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What to Expect When Living in Columbia, SC

What to Expect When Living in Columbia, SC

Quick, think about the best cities in the Southeast! Perhaps Atlanta and Miami come to mind. But Columbia has nearly 140,000 residents and thousands of established businesses. Living in Columbia, SC can change your life in many ways. Yet some people are hesitant to take the plunge and move to Columbia. If you're finding yourself uncertain, you should answer a few important questions.

What are the pros and cons of living in Columbia, SC? How can you educate yourself and find a new job? Where should you live in Columbia? Get the facts and you can make the best move you'll ever make in your life. Here is your quick guide.


Columbia has an affordable cost of living, though expenses can vary depending on your situation. The average cost of rent per month for one person is $1,956. For a family of four, it costs $4,274, which is still more affordable than in most other areas. Food costs $526 for one person while transportation is $49.30. The monthly salary after tax is $3,922, meaning you'll have enough money to build your savings after covering your expenses. Columbia is cheaper than Atlanta, Nashville, Virginia Beach, and other major cities in the United States. Columbia is roughly as expensive as Raleigh and Jacksonville.

a bridge over a river with a blue sky in the background


The climate in Columbia is fairly comfortable, especially if you grew up in the Southeast. January is the coldest month, with average temperatures ranging between 37.9 degrees Fahrenheit and 52.9 degrees. Columbia does not get much snow, even during the winter. 

The spring in Columbia is mild, with temperatures in the mid-50s to the low-80s. Temperatures can reach an average high of 91.6 degrees in July, with an average heat index of 109.4 degrees. However, July tends to have low humidity, so the climate is not as suffocating. Columbia can have more than 16 days of rain during July. Even during the fall, you can experience a week of rain in October and November. This can cut down on the heat and make it easier to tend your lawn and garden. Columbia gets plenty of daylight throughout the year. You can enjoy roughly 10 hours of daylight in January and December and more than 14 hours every day in June and July. 


The main campus of the University of South Carolina is based in Columbia. The campus has more than 30,000 students, making it the largest college campus in the state. You can take hundreds of programs of studies and pursue graduate and postgraduate degrees. The University of South Carolina also runs seminars and talks, some of which are available to the public for free. 

If you prefer to attend classes at private schools, you can go to Benedict College and Columbia College. Benedict is a historically Black college with traditional undergraduate and graduate programs as well as special programs. If you cannot take classes during the day, you can talk to the Office of Extended Learning Services and arrange nighttime courses with them. Columbia offers more than 30 majors in a range of subjects. The college has a smaller selection of graduate courses, but many of them are available online. You can also go to technical and for-profit schools around the Columbia area. Talk to a college counselor based in Columbia so you can learn about your various options.


Columbia is the state capital, so you can find plenty of jobs with the state government. The county and city governments also have many opportunities, especially if you have prior job experience. 

The University of South Carolina has dozens of postings, especially if you're interested in conducting research or working in medicine. If you're interested in teaching, you can serve as an adjunct professor, gather experience, and then apply for a tenure track. Major healthcare companies like BlueCross BlueShield have offices in the city. You can work as a doctor, executive, or freelance employee for them. Other major businesses with offices in Columbia include AT&T, Palmetto GBA, and Pure Fishing. These companies post jobs on a regular basis, so visit their websites before you move to Columbia. If you're interested in starting a business, you can start one using the state government's website. Office spaces are available for rent and lease around the city, but make sure you are following building codes before you acquire one.


Columbia is organized into many different neighborhoods, each with its own housing opportunities. Main Street is the center of downtown Columbia, with many businesses and popular tourist attractions. If you're looking for fun things to do in Columbia, you should live near Main Street. Five Points is a quirky neighborhood with pubs, coffeehouses, and small restaurants. It's popular amongst young people and artists. The University of South Carolina is based in Five Points, so it's the best neighborhood for college students. If you want a quiet residential neighborhood, you can live in Forest Hills. You can find many homes with a variety of architectural styles and amenities. Seven Oaks is a suburb of Columbia located a few miles outside the city. It is a small residential area with access to Interstate 26 and Interstate 20. This makes it a great place to live in if you need to commute to work. 


Living in Columbia, SC can transform your life. The cost of living is cheaper than in most Southeastern cities, and the weather is refreshing and mild. If you're a student or someone looking for adult education, you have opportunities all over the city. You also have chances to find a new job or advance your career. The key is to find a good neighborhood where you can settle down. Do your research on the city's many neighborhoods. Then talk to a housing expert in the Columbia area. Pine Grove Apartments provides 1, 2, and 3 bedroom apartments for Columbia residents. Contact us today.

a living room with couches chairs and a coffee table