Columbia, South Carolina Population 2020

133,451

Columbia is a city located in the state of South Carolina. It is the county seat for Richland County and is also the state capital. Part of the city is also located in Lexington County. The city has an estimated population of 133,451, and it is the second most populous city in South Carolina.

Columbia History

The Congaree people were the first known inhabitants of what is now Columbia. In 1540, Hernando de Soto was the first European to come to Columbia. However, the city was not settled until many years later, when the South Carolina General Assembly created the city in 1786. The area was selected as the state’s capital, although some legislators originally wanted to call the city Washington. Columbia was one of the first planned cities in the nation.

The State Legislature first met in Columbia at the end of the 18th century. At the beginning of the 19th century, Columbia was incorporated as a village before achieving city status in 1854.

When first designed, Columbia was divided into 400 blocks across a 2-mile square. Each block was further divided into half-acre plots and sold. There were rules put in place for the houses that were to be built on these plots of land. During the beginning of the 19th century, the city began to grow, with its population closing in on 1,000 residents.

It was also during the beginning of the 19th century that the University of South Carolina was founded, to provide Upcountry and Lowcountry South Carolinians with educational opportunities without having to leave the country.

It was around 1816 when the population grew to over 1,000, and there were about 250 homes in the town. As the 19th century progressed, Columbia received its city charter, a police force, and a railroad, which contributed to further population growth. Around the mid-1850s, the city’s economy revolved around the cotton industry and because of that, thousands of slaves lived in Columbia.

During the Civil War, much of the city was destroyed by fire. In 1865, the city began to rebuild and experienced a construction boom. The city continued to grow.

During the 20th century, Columbia was taking on a role as a hub for textile manufacturing. Six mills employed thousands of workers in the area. In the early 20th century, paved roads were constructed for the first time on Main Street, and there was another construction boom that included the development of a bank, hotels, and a shopping center. This trend only continued through the 1930s when the city had over 800 retail establishments. It was also during the early 1900s when Camp Jackson was established, which later became Fort Jackson.

During the second half of the 20th century, the city took on historic preservation projects to restore and renovate historic buildings which still stand today. Revitalization continued through the 1990s and 2000s, particularly in the downtown area. New additions include shopping centers, a children’s museum, an arena, art galleries, shops, restaurants and more, as well as a very diverse economy based on government, healthcare, and finance. Columbia is also home to major companies including Michelin, SCANA, Honeywell and Westinghouse Electric.

Population Size and Density in Columbia, South Carolina

The city of Columbia currently has an estimated population of around 133,114 people. The city stretches across nearly 135 square miles, and it has a population density of over 977 people per square mile.

Columbia Age, Gender, and Religion Statistics

The largest age group is the 25 to 44 group, which makes up over 30% of the population. Over 20% of residents are under age 18, while 10.3% are at least 65 years old.

There are more female residents than males, with 93.4 men for every 100 women. About 22.1% of the population lives below the federal poverty line.

There are many religions observed throughout Columbia, with residents that are Baptist, Methodist, Lutheran, Catholic, and Jewish, to name a few.

Top Employers in Columbia

Columbia’s top employers include Blue Cross Blue Shield, the University of South Carolina and the Palmetto Health hospital system.

Columbia Population Growth

Census data show that for the most part, Columbia’s population has only grown throughout the years. In 1880, the population had exceeded 10,000. This number more than doubled by 1900. In 1930, the city passed the 50,000 mark, and in 1970, Columbia had over 100,000 residents. However, the 1980s and 1990s saw drops in population, falling below 100,000. However, at the time of the 2000 census, the population had bounced back again. Current estimates show that the population has risen almost 4% since the last census taken in 2010, indicating that this city will see continued growth.

Columbia Demographics

According to the most recent ACS, the racial composition of Columbia was:

  • White: 52.84%
  • Black or African American: 40.44%
  • Two or more races: 2.77%
  • Asian: 2.68%
  • Other race: 0.96%
  • Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander: 0.21%
  • Native American: 0.11%

How Many People Live in Columbia, South Carolina?

133,451
Year Population Growth Annual Growth Rate
2018133,451-418-0.31%
2017133,869-210-0.16%
2016134,0794950.37%
2015133,5841,7991.37%
2014131,7852590.20%
2013131,526-218-0.17%
2012131,7444580.35%
2011131,2865030.38%
2010130,78314,5051.18%
2000116,27818,2261.72%
199098,052-3,177-0.32%
1980101,229-12,313-1.14%
1970113,54216,1091.54%
196097,43310,5191.15%
195086,91424,5183.37%
194062,39610,8151.92%
193051,58114,0573.23%
192037,52411,2053.61%
191026,3195,2112.23%
190021,1085,7553.23%
189015,3535,3174.34%
188010,0367380.77%
18709,2981,2461.45%
18608,0521,9922.88%
18506,0601,7203.39%
18404,3401,0302.75%
18303,3100.00%
Year Total Population Growth Annual Growth Rate
2018832,6667,5560.91%
2017825,1107,7730.94%
2016817,3378,0930.99%
2015809,24410,2881.27%
2014798,9568,0661.01%
2013790,8907,6630.97%
2012783,2277,1210.91%
2011776,1066,4590.83%
2010769,6470.00%

Population by Race

Race Population Percentage
White70,46652.84%
Black or African American53,93440.44%
Two or More Races3,6882.77%
Asian3,5742.68%
Some Other Race1,2740.96%
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander2750.21%
American Indian and Alaska Native1410.11%

Columbia Population Pyramid 2020

Columbia Median Age

28.3


Total

27.5


Male

29.2


Female

Columbia Adults

There are 111,977 adults, (12,925 of whom are seniors) in Columbia.

