The Market: Geographically, Columbia — the state capital — is in the center of the state, with a two-hour drive from either the Atlantic coast or the Blue Ridge Mountains, and about halfway between New York City and Miami, with easy access to interstate highways. Not just the center of state government, Columbia also is home to the main campus of the University of South Carolina (with 27,000 students) and its developing research park, Innovista, and to Fort Jackson — the country's largest U.S. Army basic training base.
Area Population: 771,700; 804,898 five-year projection
Area Households: 396,400; 416,200 five-year projection
Ethnic Makeup: 49.6% white; 42.2% African American; 4.3% Hispanic; 2.2% Asian; 2.0% multiethnic; 1.3% other; 0.3% American Indian and Alaska Native; 0.1% Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander (Source: 2010 US Census)
Median Age: 37.9 years (2010)
Occupational Categories: White Collar - 265,174; Blue Collar - 106,185
Median Income: $38,807
Median Home Value: $165,700
Transportation: Columbia Metropolitan Airport; Columbia Owens Downtown Airport; interstate highway access via I-20, I-26 and I-77; the Central Midlands Regional Transit Authority (CMRTA) provides bus service to Columbia and nearby suburbs.
Climate: A temperate climate year-round, averaging 82 degrees in summer and 53 degrees in winter, with an average annual rainfall of 50 inches.
Major Employers/Industries: Public Administration, Retail Trade, Health Care and Social Assistance, Manufacturing, Educational Services, Accommodation and Food Services, Other Services, Wholesale Trade, Construction, Professional Scientific and Tech Services, Finance and Insurance, Information, Admin Support and Waste Management, Real Estate Rental and Leasing, Transportation and Warehousing.
Total Retail Sales: $13,409,357
Buying Power Index: .2918
Higher Learning: The University of South Carolina; Allen University; Benedict College; Columbia College; Columbia International University; Southern Wesleyan University; Webster University; Midlands Technical College; Remington College; Columbia International University Seminary; Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary.
Culture: Koger Center for the Arts, a $15 million complex; The Columbia Museum of Art; South Carolina State Museum; EdVenture Children's Museum; Carolina Coliseum; the Colonial Center; 11 theater groups including professional theater; Columbia Classical Ballet Company, Columbia City Ballet, Carolina Ballet and numerous other dance companies; The Palmetto Opera and Opera at USC; South Carolina Philharmonic; the Township Auditorium, which has hosted cultural events in Columbia since 1929.
Sports: University of South Carolina Gamecocks, Williams-Brice Stadium, Carolina Stadium, Carolina Coliseum, Colonial Life Arena, and the Columbia Blowfish minor league baseball team.
Recreation: Riverbanks Zoo & Garden; Lake Murray; Saluda Shoals Park; South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism; City of Columbia Parks & Recreation; Carolina Adventure World; Owens Field Skate Park; over 20 golf courses; disc golf courses; horseback riding; bowling; fishing, swimming, sailing, kayaking and canoeing.
Nightlife: To experience Columbia's nightlife, the Vista is the place to go. Dining, shopping, bars and, maybe most important, hotels are within walking distance of all the Vista establishments. Steaks, oysters, shrimp and exotic beer can be found on the strip of Gervais Street between Harden and Assembly streets. Another popular spot is Five Points, which has a village atmosphere dotted with numerous clubs and restaurants that cater to the college and young professional adult crowd.
Famous Citizens: Coach Steve Spurrier; anchor Rita Cosby; Leeza Gibbons; astronaut Charles Bolden; the late novelist and poet James Dickey; novelist William Price Fox; the late Republican National Committee Chairman Lee Atwater; Miss America Kimberly Aiken; Hootie and the Blowfish; actress Kristin Davis; Strom Thurmond; Jesse Jackson; the late James Brown; comedian Steven Colbert.
Columbia Visitors Bureau: www.columbiacvb.com
Columbia Chamber of Commerce: www.columbiachamber.com
City of Columbia: www.columbiasc.net
SC Chamber of Commerce: www.scchamber.net
University of South Carolina: www.sc.edu
South Carolina State Government: www.sc.gov
Fort Jackson: www.army.mil/info/organization/jackson
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