Cost of Living in Columbia, SC, United States

Updated On June 23, 2023

How Much Does It Cost to Live In Columbia, SC?

Columbia is both the capital city and the largest city in South Carolina.

Its importance lies in the fact that it is one of the first planned cities in the United States.

Columbia is also home to the main campus of the University of South Carolina.

The cost of living in Columbia is known to be favorable: the taxes are low as are the prices of basic commodities.

It’s also cheap when it comes to rent and housing: you can get a wonderful house for well below the national average.

Cost of Living Index:
* Based on Research & User Data


Of course, as expected, the regular regional chain restaurants have locations in and near town so you can always find very cheap (and delicious) fast food.

Still, you should keep in mind that eating out will, without a doubt, cost you more than cooking by yourself, however cheap it is.

There are also many high-end restaurants that will cost you much more than the basic 13$ you would pay for a meal in an inexpensive restaurant.



As for grocery shopping, your groceries and the amount of money you spend on food depends on your eating habit and may vary from $80 per week onwards.

The major supermarket chains in Columbia are the regular ones: Jewel Osco, Mariano’s, Meijer, Food 4 Less, Aldi, Whole Foods Market, and Trader Joe’s.



Most people use a car to get around Columbia, but there is a very well-organized bus service around town, though it is generally directed towards locals rather than tourists.

Taxi service is also available 24/7, like in any other city in America, but it would be helpful if one calls in advance.



Again, if you look at the price of all included utilities for an apartment of a larger structure (85m2) utilities are not too expensive: for such an apartment, all basic utilities – including electricity, along with heating and cooling, water, gas, and garbage services – costs around 188$ which is much less than in the majority of cities in Europe.

Sports and leisure


Columbia offers easy access to the mountains of Nort Caroline and the beaches of South Carolina, so you have many ways to exercise and stay in shape yet not spend a lot of money on a gym.

However, if you prefer gyms and fitness centers, enjoying them is way cheaper than in many other major cities in the US.

Becoming a member of a gym or a fitness club will cost you less than 22$ a month.

Clothing and shoes


Columbiana Centre is Columbia’s largest shopping mall.

Here, you can buy a pair of quality jeans like Levi’s for only around 59.5$, although a pair of quality running sneakers like Nike remains at above 79$, while simpler items of clothing like shirts cost around 35$.

Clothing is not too expensive in Columbia.

Rent per month


Rent is definitely one of the more expensive aspects of living in Columbia.

Don’t expect to find a cute apartment anywhere near the city center for less than 1431.33$ – and that goes for one-bedroom apartments!

If you want to move in with your family in a larger apartment, then prepare to cash out at least 1500$.

Cost of Living Averages Table for Columbia, SC

*Note: All prices are indicated in USD.
Average Restaurant Prices
Meal (Inexpensive Restaurant)$15.00
Domestic Beer (0.5 Liter)$4.00
Water (0.33 Liter)$1.30
Average Market Prices
Milk (1 Liter)$0.98
Loaf Bread (500g)$3.38
Eggs (12)$5.53
Average Transport Prices
One Way Ticket$1.50
Monthly Pass$50.00
Average Utilities Prices
Basic (Water, Electricity, Garbage, Heating, Cooling)$188.37
1 min. of Prepaid Mobile Tariff Local$0.10
Internet (Unlimited Data, Cable/ADSL)$55.24
Average Leisure Prices
Fitness Club, Monthly Fee for 1 Adult$22.75
Tennis Court Rent (1 Hour)$12.86
Cinema, 1 Seat, International Release$12.00
Average Clothing Prices
1 Pair of Jeans (Levis 501 Or Comparable)$59.5
1 Summer Dress in a Chain Store (Zara, etc...)$56.00
1 Pair of Adidas Walking Shoes (Mid-Range)$78.83
Average Rent Prices
Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Center$1431.33
Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Center$1115.0
Apartment (3 bedrooms) in City Center$2050.00

How Does the Average Person Spend Their Money in Columbia, SC?

Food is the biggest expense of anyone living in Columbia, along with rent which is definitely one of the most expensive aspects of living in this country though not the most expensive one.

