Columbia, South Carolina Population 2021

129,482
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Columbia is a city located in Lexington County and Richland County South Carolina. With a 2020 population of 129,482, it is the 2nd largest city in South Carolina (after Charleston) and the 216th largest city in the United States . Columbia is currently declining at a rate of -0.84% annually but its population has increased by 0.16% since the most recent census, which recorded a population of 129,272 in 2010. Columbia reached it's highest population of 134,129 in 2016. Spanning over 139 miles, Columbia has a population density of 952 people per square mile.

The average household income in Columbia is $76,118 with a poverty rate of 21.77%. The median rental costs in recent years comes to $933 per month, and the median house value is $181,100. The median age in Columbia is 28.5 years, 27.6 years for males, and 29.3 years for females.

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.

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.

Columbia Demographics

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

  • White: 53.38%
  • Black or African American: 39.79%
  • Two or more races: 2.78%
  • Asian: 2.72%
  • Other race: 1.01%
  • Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander: 0.20%
  • Native American: 0.12%
The current population of Columbia, South Carolina is 129,482 based on our projections of the latest US Census estimates. The US Census estimates the 2018 population at 132,770.The last official US Census in 2010 recorded the population at 129,272.

Columbia, South Carolina Population 2021

2019 and 2020 population is estimated by projecting the raw 2018 numbers.

Year Population Growth Growth Rate
2021851,9196,7430.79%
2020845,1766,7430.80%
2019838,4336,7430.80%
2018831,6906,7510.81%
2017824,9397,7510.94%
2016817,1888,0520.99%
2015809,13610,2541.27%
2014798,8828,0401.01%
2013790,8427,5920.96%
2012783,2507,0550.90%
2011776,1956,5490.84%
2010769,6460.00%

Columbia Metro Area Population by Year

Population by Race

Race Population Percentage
White71,14153.38%
Black or African American53,03339.79%
Two or More Races3,6992.78%
Asian3,6262.72%
Some Other Race1,3501.01%
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander2610.20%
American Indian and Alaska Native1630.12%
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Columbia Population by Race

Columbia Population Pyramid $2021

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Columbia Median Age

28.5


Total

27.6


Male

29.3


Female

Columbia Adults

There are 111,736 adults, (13,537 of whom are seniors) in Columbia.

Columbia Age Dependency

35.7

Age Dependency Ratio

13.8

Old Age Dependency Ratio

21.9

Child Dependency Ratio

Columbia Sex Ratio

Female

65,635

49.25%

Male

67,638

50.75%

Columbia Population by Age

Columbia Renter vs Owner Occupied by Household Type

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Columbia Household Types

Type Owner Renter
Married74%26%
Male46.3%53.7%
All46%54%
Non Family34.3%65.7%
Female32.2%67.8%

46.0%

Rate of Home Ownership

Columbia Households and Families

Type Count Average Size Owned
All47,1622.2146
Non Family24,4791.3534.3
Married13,6653.0274
Female7,0913.4132.2
Male1,9273.0246.3

3.07

Average Family Size

2.21

Average Household Size

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Columbia Households by Type

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Education Attained Count Percentage
Less Than 9th Grade2,0222.65%
9th to 12th Grade6,0817.96%
High School Graduate15,34720.09%
Some College14,18518.57%
Associates Degree5,2696.90%
Bachelors Degree18,62224.38%
Graduate Degree14,87119.47%
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Columbia Educational Attainment by Sex (over 25)

Columbia Educational Attainment by Race

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Race Total High School Bachelors
White37,79236,18624,044
Black32,10926,2646,300
Hispanic3,0952,6741,088
Asian2,0311,9651,587
2+ Races1,2341,116414
Other Race756613174
Islander177146
Native American14587

The highest rate of high school graduation is among asian people with a rate of 96.75%.

The highest rate of bachelors degrees is among asian people with a rate of 78.14%.

