Columbia is the largest city and capital of South Carolina. According to a 2007 census, the city was reported to have a population of 124,818 people. Consisting of 133.8 square miles, Columbia has been recognized as one of “America’s Most Livable Communities” by Washington-based non-profits Partners for Livable Communities and as America’s second best retirement city by ARetireHomeSmart.com.
There are six metropolitan counties in Columbia-- Richland, Lexington, Fairfield, Calhoun, Kershaw, and Saluda counties. These counties contain various neighborhoods which include Elmwood Park, Congaree Vista, Sherwood Forest, and Rosewood.
Columbia has a well-managed educational system. The city is home to several colleges including the main campus of the University of South Carolina, Columbia College, and Benedict College. There are also numerous private and public schools also in the area.
For entertainment and recreation, residents of Columbia can visit different parks, theatres, and festivals. Finlay Park, one of the best known parks in South Carolina, hosts different festivals and consists of 18-acres. Town Theatre, the country’s oldest theatre, and Trustus Theatre, Columbia’s professional theatre company, host a wide range of performances throughout the year. Various festivals are held throughout the year which have games, lives bands, and art showcases. Popular festivals include the South Carolina State Fair in October and the St. Patrick’s Day Festival in March.
The major employers in Columbia are the state government, Palmetto Health hospital system, and Fort Jackson, a U.S. army training installation. Several companies have their headquarters in the city including Collexis Holdings, Inc. and Colonial Supplemental Insurance.