Richland County, South Carolina

Richland County
The Richland County Justice Center is located across from Columbia City Hall.
The Richland County Justice Center is located across from Columbia City Hall.
Map of South Carolina highlighting Richland County
Location within the U.S. state of South Carolina
Map of the United States highlighting South Carolina
South Carolina's location within the U.S.
Coordinates:34°02′N 80°55′W / 34.03°N 80.91°W / 34.03; -80.91
Country United States
State South Carolina
Largest cityColumbia
 • Total772 sq mi (2,000 km2)
 • Land757 sq mi (1,960 km2)
 • Water15 sq mi (40 km2)  1.9%%
 • Total384,504
 • Estimate 
 • Density500/sq mi (190/km2)
Time zoneUTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−4 (EDT)
Congressional districts2nd, 6th

Richland County is located in the U.S. state of South Carolina. As of the 2010 census, the population was 384,504,[1] making it the second-most populous county in South Carolina, behind only Greenville County. The 2019 estimated population was 415,759.[2] The county seat and largest city is Columbia,[3] the state capital. The county was founded in 1785. Richland County is part of the Columbia, SC Metropolitan Statistical Area. In 2010, the center of population of South Carolina was located in Richland County, in the city of Columbia.[4]


Harvesting red gum trees in Richland County, 1904
South Carolina Statehouse - Richland County holds the state's capitol, Columbia.
A swamp in rural Richland County, SC

Richland County was probably named for its "rich land." The county was formed in 1785 as part of the large Camden District. A small part of Richland later went to adjacent Kershaw County in 1791. The county seat and largest city is Columbia, which is also the state capital. In 1786 the state legislature decided to move the capital from Charleston to a more central location. A site was chosen in Richland County, which is in the geographic center of the state, and a new town was laid out. Richland County's boundaries were formally incorporated on December 18, 1799. Cotton from the surrounding plantations was shipped through Columbia and later manufactured into textiles there. General William T. Sherman captured Columbia during the Civil War and his troops burned the town and parts of the county on February 17, 1865. The U. S. Army returned on friendlier terms in 1917, when Fort Jackson was established, which is now the largest and most active Initial Entry Training Center in the U.S. Army. The South Carolina State House is located in downtown Columbia.


TypeNamePop. (2019 est.)Notes
CityColumbia131,674State capital and County seat

Partly in Lexington County[a]

Federal enclave[b]Fort Jackson[7]14,785Military base
CityCayce14,009Mostly in Lexington County
TownIrmo12,483Mostly in Lexington County
CityForest Acres10,298
TownBlythewood2,034Partly in Fairfield County
TownArcadia Lakes861
Census Designated Places[8]
NamePop. (2010)
St. Andrews20,493
Capitol View

Unincorporated communities and neighborhoods

  • Boyden Arbor
  • Cedar Creek
  • Eau Claire
  • Fairwold Acres
  • Hilton
  • Horrell Hill
  • Killian
  • Kingville
  • Leesburg
  • Lykes
  • Mountain Brook
  • Pontiac
  • Riverside
  • Spring Hill
  • State Park
  • Wateree
  • Windsor Estates


  • Dutch Fork
  • Fort Jackson
  • Intown/downtown
  • Lower Richland
  • Northeast Richland
  • Upper Richland


The Congaree River makes the border between Richland and Lexington counties.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 772 square miles (2,000 km2), of which 757 square miles (1,960 km2) is land and 15 square miles (39 km2) (1.9%) is water.[9] Richland County is situated in the center of South Carolina.

Rivers and lakes

  • Broad River
  • Congaree River
  • Lake Murray
  • Little River
  • Saluda River
  • Wateree River

Adjacent counties

National protected area


Historical population
2020 (est.)416,147[10]8.2%
U.S. Decennial Census[11]
1790-1960[12] 1900-1990[13]
1990-2000[14] 2010-2015[1]

As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 384,504 people, 145,194 households, and 89,357 families residing in the county.[15] The population density was 507.9 inhabitants per square mile (196.1/km2). There were 161,725 housing units at an average density of 213.6 per square mile (82.5/km2).[16] The racial makeup of the county was 45.3% white, 48.9% black or African American, 2.2% Asian, 0.3% American Indian, 0.1% Pacific islander, 1.9% from other races, and 2.2% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 4.8% of the population.[15] In terms of ancestry, 9.6% were German, 8.6% were English, 7.6% were Irish, and 7.1% were American.[17]

