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Cost of living in Columbia

We’ve broken down the cost of living in Columbia, South Carolina, comparing it to other states and the US national average.

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The HOPE installment is on Main Street on the 1500 block. | Photo by COLAtoday

Table of Contents

With Columbia constantly growing and announcing multiple high-profile developments this year, we figured it was time to talk about the cost of planting some roots in the Soda City.

The median household income in Richland County is $54,441 according to the US Census Bureau. State-wise, SC is 41 in the country for median income at ~$54,864 per household.

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The overall cost of living in Cola is lower than the national average. | Screenshot via

The overall cost of living in Cola is lower than the national average, and lower than the rest of the state.

In Columbia, the cost of healthcare is higher compared to other parts of the state + the US. However, the cost of groceries, housing, transportation, and other miscellaneous expenses in the city have lower or on average costs compared to other cities in South Carolina and the country overall.

Breaking down the numbers

Hypothetically speaking, if you live in a household that brings in $50,000 annuallyaccording to experts — you shouldn’t spend more than 30% of your monthly gross income on rent and utilities. Don’t worry, we did the math for you — your max monthly budget would be $1,250. The average monthly rent for an apartment in Cola is $1,321 — putting you over budget.

According to a recent study by Attom Data Solutions, it’s actually more affordable to buy a home in Richland County than to rent.

Take a look at the chart below to see how Columbia’s cost of living compares to that of the Greenville.

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Columbia has less affordable health care than Greenville. | Screenshot via

Interested in seeing Cola’s cost of living compared to cities in other states? We played around on nerdwallet’s cost of living calculator, where you can put in any city along with your current pre-tax household income to find out what other cities you could actually afford to live in.

We took a look at the cost of living in Columbia compared to Raleigh. Here’s what we found:

  • The cost of living is 21.2% higher in Raleigh.
  • To maintain our standard of living, we would need to bring in $60,592 to our Cola household.
  • The median cost for a two-bedroom apartment is $1,631, which is $310 more than Cola.

Columbia also has entities such as Columbia Housing + other government-funded programs to help develop more affordable units.

There are also a number of local development firms working on apartments seemingly all the time — from Trinity Partners’ 4West in West Columbia to the affordable housing development from GDA Partners at Garden Lakes.

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