Columbia Educational Attainment by Race

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Name Average Male Female
Overall$36,622$41,769$32,238
Less Than 9th Grade$18,756$20,864$15,433
High School Graduate$22,067$25,719$19,629
Some College$27,405$30,939$24,320
Bachelors Degree$46,658$53,873$38,434
Graduate Degree$57,152$67,389$53,355

$36,622

Average Earnings

$41,769

Average Male

$32,238

Average Female

Columbia Earnings by Educational Attainment

Columbia Language by Age

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Columbia Language

91.82% of Columbia residents speak only English, while 8.18% speak other languages. The non-English language spoken by the largest group is Spanish, which is spoken by 3.84% of the population.

Columbia Language

Columbia Poverty by Race

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Name Total In Poverty Poverty Rate
Black44,43713,52130.43%
White51,2547,65514.94%
Asian2,69858421.65%
Multiple2,19447521.65%
Hispanic4,18847211.27%
Other1,13024121.33%
Native11310290.27%
Islander185189.73%

21.77%

Overall Poverty Rate

20.12%

Male Poverty Rate

23.30%

Female Poverty Rate

Poverty in Columbia

The race most likely to be in poverty in Columbia is Native, with 90.27% below the poverty level.

The race least likely to be in poverty in Columbia is Islander, with 9.73% 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 32.15%, and for those that did not work, the poverty rate was 34.64%.

Columbia Poverty

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Name Poverty
Less Than 9th Grade41.01%
High School24.75%
Some College15.53%
Bachelors or Greater5.31%

Columbia Poverty Rate by Education

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Rate Poverty
Female Unemployed53.15%
Male Unemployed37.80%
Female Employed14.83%
Male Employed9.31%

Columbia Poverty Rate by Employment Status and Sex

Columbia Income by Household Type

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Name Median Mean
Households$47,286$76,118
Families$70,196$106,180
Married Families$100,249$144,168
Non Families$32,083$47,164
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Income by Household Type

Columbia Marital Status

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Marriage Rates

27.8%

Overall Marriage Rate

28.6%

Male Marriage Rate

26.9%

Female Marriage Rate

Columbia Married by Age and Sex

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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

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Columbia Marital Status

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7,534

Number of Veterans

6,384

Male Veterans

1,150

Female Veterans

War Veterans
Second Gulf War2,425
First Gulf War2,165
Vietnam2,073
Korea282
World War II128

Columbia Veterans by War

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Age Group Veterans
35 to 542,176
55 to 641,812
65 to 741,569
18 to 341,108
75+869

Columbia Veterans by Age

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Name Veterans % of Total
White3,5936.40%
Black3,5388.87%
Hispanic3659.08%
2+ Races1948.71%
Other Race12511.37%
Asian421.47%
Islander2517.48%
Native American1712.78%

Columbia Veterans by Race

Columbia Veterans by Education

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8.72%

Veteran Poverty Rate

26.31%

Veteran Disability Rate

Columbia Veterans by Education

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64.7%

Labor Force Participation

52.7%

Employment Rate

6.7%

Unemployment Rate

Columbia Employment by Age

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Columbia Employment by Race

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Columbia Employment by Education

Origin of Non-Citizens

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

Origin of Naturalized Citizens

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52.46%

Born in Columbia

94.97%

Native Born

5.03%

Foreign Born

3.25%

Non Citizen

1.78%

Naturalized

Place of Birth

94.97% of Columbia residents were born in the United States, with 52.46% having been born in South Carolina. 3.25% of residents are not US citizens. Of those not born in the United States, the largest percentage are from Asia.

Columbia Place of Birth

Year Population Growth Annual Growth Rate
2021129,482-1,096-0.84%
2020130,578-1,096-0.83%
2019131,674-1,096-0.83%
2018132,770-1,235-0.92%
2017134,005-124-0.09%
2016134,1295130.38%
2015133,6161,8351.39%
2014131,7812540.19%
2013131,527-234-0.18%
2012131,7614590.35%
2011131,3025280.40%
2010130,77414,4961.18%
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%

Columbia Population by Year