Why is Columbia the No. 7 Place to Live in America?


Columbia, South Carolina, is consistently ranked as one of the best places to live in America. In fact, in 2021, it was ranked as the No. 7 place to live by U.S. News & World Report because of its highly regarded public schools, employment rate, expansion of jobs and businesses, and expense of living as a “top destination for young professionals and families.” Below are some of the key factors that contribute to Columbia’s desirability as a place to call home.

Booming economy

Columbia is home to a thriving economy, with a diverse range of industries such as healthcare, manufacturing, and education. The city is also home to the University of South Carolina, which is the state’s flagship university and contributes significantly to the local economy. This has led to a low unemployment rate and a high median household income, making Columbia an attractive option for job seekers and entrepreneurs alike.

Rich history and culture

Columbia has a rich history and culture that is celebrated throughout the city. From the South Carolina State House to the Columbia Museum of Art, there are numerous opportunities to explore the city’s past and present. The city is also home to a vibrant music scene, with a range of festivals and events throughout the year. Additionally, the city is home to numerous historic landmarks, such as the Robert Mills House and Gardens and the South Carolina State Museum, which provide a glimpse into the city’s past.

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Affordable cost of living

Compared to other major cities in the United States, Columbia has a relatively low cost of living. This makes it an attractive option for people who want to live in a vibrant, dynamic city without breaking the bank. Housing options range from historic homes in established neighborhoods to modern apartments in new developments, catering to everyone’s taste and budget, including luxury apartments in Columbia.

In addition to affordable housing options, the cost of groceries and healthcare in Columbia is lower than the national average. This means that residents can enjoy a high quality of life without having to sacrifice their financial stability.


Outdoor recreation opportunities

Columbia’s warm climate and proximity to natural attractions make it an ideal location for outdoor recreation. Residents can take advantage of the city’s many parks and green spaces, including the Congaree National Park, which is just a short drive away. There are also numerous hiking and biking trails, as well as opportunities for fishing, kayaking, and canoeing.

Excellent healthcare

Columbia has several top-ranked hospitals and healthcare systems, including the Palmetto Health system and the University of South Carolina School of Medicine. This ensures that residents have access to high-quality healthcare and medical facilities, making it an ideal place to live for people of all ages. Moreover, the healthcare industry in Columbia provides employment opportunities for people with various skills and backgrounds. This has contributed to the city’s overall economic growth and stability, making it an even more desirable place to live.

Education options

Columbia is home to several highly-ranked colleges and universities, including the aforementioned University of South Carolina. This makes it an ideal location for students who want to pursue higher education, as well as families who want to ensure that their children receive a quality education.

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The city’s public school system is also highly regarded, with numerous top-ranked schools. The presence of these institutions also contributes to the city’s overall intellectual and cultural vibrancy, providing opportunities for residents to engage with new ideas and experiences.

Vibrant downtown area

Columbia’s downtown area has undergone a significant revitalization in recent years, making it a hub of activity and culture. The city boasts numerous restaurants, bars, and shops, as well as a range of cultural attractions such as the Columbia Museum of Art and the Koger Center for the Arts. The downtown area also hosts numerous festivals and events throughout the year, making it a vibrant and dynamic place to live.

Columbia is a dynamic and vibrant city that offers something for everyone. From its booming economy to its rich history and culture, the city has a lot to offer residents. Its affordable cost of living, outdoor recreation opportunities, and excellent healthcare and education options make it an ideal place to call home. Whether you’re looking for a luxurious apartment, a historic home in an established neighborhood, or a modern apartment in a new development, Columbia has something for everyone. It’s no wonder that it ranks as one of the best places to live in America.


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