Are you daydreaming about warm weather and Southern hospitality? Look no further than Columbia, South Carolina – a vibrant, diverse small city with opportunities abound.
There’s a neighborhood for everyone in Columbia, from black singles, young professionals, and families. Read on to find out which suburb will work best for you!
3 Best Columbia Suburbs for Black Families
Finding the ideal neighborhood for your family can be a challenge if you aren’t familiar with the area.
We’ve done the searching for you and found the best Columbia suburbs for black families.
With about one-third of its population belonging to married couples with children, Cottontown is a bustling neighborhood for black families.
This suburb is one-quarter African American, and the average household income is above the Richland County average at about $60k.
There are several public schools in the Cottontown neighborhood as well. The elementary school, Logan Elementary, is a top-rated school and is notably diverse. If you want to send your children to private school, there are many options nearby – although none as close as the public schools.
Things to Do
Does your family love bike rides and walking around the park? Cottontown has the massive Earlewood Park just a few minutes away, and the recently reinvigorated North Main District has a new dog park for walking your best friend.
Other things to do in Cottontown are:
- Visit a local brewery – like the Cottontown Brew Lab
- Enjoy coffee at Indah Coffee or Curiosity Coffee Bar
- Take a tour of historical places in Cottontown with Historic Columbia
Cottontown is a great area because it’s residential but only minutes away from the city center.
2. Forest Acres
If you’re searching for a neighborhood with plenty of other families and highly regarded schools, Forest Acres is your best bet.
Surrounded by lush greenery and quaint shops, it’s hard to believe Forest Acres is only a five-minute drive from downtown Columbia.
Forest Acres is also notably diverse, with Asian populations and other races higher in density than in other parts of the city.
Over 30% of families in Forest Acres have children, so no need to worry about organizing play dates. There’s also plenty to do, with a summer Farmer’s Market and annual festivals popping up every season.
Your kids will also get a reputable education in this Columbia suburb. Most of their schools rank within the top 100 in the state.
Highly regarded by residents and visitors alike, Heathwood is home to one of the highest African American populations in the Columbia area.
The percentage of married couples with children is an incredible 46%.
Why You’ll Love It
- Heathwood Park is a kid haven with a spray pool to keep cool in the summer
- Tons of schools – public and private
Heathwood is home to many black-owned businesses, like the pancake-only food truck called 27 Pancakes or the locally-loved Railroad BBQ.
Houses range anywhere from $200,000 to about $600,000, so Heathwood can accommodate a range of budgets and incomes.
2 Best Columbia Neighborhoods for Black Singles & Young Professionals
Working on boosting your career or just enjoying the single life? Columbia has plenty of suburbs for you. Below are the two top Columbia suburbs for black singles and young professionals.
1. Five Points
If you know anything about Columbia, you’ve probably heard of Five Points. Located right outside downtown, it’s a hub of shops, bars, clubs, and restaurants.
It’s the youngest part of town and can get pretty rowdy on weekends (and Thursdays!) but, if you’re looking to get on the scene and put yourself out there, Five Points is perfect.
Five Points is the most culturally diverse neighborhood in Columbia, from food to shops. A few renowned choices are:
- Harambe Ethiopian Restaurant
- Sunrise Bath & Body
However, if you’re looking to party, you’ve also come to the right place. The bars in Five Points are (somewhat infamously) well known, and as an area with a decently sized black population, it’s great for black singles.
One of the best bars, and also Columbia’s oldest, is Group Therapy. Featuring $2 house liquor and hip-hop over the speakers, it’s the most affordable bar in the Five Points neighborhood.
Since this is in a college-student-heavy area, most of its customers are college-aged. But, this means more diversity and a progressive feel, so if that’s what you’re into, Group Therapy should be your first Five Points stop.
2. Main Street District
There’s not a better place for young black professionals than Main Street. With its decades-old department storefronts, towering skyscrapers, and museums, Main Street never gets boring.
A few companies that have offices or headquarters on Main Street are:
- PwC – a consulting firm
- Wells Fargo
Main Street is ideal if you’re looking for that big-city feel instead of the residential area feel that’s present in most of Columbia.
There are quite a few black-owned consulting firms and businesses in the Main Street District, too, like Willis HR.
If you want to jumpstart your career, this is the perfect place to do it!
Is Columbia Safe?
For the most part, yes. Of course, like in any city, there are some crime-ridden areas. For the majority of the neighborhoods in Columbia, though, you’ll be fine.
Richland County does have a decently high crime rate at 4.935%. The least safe part of the county is the Northeast section. Your chances of becoming a victim of a property crime in the worst parts of Richland county are 1 in 18.
South Carolina has the 7th highest crime rate in the United States, though, so the statistics about Richland County could be for anywhere in the state. In 2019, South Carolina reported 511.3 violent crimes per 100,000 people.
Don’t let that scare you off, though – all of the neighborhoods above have low crime rates (including for property crime), so as long as you stay out of the not-so-great areas, like Two Notch Road, your family will be incredibly safe.
Other measurements that can vouch for South Carolina’s safety rate are:
- A 3.18 Peace Index score, making it one of the most peaceful Southern states
- The steady growth of income in the suburbs noted above
- Forest Acres is among the lowest in child poverty rates
All in all, Columbia is a safe and welcoming place – but every city has its sketchy areas.
What is Columbia’s Demographic?
Well, pretty much everyone. As a college town, it’s diverse in age, income, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status.
There are many people from foreign countries, the United States and South Carolina.
The total population in 2019 was 136,632, making it one of the smallest capital cities in the country.
That population consists of:
- White/Caucasian: 53.4%
- Black/African American: 39.8%
- Hispanic or Latino: 5.5%
The average age of a Columbia resident is under 65, but over 18 – with an uptick of residents in their 20s. The University provides Columbia with a higher population and hundreds of jobs.
Columbia’s average commute time to work is around 16 minutes, depending on traffic, and the average income is $47,286. About half of the population owns their home.
Where the city shines, though, is in its business diversity. There are 4,676 women-owned firms and 4,170 minority-owned firms. The civilian labor force is made up of mostly women, too, at 57.6%.
We hope you like heat, though. The average temperature in Columbia year-round is 78 degrees. Columbia is the hottest city in South Carolina.
The Best Columbia Neighborhoods For African Americans, Conclusion
Whether you’re looking to start a family, enjoy your single status, or advance your career, Columbia is a spectacular place to do so.
Columbia offers tree-lined neighborhoods like Forest Acres and Cottontown, sure, but a metropolitan feel with its Main Street District.
Nothing could be finer than to be in Carolina!