Of the 145,194 households, 32.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 39.6% were married couples living together, 17.7% had a female householder with no husband present, 38.5% were non-families, and 30.2% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.43 and the average family size was 3.05. The median age was 32.6 years.[15]

The median income for a household in the county was $47,922 and the median income for a family was $61,622. Males had a median income of $42,453 versus $34,012 for females. The per capita income for the county was $25,805. About 10.0% of families and 14.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 17.6% of those under age 18 and 9.7% of those age 65 or over.[18]


Richland County is governed by a County Council,[19] who hold concurrent four-year terms. Richland County is governed under the Council-Administrator form of government, which is very similar to the Council-Manager form of government. The major difference between the Council Manager and Council Administrator forms of government is the title of the chief executive, being Manager in one and Administrator in the other.

County Council
DistrictCouncil Person
District 1Bill Malinowski
District 2Joyce Dickerson
District 3Yvonne McBride
District 4Paul Livingston (Chair)
District 5Allison Terracio
District 6Joe Walker III
District 7Gwendolyn Kennedy
District 8Jim Manning
District 9Calvin "Chip" Jackson
District 10Dalhi Myers
District 11Chakisse Newton

The South Carolina Department of Corrections, headquartered in Columbia and in Richland County,[20] operates several correctional facilities in Columbia and in Richland County. They include the Broad River Correctional Institution,[21] the Goodman Correctional Institution,[22] the Camille Griffin Graham Correctional Institution,[23] the Stevenson Correctional Institution,[24] and the Campbell Pre-Release Center.[25] Graham houses the state's female death row.[26] The State of South Carolina execution chamber is located at Broad River. From 1990 to 1997 Broad River housed the state's male death row.[27]

In March 2008, the Richland County Sheriff's Department acquired an armored personnel carrier equipped with a .50 caliber machine gun.[28] Reason magazine criticized the acquisition as "overkill".[29]


Richland County was one of the first areas of South Carolina to break away from a Solid South voting pattern. From 1948 to 1988, it only supported the official Democratic candidate for president once, in 1976. It voted for splinter Dixiecrat Strom Thurmond in 1948, and for unpledged electors in 1956.

Since 1992, Richland County has been one of the stronger Democratic bastions in South Carolina, following the trend of most urban counties across the country.

Presidential elections results
Presidential elections results[30]
YearRepublicanDemocraticThird parties
202030.1% 58,31368.4% 132,5701.5% 2,939
201631.1% 52,46964.0% 108,0004.9% 8,253
201233.4% 53,10565.3% 103,9891.3% 2,060
200835.1% 57,94164.0% 105,6560.9% 1,440
200442.0% 56,21257.0% 76,2831.0% 1,306
200043.1% 50,16454.2% 63,1792.7% 3,138
199641.1% 39,09254.8% 52,2224.1% 3,916
199241.2% 43,74450.5% 53,6488.3% 8,858
198852.7% 43,84143.8% 36,4203.4% 2,862
198457.4% 46,77339.6% 32,2123.0% 2,444
198049.9% 36,33745.5% 33,1584.6% 3,374
197646.8% 32,72752.7% 36,8550.5% 380
197264.1% 39,74634.6% 21,4621.3% 787
196851.0% 26,21535.4% 18,19813.7% 7,032
196460.4% 27,30639.7% 17,939
196063.9% 20,73636.1% 11,694
195630.0% 6,71427.5% 6,15442.5% 9,516
195264.2% 15,92535.8% 8,890
19487.3% 67026.3% 2,41966.4% 6,104
19442.0% 14093.1% 6,5904.9% 347
19403.4% 16796.6% 4,781
19362.2% 15297.8% 6,728
19322.6% 11997.1% 4,3710.2% 10
192812.3% 44487.7% 3,158
19243.5% 8893.6% 2,3692.9% 74
192010.8% 29589.2% 2,434
191611.2% 29287.6% 2,2831.2% 32
19121.3% 2388.2% 1,55710.5% 186
190811.7% 23687.1% 1,7501.0% 21
19049.1% 12290.9% 1,220
190012.2% 6287.8% 445
189632.9% 46865.0% 9252.0% 29
189215.6% 14684.3% 7880.0% 0


