Columbia, the official capital of South Carolina is situated in the heart of the state 2 hours away from the bank of River Congaree of Richland County.
Founded in 1786, the River City is home to many reputed colleges and universities offering high-quality higher education and great employment opportunities, which predominantly drives people to move to Columbia.
If you’re one of them who stopped by to get your answers regarding South Carolina, we’ve got you covered through this blog post. Read on!
1. What is Columbia SC Known For?
Also known as Soda City, Columbia SC is highly renowned for its rich history, cultural heritage, strong education and politics.
It is the state capital of South Carolina which offers insight into the history of the South Carolina State Museum and the South Carolina State House.
Moreover, the city is home to the University of South Carolina and many colleges and institutions.
On the other hand, the city is near Fort Jackson, one of the greatest and busiest U.S. Army training centres.
The notable palmetto trees found throughout the city give identity and add a unique natural charm to Columbia’s landscape.
Columbia has a beautiful Congaree River along the Congaree National Park and trails, that offer various recreational activities.
2. Is Colombia Safe?
Columbia has notably a higher violent and property crime rate of 40 and 76, than the state average of 28 and 46 and national average of 23 and 35 respectively.
This shows that residents are at a higher risk of becoming a victim of both violent and property crimes at 1 in 133 and 1 in 25 respectively than in other cities of the US.
The one area where Columbia doesn’t stand out is in its crime rate, which is higher than South Carolina.
It’s estimated to have over 10,000 total crimes yearly, which doesn’t make it a safe place to raise a family—also, walking alone at night, roaming in high-risk areas like Belmont, Fairwold, Lorrick Drive, St Andrews Terrace Rd, downtown Columbia, and Melo Drive at night, as they are complete with buying and selling drugs, gang rape, robbery, burglary and more.
However, the college and university areas of the city are safe to live in Columbia SC for students, young professionals and families.
Due to higher crime statistics, local authorities are urgently addressing crime issues for public security and safety.
Check out the following table of the crime rate of Columbia vs. South Carolina vs. the US.
|Crime type||Columbia||South Carolina||US|
3. Things to know before moving to Columbia
Before moving to Columbia SC you must learn if the city fits your needs and requirements by knowing it’s important things to consider for an easier and more enjoyable life. So, here is it!
4. Living in Columbia
With a population of over 150,000 people, the second largest city of South Carolina, Columbia, is a traditional town with a modern essence.
It offers a small-town feel with metro city amenities and perks, a relaxed environment, a big city hustle and bustle, and plenty of stress-less things to do and enjoy in a quick getaway.
Besides this, it’s rich history and cultural scene, beautiful green areas, comfortable weather, thriving nightlife, world-class tourism spots, and family-friendly people are what you’ll get as a Columbian.
Life in Columbia as an expat or visitor is going to be great. With a relatively lower cost of living, a wide range of culinary experiences, and unique outdoors for all ages, its existence at the Central location, top-rated educational institutions, and residing beside Lake Murray creates a delightful experience to thrive for.
5. Cost of Living in Columbia
Columbia has a lower cost of living than any other metropolis in the US, offering a green signal to expats for residing in the city.
The average cost of living in Columbia, SC is 2% less than the state average of 89 and 13% less than the national average of 100.
A person has to earn an annual income of $40,000 or more to lead a standard lifestyle in Columbia.
The cost of living for a single individual and a family of four averages $2,500 and $5500 per month respectively.
The annual household income of an individual and a family of four in Columbia SC averages $45,000 and $80,000 respectively.
Columbia offers a budget-friendly cost of living with more saving benefits on amenities like grocery, housing, and transportation costs.
However, the health care expenses and utilities costs significantly appear above average, but provide top-class services, without any rupture.
Rental prices and property taxes also remain on the lower side, which means picking up a new home and getting a rental home becomes easier than ever.
Presenting a comparison between the cost of living in Columbia vs. the average cost of living in South Carolina with the US average in a table below:
|Cost of living||Columbia||South Carolina||US|
6. Taxes in Columbia
Columbia SC is a tax-friendly state, having lower property and sales taxes. The total sales tax rate of Columbia is 6%, including state, county, city, and local sales taxes.
Moreover, the city charges 2% of local sales tax. Some vital products such as medicines, drugs, and groceries are exempted from the sales tax.
Alcohol, cigarettes, and gasoline are subjected to excise tax along with the sales tax.
The best thing about South Carolina is that it has the lowest property tax rates as compared to other cities.