Apart from food and rent, people spend a lot of money on transportation (and this includes gasoline expenses, taxi rides as well as car rental expenses) and restaurants – since there are many people who are used to eating all three meals in restaurants.

Utilities are also a considerable expense for an average person living in Columbia, while clothing and shoes require the least amount of money.

Average Costs Breakdown


Columbia, SC: Average Salary, Minimum Wage & Mortgages

Salaries in Columbia are definitely high and make living in this city a very pleasant and comfortable experience.

These salaries allow the citizens to pay for everything they need and have enough even for the things that aren’t necessities, and in general, the people of Columbia would rate their quality of life here as “extremely good”.

The minimum wage in Columbia is around 2000$ – and though the prices are higher in this city too, this is still a reasonable amount of money that just goes in line with the high standard of the city.

Average Salary$5533.33
Minimum Wage$2080.00
Mortgage Interest Rate6.80%

Columbia Safety Overview

READ THE FULL REPORT: Columbia Safety Review

Safety Index:

Cost of Living by City in Columbia, SC

CityCost of Living Index
Albany, NY72.4
Albuquerque, NM72.4
Anchorage, AK72.4
Ann Arbor, MI72.4
Arlington, TX72.4
Asheville, NC72.4
Atlanta, GA72.4
Austin, TX72.4
Bakersfield, CA72.4
Baltimore, MD72.4
Bellevue, WA72.4
Bellingham, WA72.4
Berkeley, CA72.4
Birmingham, AL72.4
Boise, ID72.4
Boston, MA72.4
Boulder, CO72.4
Brooklyn, NY72.4
Buffalo, NY72.4
Burlington, VT72.4
Charleston, SC72.4
Charlotte, NC73.33
Chattanooga, TN72.4
Chicago, IL72.4
Cincinnati, OH72.4
Cleveland, OH72.4
Columbus, OH72.4
Dallas, TX72.4
Dayton, OH72.4
Denver, CO72.4
Des Moines, IA72.4
Detroit, MI72.4
El Paso, TX72.4
Eugene, OR72.4
Everett, WA72.4
Fayetteville, AR72.4
Fort Myers, FL72.4
Fort Wayne, IN72.4
Fort Worth, TX72.4
Fresno, CA74.2
Gainesville, FL74.2
Grand Rapids, MI74.2
Greensboro, NC74.2
Hartford, CT74.2
Honolulu, HI74.2
Houston, TX74.2
Huntsville, AL74.2
Indianapolis, IN74.2
Irvine, CA74.2
Jacksonville, FL74.2
Jersey City, NJ74.2
Kansas City, MO74.2
Knoxville, TN74.2
Las Vegas, NV74.2
Lexington, KY74.2
Little Rock, AR74.2
Long Beach, CA74.2
Los Angeles, CA74.2
Louisville, KY74.2
Lubbock, TX74.2
Madison, WI74.2
Memphis, TN74.2
Miami, FL74.2
Milwaukee, WI74.2
Minneapolis, MN74.2
Nashville, TN74.2
New Orleans, LA74.2
New York, NY74.2
Oakland, CA74.2
Oklahoma City, OK74.2
Olympia, WA74.2
Orlando, FL74.2
Peoria, IL72.4
Philadelphia, PA72.4
Phoenix, AZ72.4
Pittsburgh, PA72.4
Portland, ME72.4
Portland, OR72.4
Raleigh, NC72.4
Reno, NV72.4
Richmond, VA74.2
Rochester, NY74.2
Sacramento, CA74.2
Saint Louis, MO74.2
Saint Paul, MN74.2
Saint Petersburg, FL74.2
Salem, OR74.2
Salt Lake City, UT74.2
San Antonio, TX74.2
San Diego, CA74.2
San Francisco, CA74.2
San Jose, CA74.2
Santa Barbara, CA74.2
Santa Rosa, CA74.2
Seattle, WA74.2
Spokane, WA74.2
Springfield, MO74.2
Syracuse, NY74.2
Tacoma, WA74.2
Tallahassee, FL74.2
Tampa, FL74.2
Toledo, OH74.2
Tucson, AZ74.2
Tulsa, OK74.2
Vancouver, WA74.2
Virginia Beach, VA74.2
Washington, DC74.2
West Palm Beach, FL74.2
Wichita, KS74.2

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