Bus system

Public transportation in Richland County is provided by the COMET, or officially the Central Midlands Regional Transit Authority (CMRTA). The bus system is the main public transit system for the greater Columbia area. In Richland County, the bus system runs in the areas of Columbia, Forest Acres, Fort Jackson, Irmo, St. Andrews, Northeast Richland, Lower Richland, and Eastover. Additionally, COMET offers Dial-a-ride transit (DART), which provides personalized service passengers with disabilities.[31]


Columbia has one Amtrak station (CLB) that serves over 30,000 passengers per year on the Silver Star rail line.[32] Additionally, Richland County has an operating facility for CSX Transportation, a company that transports over one million carloads of freight on South Carolina's rail network.[33]


The Jim Hamilton–L.B. Owens Airport operates over 56,000 aircraft annually but is a smaller airport used mostly for small and private planes. The main airport for the region is the Columbia Metropolitan Airport, which is located in neighboring Lexington County. In 2018, the Columbia Metro Airport served 1,197,603 passengers with 12,324 flights.


  • I-26 (SC).svg I-26 Interstate 26 travels from northwest to southeast and connects the Columbia area to the other two major population centers of South Carolina: the Greenville-Spartanburg area in the northwestern part of the state and North Charleston – Charleston area in the southeastern part of the state.
  • I-20 (SC).svg I-20 Interstate 20 travels from west to east and connects Columbia to Atlanta and Augusta in the west and Florence in the east. It serves the nearby towns and suburbs of Pelion, Lexington, West Columbia, Sandhill, Pontiac, and Elgin. Interstate 20 is also used by travelers heading to Myrtle Beach, although the interstate's eastern terminus is in Florence.
  • I-77 (SC).svg I-77 Interstate 77 begins in Lexington county and ends in Cleveland, Ohio and is frequently used by travelers on the east coast heading to or from Florida.
  • I-126 (SC).svg I-126 Interstate 126 branches off from I-26 and leads into downtown Columbia and provides access to Riverbanks Zoo.

Top employers

Top ten employers (2019)[34]
1Prisma Health16,000
2Blue Cross Blue Shield10,000
3University of South Carolina7,000
4South Carolina Department of Corrections5,000
5Richland County School District One5,000
6South Carolina Department of Transportation5,000
7South Carolina Department of Mental Health5,000
8South Carolina Department of Social Services5,000
9Richland County School District Two4,000
10South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control4,000


A male lion at Riverbanks zoo
SC State Fair

In popular culture

Richland County was one of several counties across the country used as a filming location for the A&E reality documentary series Live PD, which worked in collaboration with the Richland County Sheriff's Department. The show first premiered in 2016 and aired for four years until its cancellation in 2020.[35]

See also

  • Birch County, South Carolina, a proposed county that would include existing portions of Richland County
  • National Register of Historic Places listings in Richland County, South Carolina


  1. ^ A very small percentage of the city is in Lexington County.
  2. ^ Though within the city limits of Columbia, Fort Jackson operates autonomously with a private population and closed borders.


