Columbia is a city located in Richland County, South Carolina. With a 2020 population of 133,031, it is the 2nd largest city in South Carolina (after Charleston) and the 209th largest city in the United States. Columbia is currently declining at a rate of -0.16% annually but its population has increased by 2.91% since the most recent census, which recorded a population of 129,272 in 2010. Columbia reached it's highest population of 134,079 in 2016. Spanning over 139 miles, Columbia has a population density of 978 people per square mile.
The average household income in Columbia is $72,483 with a poverty rate of 22.46%. The median rental costs in recent years comes to $910 per month, and the median house value is $173,400. The median age in Columbia is 28.3 years, 27.5 years for males, and 29.2 years for females. For every 100 females there are 103.5 males.
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 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.
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 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.