The median property tax rate in Columbia SC is 0.8%, which is below the national average of 0.99%.
Property tax is regulated and charged by the local governments, with the help of the SCDOR. Additionally, Columbia does have an income tax rate of up to 6%.
Study the types of taxes and their rates in Columbia, SC imposed by the government below.
7. Housing in Columbia
It has always been challenging to find spacious, affordable, and readily available homes and real estate properties in Columbia, compared to any other city in the United States.
The average home value in Columbia SC is approximately $210,000, which is 37.8% lower than the national average.
Renters also get affordable rates of rental homes starting from $700 per month for a studio home and range to $1500 per month for a 3-bedroom home.
Columbia provides a reasonable opportunity for both renters and home buyers looking for a home with a lower cost of living, lower property tax rates and enough potential for property recognition.
The market has a steady and stable growth, which has reduced from last year by 6% but is expected to increase by 4% within the upcoming years.
|Median home cost||$204,100||$338,100|
|Rental cost of a studio||$1020||$1080|
|Rental cost of 1 bedroom||$1070||$1180|
|Rental cost of 2 bedroom||$1210||$1430|
|Rental cost of 3 bedroom||$1550||$1860|
8. Weather conditions in Columbia
Columbia has a humid subtropical climate, with very warm, hot, and sunny summers and relatively mild, cold winters, with sparsely clouded skies year-round.
Over time, the average temperature typically ranges from 35-94°F and rarely drops below 20°F or rises above 100°F.
The best time of the year to visit Columbia is from April to June, and September to October.
Columbia experiences four distinct seasons- summers that last for 3.8 months, winters that last for 3 months, along with snowfall and fall season.
Springs and falls are moderate, and pleasant, mostly occurring during winter months with vibrant foliage.
The city sometimes experiences Atlantic theory, causing heavy rainfall, soaring winds and periodic floodings.
The most comfortable months of the year in Columbia are April, May and October.
While July is the hottest month of the year with an average high of 95°F, January is the coldest month of the year in Columbia with an average low temperature of 22,°F with 0.6 inches of significant snowfall.
On average Columbia South Carolina Carolina has 220 sunny days, 48 inches of rainfall, and 1 inch of snowfall every year.
|Months||Weather conditions in Columbia, SC|
|December-April||January is the coldest month of the year with rare snowfall. The average high temperature ranges from 60-70o and lows range from 30oF-50oF.Dry weather with frequent rainfall.|
|April-May||Mild, wet, humid, and warm weather. Rainfall is common with thunderstorms. The mean temperature ranges from 80oF to 90oF.|
|September||Plenty of sunny days and humidity levels during September.Chances of tropical storms or hurricanes and strong winds. The average temperature ranges from 65oF to 80oF.|
|June- November||The onset of summer with high temperatures.Afternoon rainfall with thunderstorms. The hurricane season starts around September. The average high temperature varies from 80oF to 90oF.|
9. Things to do in Columbia
Columbia is a bright and buzzing city that is packed with a lot of activities and scenic beauty.
The city is a hub of various shopping malls, restaurants, parks, entertainment and iconic historical places from the Civil War era.
Columbia is near Saluda and Broad Rivers offers various water activities, such as hiking, kayaking, fishing and boating.
Read on to learn about the fun things to see in Columbia and do for different age groups.
|Kids||Explore EdVenture Children’s Museum. Take a tour of Riverbanks Zoo and GardenVisit Frankie’s Fun Park for fun games. Enjoy puppet shows at Columbia Marionette Theatre. Learn about astronomy at the Melton Memorial Observatory.|
|Families||Book tickets for a South Carolina Night Football Game. Explore the Congaree National Park. Ice skating at the Ice-Skating Center. Try fried chicken or barbecue at the best restaurants in Columbia. Visit historical homes like Robert Mills House, Hampton Preston Mansion, & Woodrow Wilson Family Home.|
|Couples||Visit any one of Columbia’s best breweries. Go for boating on Lake Murray. Explore Downtown by walking to see street art. Romantic walk along the Columbia Canal and Riverfront Park. Watch a movie at the nearby cinema hall.|
|Seniors||Spend a Saturday Morning at Soda City Market. Visit the South Carolina State House. Get insight into the art history of the Columbia Museum of Art. Explore Riverbanks Botanical Garden. Wander at the Harbison State Forest.|
10. Cost of Moving to Columbia
Columbia has approximately 20 full-service movers that operate in the city. The average cost of moving to Columbia SC is $250 per hour.