  1. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on July 17, 2011. Retrieved November 25, 2013.
  2. ^ "Census Bureau Quick Facts". U.S. Census Bureau. 2019. Retrieved 29 June 2020.
  3. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on May 31, 2011. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
  4. ^ "Centers of Population by State: 2010". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved April 24, 2014.
  5. ^ "Richland County, SC Internet Mapping". n.d. Retrieved 18 June 2020.
  6. ^ "U.S. Census Bureau Quick Facts". U.S. Census. July 2019. Retrieved 18 June 2020.
  7. ^ "Fort Jackson, South Carolina Demographics Data". Town Charts. 2010. Retrieved 18 June 2020.
  8. ^ "U.S. Census Bureau Quick Facts". U.S. Census. July 2019. Retrieved 18 June 2020.
  9. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved March 19, 2015.
  10. ^ "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved July 30, 2019.
  11. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved March 19, 2015.
  12. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved March 19, 2015.
  13. ^ Forstall, Richard L., ed. (March 27, 1995). "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved March 19, 2015.
  14. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. April 2, 2001. Retrieved March 19, 2015.
  15. ^ a b c "DP-1 Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010 Demographic Profile Data". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 2020-02-13. Retrieved 2016-03-11.
  16. ^ "Population, Housing Units, Area, and Density: 2010 - County". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 2020-02-13. Retrieved 2016-03-11.
  17. ^ "DP02 SELECTED SOCIAL CHARACTERISTICS IN THE UNITED STATES - 2006-2010 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 2020-02-13. Retrieved 2016-03-11.
  18. ^ "DP03 SELECTED ECONOMIC CHARACTERISTICS - 2006-2010 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 2020-02-13. Retrieved 2016-03-11.
  19. ^ "Richland County > Government > County Council > County Council Members". Retrieved 2018-03-13.
  20. ^ "Institutions." South Carolina Department of Corrections. Retrieved on August 17, 2010.
  21. ^ "Broad River Correctional Institution." South Carolina Department of Corrections. Retrieved on August 17, 2010.
  22. ^ "Goodman Correctional Institution." South Carolina Department of Corrections. Retrieved on August 17, 2010.
  23. ^ "Graham (Camille Griffin) Correctional Institution." South Carolina Department of Corrections. Retrieved on August 17, 2010. "4450 Broad River Road Columbia, SC 29210-4096"
  24. ^ "Stevenson Correctional Institution." South Carolina Department of Corrections. Retrieved on August 17, 2010.
  25. ^ "Campbell Pre-Release Center." South Carolina Department of Corrections. Retrieved on August 17, 2010.
  26. ^ "Graham (Camille Griffin) Correctional Institution." South Carolina Department of Corrections. Retrieved on August 17, 2010. "The institution also functions as a major special management unit with the ability to house female death row inmates and county safekeepers."
  27. ^ "Death Row/Capital Punishment." South Carolina Department of Corrections. Retrieved on August 17, 2010.
  28. ^ S.C. Sheriff's Department Armored Vehicle with Belt-Fed Machine Gun Archived 2008-09-04 at the Wayback Machine
  29. ^ Sheriff Lott's New Toy by Radley Balko September 1, 2008
  30. ^ Leip, David. "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". Retrieved 2018-03-13.
  31. ^ "The Comet Routes" (PDF). The Central Midlands Transit Authority. n.d. Retrieved 28 June 2020.
  32. ^ "Columbia, SC (CLB)". Great American Stations. Retrieved 28 June 2020.
  33. ^ "CSX in South Carolina". CSX. Retrieved 28 June 2020.
  34. ^ "Comrehensive Financial Report (2019)" (PDF). Richland County. 2019.
  35. ^ Schneider, Michael (11 June 2020). "'Live PD': Inside A&E's Swift Decision to Cancel the Show, and Whether it Will Ever Return". Variety. Retrieved 28 June 2020.

External links

Coordinates:34°02′N 80°55′W / 34.03°N 80.91°W / 34.03; -80.91

Media files used on this page

South Carolina in United States.svg
Author/Creator: TUBSEmail Silk.svg Gallery, Licence: CC BY-SA 3.0
Location of state of South Carolina in United States in the United States
Harvesting red gum trees, Richland County, South Carolina (1904).jpg
Red Gum felled- also called Sweet Gum. Left in woods to dry out with top on before cutting into logs. Young Gum and Elm in background. Congaree River, Richland Co., South Carolina.
Map of South Carolina highlighting Richland County.svg
This is a locator map showing Richland County in South Carolina. For more information, see Commons:United States county locator maps.
South Carolina State House, post 1998 renovations
Congaree River, South Carolina.jpg
Author/Creator: Dr. Blazer, Licence: CC BY-SA 4.0
Congaree River with Columbia skyline in the background
Richland County, SC Courthouse IMG 4801.JPG
Author/Creator: Billy Hathorn, Licence: CC BY-SA 3.0
I took photo with Canon camera in Columbia of the Richland County, SC, Justice Center.
Sleeping male lion at Riverbanks Zoo.JPG
Author/Creator: Surfer43, Licence: CC BY-SA 3.0
A picture of a male lion sleeping at Riverbanks Zoo.
Swamp in Richland County, SC.jpg
Author/Creator: Dr. Blazer, Licence: CC BY-SA 4.0
Swamp in rural Richland County, SC