Black or African American (41%) ethnic groups. With an average age of 28 years old, Columbia could be a great place to live for young adults as this age is well below the national average.

Are you trying to figure out if living in Columbia is the right fit for your lifestyle? To ensure a good experience before moving to any new city in South Carolina, you will probably want to make sure that you check all of the most important boxes. Using the livability score which includes data from categories like education, employment, housing, you can easily compare the best places to live in Columbia and also determine if there are any nearby cities that might be a better match for your lifestyle. You can also compare Columbia to South Carolina and the national average.

With a livability score of 63 out of 100, Columbia is ranked #20,733 in the United States and #223 in South Carolina. If we examine each of the categories on their own, we see that Columbia ranks well for amenities (A+) and weather (B). There is at least one category that did not score well in Columbia. The following was graded with a disappointing score: crime (F), education (D-), employment (D) and housing (F).

Conveniently located amenities and interesting attractions are a great way to continuously enjoy Columbia on a regular basis. Knowing that there are an abundance of amenities and things to do can ensure that you always have access to nearby grocery stores, restaurants and coffee shops. Some of the interesting things to do and attractions include: Riverbanks Zoo and Botanical Garden, South Carolina State Museum, and EdVenture.

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. Median real estate prices in Columbia come in at $164,200, which is 14.3% higher than the South Carolina average. The home price to income ratio compares the median home prices to the median household income. In Columbia, the home price to income ratio is 3.8, which is 22.6% higher than the South Carolina 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 4.7%, and the 5 year appreciation rates came in at 3.3%.

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Monthly costs include: fuel, maintenance, tires, insurance, license fees, taxes, depreciation, and financing.
See more Columbia, SC transportation information

Compare Columbia, SC Livability To Other Cities

Best Cities Near Columbia, SC

PlaceLivability scoreScoreMilesPopulationPop.
Arcadia Lakes, SC835.4991
Chapin, SC8120.71,566
Lake Murray of Richland, SC7915.65,798
Lexington, SC7810.220,315
PlaceLivability scoreScoreMilesPopulationPop.
Pine Ridge, SC757.72,138
Seven Oaks, SC746.815,981
Stateburg, SC7229.21,764
Irmo, SC7211.511,851

How Do You Rate The Livability In Columbia?

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Columbia Reviews

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Pot hole city

Ever since Gov. Pothole Nikki was elected the city streets have deteriorated. They are just now being repaired. The lights are timed horribly and it took me 15 minutes to go 2 blocks. Some are forced to run them. Nightlife is good for a city this size. Some want to turn the statehouse into a playground. Homeless roam the streets. Overall I would enjoy living here more if we had intelligent leadership.
  • 0 0
Worst Place Ever

Columbia, South Carolina is ghetto and crime invested everywhere. The government officials have no respect for good people. There is no help. They will try to arrest you. The only people seem to get respect here are drug users, prostitutes, and those willing to sell out anyone and everyone to get what they want. There are no emergency shelters. This is really not a good place to raise children. Please don't have to go to court for criminal or civil because they don't care. Businesses and their employees are stealing from people. So much violence. People move here to get away well wrong answer. This place lacks any ambiance, the streets and highways are bad, you don't know who is out to get you. They steal so much. It's boring. I'm glad my family and I left an will never return. Seems like the walking dead. The same people get in trouble over and over again and get away with it, how is this. The agencies are so flawed and poorly ran its crazy. It's like the blind leading the blind. Hardly no assistance for women and children. The school buses drive like race cars. What is there to do for families? This place is country and stupid. Be ware!
  • 2 -1
Setting the Record Straight

I lived in Columbia for 15 years. Despite what the last reviewer saw while passing through Columbia has a number of family oriented attractions. There's a really great zoo, a few great museums including a children's museum, a railroad museum and an art museum. Then there's the state museum that always has fun exhibits. There's an inexpensive water park on Ft Jackson. If you like outdoor type stuff you can kayak and canoe down the Broad, Bush and Saluda Rivers. There are a few boats that offer tours and cruises around Lake Murray. There's the Congaree National Park that is absolutely breathtaking. Harbison State Forest is great for hiking and Sesqui State Park is great for picnics. And Saluda Shoals park offers a lot of great events for everyone including kids.

There are two fairly large shopping areas on opposite ends of the city...Harbison and Sandhill. Chances are the previous reviewer stopped in a really old dilapidated Columbia Mall that's over run by teens and young people. If you're looking for high end Fifth Avenue type of shopping you are certainly not going to find it in Columbia but there are great shops and boutiques all over the city including the downtown area, 5 points and the Vista. The same is true for restaurants. The Devine St area has great food...including a number of "international type cuisines".

If you're a history buff go on a couple tours of the historic homes in the downtown area and tour the State House.
There are "gay friendly" spots in the Vista, as well as dance clubs that appeal to the old and young.

In the warmer months there are quite a few pop up markets, bazaars and farmers markets. And lots of free live music!
Lately the city is attracting large musical acts at the various theaters and centers. USC often has free theatrical and music performances. There's also a children's theater. The Town Theatre and the Trustus put on good shows. The Koger Center is is where various ballets, operas and performing arts shows are put on.
The Free Times paper has the best info on the happenings around town!

There is plenty to do in Columbia if you care enough to look!
  • 2 -1
Columbia, SC - Modest At Best

I passed through the city of Columbia, SC a few months ago on vacation with my wife. This was not our first experience in SC and I was expecting a great experience similar to our last visit to SC however I was very disappointed with Columbia.

Columbia is not a bad place but its very modest and we could not find many attractions or things to do. There is very little shopping in Columbia with one below standard mall in the City. The nightlife primarily consists of drunken southern folk which hardly makes it enjoyable nor a family place! The majority of the "night life" is small, poorly maintained bars and the chain restaurants which have ample bars.

While Columbia does have some great historic southern architecture, that is hardly enough to make it a worthy visit! The restaurants and dining in Columbia was above average assuming you enjoy southern cuisine. I do not particularly enjoy southern cuisine therefore that was also not enough for me! There is lack of any real entertainment or family oriented events in Columbia.

My overall impression is that Columbia, SC is a very small college city. If you are looking for a family oriented location, night life or extra impressive dining you may want to cross Columbia off your list. There are far better places to visit in SC than Columbia.
  • 0 0
Reason for reporting
Source: The Columbia, SC data and statistics displayed above are derived from the 2016 United States Census Bureau American Community Survey (ACS).
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