The price may increase to $8,000 if you are shifting in/out of the state. The movers may charge additional fees depending on the various factors.
The movers charge a high price during weekends or holidays. It is wise to reserve a moving company before 1-2 months of the date of your move during the peak time of May to August.
Below are some of the best moving companies in Columbia that will help you to relocate safely according to your budget.
- Gamecock Moving
- Mobile Attic
- HD Auston Moving Systems
- Ballantyne & Beyond Moving
- JK Moving Services
- Gentlemen Movers Inc
11. Pros and Cons of Living in Columbia
Columbia SC is a unique city offering dozens of activities and amenities to thrive for at a reasonable price range.
While Columbia has many positive aspects, it is important to consider all aspects of a place, including the negative ones, to gain a complete understanding of it.
So, here is the list of pros and cons of living in Columbia that you must know before relocating to Columbia.
- Low cost of living and housing.
- Strong job opportunities in various fields.
- Good quality of education.
- Many recreational activities.
- Delicious southern food.
- Good public transportation.
- Mild and warm weather.
- Hurricane-prone area.
- The infrastructure is poor.
- A lot of traffic.
- The crime rate is relatively high.
12. Best Neighborhoods in Columbia
Columbia offers an urban lifestyle that is not as crowded as major cities. There is truly something for everyone in this city.
The location is the major plus point that drags the attention of the people to live in Columbia SC.
Before moving, learn the best neighbourhoods in Columbia, SC in terms of safety, accessibility, amenities, affordability, and more.
1. The Vista
The Vista is one of the Best Neighborhoods in South Carolina, that lies on the banks of the Congaree River.
The place is filled with nightlife, entertainment, textile industries, art exhibitions, and so on. The Vista is near popular attractions like the S.C.
State Museum, Colonial Life Arena, EdVenture Children’s Museum and the Trustus Theater.
Downtown is a growing neighbourhood that has good real estate. The community is mainly famous for the Columbia Museum of Art and the Nickelodeon Theatre which host various films and festivals every year.
Here, the people are warm and welcoming, and the crime rate is moderate.
Also known as Saxe Gotha, Lexington is located in the western part of downtown Columbia. Lexington is a small town with numerous elementary, middle, and high schools.
Moreover, it is home to the Columbia Metropolitan Airport which connects residents with other places of the world. There are numerous affordable houses on the water on Lake Murray.
Chapin is about 30 minutes away from downtown Columbia. The people relocate to this place mainly due to its outstanding schools.
The city has Crooked Creek Park which serves many recreational, cultural, social, fun and sports activities. Additionally, Chapin hosts local and lavish restaurants that are great for your buds.
Cayce is the most affordable place that is situated by the Congaree River. It is a small and quiet community that has a record of low crime rates.
The Congaree Riverwalk in Cayce boasts ample activities like fishing, boating, strolling, and sights for picnics and events. No doubt, it is an ideal place for raising a family and retirees.
Moving to Columbia FAQ’s
Can you live without a car in Columbia?
You can live without a car in Columbia, SC. You can travel around by Uber, golf carts or horse carriages.
The transit system in Columbia, COMET, is available everywhere and can be recognized by its neon-painted buses. The average fare of the service is around $2.
What’s the population of Columbia?
As estimated in 2023, there are around 2 lakhs of people in Columbia SC. Columbia is mainly inhabited by the Congaree people. The major religions found in Columbia are Baptist, Methodist, Lutheran, Catholic, and Jewish.
What’s the ranking of Colombia’s education system?
Columbia is ranked #12 in the best education system in the US according to US News and World Report, 2023.
Is Columbia SC a good place to retire?
Columbia SC is a good place to retire as it offers several new activities to see and do, lower tax rates, affordable housing prices, and a cost of living and a fixed income for seniors.
How far is Charleston from Columbia?
Charleston is 186 km (2 hours) away from Columbia.
Many people who are considering relocating to South Carolina are unsure of which city would be the best place to settle down.
However, Columbia often becomes their ideal destination. Whether it’s its lower cost of living, reasonable housing prices, thriving job market, or other reasons, it’s a great place to invest in as a resident or visitor.
If you are tired of fast-paced living but want a big-city lifestyle, Columbia becomes the ultimate destination for you, but it’s okay if you are moving to Myrtle Beach too, which also offers the same features as that of Columbia.
While it might give you some insignificant vibes, lately you’ll get to know how easy and convenient it is to settle down and call the soda city your dream home!