Columbia Age Dependency

34.6

Age Dependency Ratio

13

Old Age Dependency Ratio

21.6

Child Dependency Ratio

Columbia Sex Ratio

Female

65,540

49.15%

Male

67,812

50.85%

Columbia Households and Families

Columbia Renter vs Owner Occupied by Household Type

Columbia Household Types

Type Owner Renter
Married73.4%26.6%
All45.1%54.9%
Male44.8%55.2%
Non Family33.4%66.6%
Female32%68%

45.1%

Rate of Home Ownership

Type Count Average Size Owned
All46,8222.2345.1
Non Family24,3451.3833.4
Married13,3843.0273.4
Female6,9923.4832
Male2,1013.0144.8

3.08

Average Family Size

2.23

Average Household Size

5.4%

Unmarried (Opposite Sex)

0.6%

Unmarried (Same Sex)

Columbia Education

Education Attained Count Percentage
Less Than 9th Grade2,2332.93%
9th to 12th Grade6,2148.16%
High School Graduate15,40720.24%
Some College14,34318.84%
Associates Degree5,3136.98%
Bachelors Degree18,09623.77%
Graduate Degree14,52919.08%

Columbia Educational Attainment by Race

Name Total High School Bachelors
White37,41835,80923,599
Black32,32826,4256,186
Hispanic3,1082,446991
Asian1,8541,7451,323
Multiple Races1,2481,136524
Other Race739580151
Islander172158
Native American1136511

The highest rate of high school graduation is among white people with a rate of 95.70%.

The highest rate of bachelors degrees is among asian people with a rate of 71.36%.

Name Average Male Female
Overall$34,767$40,065$31,186
Less Than High School$15,975$18,842$12,939
High School Grad$21,590$24,989$18,307
Some College$27,629$31,379$24,049
Bachelors Degree$44,150$52,780$36,971
Graduate Degree$55,691$66,711$51,571

$34,767

Average Earnings

$40,065

Average Male

$31,186

Average Female

Columbia Language

Columbia Language by Age

Columbia Language

91.73% of Columbia residents speak only English, while 8.27% speak other languages. The non-English language spoken by the largest group is Spanish, which is spoken by 3.67% of the population.

Columbia Poverty

Columbia Poverty by Race

Name Total In Poverty Poverty Rate
Black44,81414,20731.70%
White51,1697,66114.97%
Hispanic4,17763615.23%
Asian2,75861422.26%
Multiple2,11540819.29%
Other1,03016816.31%
Native1188773.73%

22.46%

Overall Poverty Rate

20.70%

Male Poverty Rate

24.10%

Female Poverty Rate

Poverty in Columbia

The race most likely to be in poverty in Columbia is Native, with 73.73% below the poverty level.

The race least likely to be in poverty in Columbia is White, with 14.97% below the poverty level.

The poverty rate among those that worked full-time for the past 12 months was 4.17%. Among those working part-time, it was 33.01%, and for those that did not work, the poverty rate was 34.84%.

Name Poverty
Less Than High School41.06%
High School25.71%
Some College15.82%
Bachelors or Greater5.90%
Name Poverty
Female Unemployed54.95%
Male Unemployed38.38%
Female Employed15.04%
Male Employed10.09%

Columbia Income

Columbia Income by Household Type

Name Median Mean
Households$45,663$72,483
Families$66,070$99,735
Married Families$96,859$135,980
Non Families$32,347$46,184

Columbia Marital Status

Columbia Marital Status

Marriage Rates

27.4%

Overall Marriage Rate

28.4%

Male Marriage Rate

26.4%

Female Marriage Rate

Columbia Married by Age and Sex

Columbia Marriage

The age group where males are most likely to be married is Over 65, while the female age group most likely to be married is 35-44.

Columbia Marital Status by Race

Columbia Veterans

8,061

Number of Veterans

6,656

Male Veterans

1,405

Female Veterans

War Veterans
Second Gulf War2,798
First Gulf War2,162
Vietnam2,137
Korea325
World War II156
Age Group Veterans
35 to 542,449
55 to 641,695
65 to 741,496
18 to 341,448
75+973

Columbia Veterans by Race

Name Veterans % of Total
White3,8416.84%
Black3,7749.29%
Hispanic3849.63%
2 or More2018.92%
Other15413.96%
Asian401.36%
Hawaiian3424.46%
Indian1713.93%

Columbia Veterans by Education

10.03%

Veteran Poverty Rate

25.86%

Veteran Disability Rate

Columbia Employment Status

64.7%

Labor Force Participation

52.8%

Employment Rate

7.4%

Unemployment Rate

Columbia Place of Birth

Origin of Non Citizens

Non citizens include legal permanent residents (green card holders), international students, temporary workers, humanitarian migrants, and illegal immigrants.

Origin of Naturalized Citizens

52.48%

Born in South Carolina

94.59%

Native Born

5.41%

Foreign Born

3.66%

Non Citizen

Place of Birth

94.59% of Columbia residents were born in the United States, with 52.48% having been born in South Carolina. 3.66% of residents are not US citizens. Of those not born in the United States, the largest percentage are from Asia.