Columbia, SC

The Columbia, SC Metro Area is an area consisting of six counties in central South Carolina anchored by the city of Columbia.

Columbia bills itself as being "famously hot," and the humid, sub-tropical climate is well known for its hot and humid summers and mild winters. Columbia is also known for the scenic rivers cutting through the city and Lake Murray, both of which provide a wealth of opportunities for water-sports enthusiasts.

It is a central location for state and federal government institutions as well as current and retired military personnel due to the presence of the Fort Jackson Army installation. Eighteen colleges and universities attract a wealth of international students from around the world. A large yearly International Festival highlights and celebrates the growing ethnic diversity of the city.

Total Population: 810,068

(An increase of 5.53 % in the past 5 years.)

Census Data

  • Foreign Born - 37,807
  • Language Spoken at Home - 49,586

[ Source: American Community Survey (ACS) 5-Year Foreign Born and Language Spoken at Home]

Quick Facts

  • The second largest metro area in the state of South Carolina and ranked as the 61st Most Populated Metro Area in the United States.

  • Columbia was the first city in the United States to be named for Christopher Columbus, the European discoverer of the Americas.

  • The University of South Carolina's International Business Undergraduate Program has been ranked # 1 among American universities for almost two decades, and the International MBA program has been ranked in the top 3 for 25 consecutive years.

  • The cost of living in Columbia is 8.9% lower than the national average.

  • Columbia is situated in the center of the state of South Carolina at the convergence of three scenic rivers lined by a shady river walk.

  • Columbia has recently been named one of “10 Great Cities to Live In,” and has also been named a top mid-sized market in the nation for relocating families.


From the creation of Columbia by the South Carolina General Assembly in 1786, the site of Columbia was important to the overall development of the state and was one of the first planned cities in the United States. Columbia was the site where the Confederacy voted to secede from the United States in 1860, leading to the Civil War and the events that eventually led to the burning of the city in 1865.

Columbia has traditionally been predominantly Caucasian and African-American, but in recent years, has become increasingly ethnically diverse. Large populations from the Americas have come, including many Mexicans, a sizable group of indigenous Mam people from Guatemala (virtually all of the Guatemalans in Columbia are Mam-speaking), and a group of indigenous Quiche from Guatemala in the outlying town of Saluda. There are also significant populations of Mandarin-speaking Chinese, as well as a variety of people groups from throughout Asia and India.

International immigrants are attracted by warm weather, Southern hospitality, and the International Business, scientific and medical research opportunities offered by the University of South Carolina, whose flagship campus is in downtown Columbia.

People Group Highlights

Displaying 1-21 of 21 results.
PG Name Country Of Birth IMB Affinity Group Affinity Bloc Primary Religion Baseline Population Total
MonMyanmar [Burma]Southeast Asian PeoplesSoutheast Asian PeoplesBuddhism - Theravada5
GujaratiIndiaSouth Asian PeoplesSouth Asian PeoplesHinduism322
Arab, SaudiSaudi ArabiaNorth African and Middle Eastern PeoplesArab WorldIslam100
Burmese, BhamaMyanmar [Burma]Southeast Asian PeoplesTibetan / Himalayan PeoplesBuddhism - Theravada60
RakhineMyanmar [Burma]Southeast Asian PeoplesTibetan / Himalayan PeoplesBuddhism - Theravada5
GermanGermanyEuropean PeoplesEurasian PeoplesChristianity - Orthodox1,949
MamGuatemalaAmerican PeoplesLatin-Caribbean AmericansEthnic Religions1,000
RussianRussiaEuropean PeoplesEurasian PeoplesChristianity - Orthodox611
GreekGreeceEuropean PeoplesEurasian PeoplesChristianity - Orthodox381
ItalianItalyEuropean PeoplesEurasian PeoplesChristianity - Roman Catholic254
PolePolandEuropean PeoplesEurasian PeoplesChristianity - Roman Catholic235
QuicheGuatemalaAmerican PeoplesLatin-Caribbean AmericansEthnic Religions200
Karen, SgawMyanmar [Burma]Southeast Asian PeoplesTibetan / Himalayan PeoplesChristianity - Protestant200
Kachin, JingphoMyanmar [Burma]Southeast Asian PeoplesTibetan / Himalayan PeoplesChristianity - Protestant50
Chin, TiddimMyanmar [Burma]Southeast Asian PeoplesTibetan / Himalayan PeoplesChristianity - Protestant30
Chin, FalamMyanmar [Burma]Southeast Asian PeoplesTibetan / Himalayan PeoplesChristianity - Protestant30
Chin, ZomiMyanmar [Burma]Southeast Asian PeoplesTibetan / Himalayan PeoplesChristianity - Protestant30
Chin, HakaMyanmar [Burma]Southeast Asian PeoplesTibetan / Himalayan PeoplesChristianity - Protestant30
Chin, MaraMyanmar [Burma]Southeast Asian PeoplesTibetan / Himalayan PeoplesChristianity - Protestant30
TzotzilMexicoAmerican PeoplesLatin-Caribbean AmericansChristianity - Roman Catholic10
Karen, PwoMyanmar [Burma]Southeast Asian PeoplesTibetan / Himalayan PeoplesBuddhism - Theravada8

Ethnic Links

Indian Community Website for South Carolina - A website for Indians in the state of South Carolina with links to restaurants, temples, businesses and events.

Sons of Italy in America Bella Italia Lodge - An affiliate member of the national Order Sons of Italy of America (OSIA), they promote the awareness of Italian heritage and influence and recognize Italian Americans for their service and contributions locally through business, industry, entertainment or other service.

Columbia International Festival - An international festival held in April of every year, where one can visit about 60 national exhibits, sample cuisine from around the world, enjoy a fashion show with traditional clothing of many lands and a Parade of Nations, and buy imported gifts and souvenirs in the International Bazaar. You can also meet people who provide services to new internationals.

Columbia's Greek Festival - A Greek festival held in September where you can learn more about Greece and enjoy Greek music, atmosphere, food and drink.

East Point Academy - South Carolina’s first public Chinese-immersion elementary school.

The Confucius Institute at USC - A non-profit institute sponsored by the Confucius Institute Headquarters in China to promote Chinese Language education, as well as educational, cultural and business exchanges between the state of South Carolina and China.

International Friendship Ministries - A private Christian organization which seeks to demonstrate the love of Jesus Christ to international students through friendship and service. They provide free weekly dinners, informative classes, programs, and opportunities to tour nearby attractions during school breaks. IFM offers practical help with moving and conversational English. They also assist students who want to know more about the Bible and Christianity.

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