Columbia, the largest city in South Carolina, is known as the Capital of Southern Hospitality and home to the South Carolina State Fair. The city had a 2009 population of 129,333, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Residents and visitors explore the city's parks, including Finlay Park, an 18-acre park with beautiful views of downtown Columbia.
Columbia Colleges and Universities
The Greater Columbia area is home to six major colleges and universities, including the University of South Carolina. Other local colleges in Columbia include Allen University, Benedict College, and Columbia College. A number of online schools also have campuses in the city, including University of Phoenix, Strayer University, and South University.
Living and Working in Columbia, SC
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that workers in South Carolina earned mean annual wages of $39,020 in 2009, slightly lower than the national average of $43,460. However, that lower wage comes with a lower cost of living in the city: ACCRA reports that cost of living in Columbia was about 3 percent lower than national average in 2009, with housing costs 20 percent less than the average. Graduates of Columbia schools may remain in the area to pursue careers in top industries. The BLS reports the top five job sectors in Columbia's Richland County, in terms of employment, from the year 2009:
- Trade, transportation, and utilities
- Education and health services
- Professional and business services
- Financial activities
- Leisure and hospitality
Workers in the county's information industry earned the highest salaries, taking home average weekly wages of $1,142 in 2009. The city unemployment rate was 9.4 percent in July 2010, about on par with the 9.5 percent nationwide average, the BLS notes.