"A vision for the future"
|Named for||The county's "Rich Land"|
|• Total||772 sq mi (2,000 km2)|
|• Land||757 sq mi (1,960 km2)|
|• Water||15 sq mi (40 km2) 1.9%|
|• Density||540/sq mi (210/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC−5 (Eastern)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−4 (EDT)|
|Congressional districts||2nd, 6th|
Richland County is located in the U.S. state of South Carolina. As of the 2020 census, its population was 416,147, making it the second-most populous county in South Carolina, behind only Greenville County. The county seat and largest city is Columbia, the state capital. The county was established on March 12, 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.
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 County was later ceded 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.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 772 square miles (2,000 km2), of which 15 square miles (39 km2) (1.9%) are covered by water. Richland County is situated in the center of South Carolina.
Main article: The Comet (transit)
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.
Columbia has one Amtrak station (CLB) that serves over 30,000 passengers per year on the Silver Star rail line. 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.
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.
|U.S. Decennial Census|
|Black or African American (non-Hispanic)||188,141||45.21%|
|Hispanic or Latino||26,095||6.27%|
As of the 2020 United States census, 416,147 people, 153,484 households, and 90,802 families were residing in the county.
As of the 2010 United States Census, 384,504 people, 145,194 households, and 89,357 families were residing in the county. 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). The racial makeup of the county was 45.3% White, 48.9% 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. In terms of ancestry, 9.6% were German, 8.6% were English, 7.6% were Irish, and 7.1% were American.
Of the 145,194 households, 32.9% had children under 18 living with them, 39.6% were married couples living together, 17.7% had a female householder with no husband present, 38.5% were not 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.
The median income for a household in the county was $47,922 and 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.
Richland County is governed by a county council, 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.
|County council (as of 2022)|
|District 1||Bill Malinowski|
|District 2||Derrek Pugh|
|District 3||Yvonne McBride|
|District 4||Paul Livingston|
|District 5||Allison Terracio|
|District 6||Joe Walker III|
|District 7||Gretchen Barron|
|District 8||Overture Walker (chair)|
|District 9||Jesica Mackey (vice chair)|
|District 10||Cheryl English|
|District 11||Chakisse Newton|
The South Carolina Department of Corrections, headquartered in Columbia and in Richland County, operates several correctional facilities in Columbia and in Richland County. They include the Broad River Correctional Institution, the Goodman Correctional Institution, the Camille Griffin Graham Correctional Institution, the Stevenson Correctional Institution, and the Campbell Pre-Release Center. Graham houses the state's female death row. 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.
In March 2008, the Richland County Sheriff's Department acquired an armored personnel carrier equipped with a .50 caliber machine gun. Reason magazine criticized the acquisition as "overkill".
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.
|Richland School District 1||22,939[when?]||Central and southern portions of the county|
|Richland School District 2||28,398[when?]||Northeastern portions of the county|
|Lexington & Richland County School District Five||16,680[when?]||Northwestern portions of the county|
|Fort Jackson||Varies||The on-post areas of Fort Jackson are served by the Department of Defense Education Activity|
(DoDEA) for elementary grades, with District 2 serving that area for secondary grades.
|University of South Carolina||34,731|
|Midlands Technical College||8,794|
|Medical University of South Carolina||3,312[c]||Main Campus: Charleston|
|Columbia International University||2,039|
|South University-Columbia||1,132||Main Campus: Savannah, Georgia|
|Virginia College-Columbia||404||Main Campus: Birmingham, Alabama|
|Remington College-Columbia||272||Main Campus: Lafayette, Louisiana|
|Branches||Circulation||Annual Visitors (counted once)|
|Hospital||Approximate Annual Patients|
|Medical University of South Carolina: Downtown[d]||1,000,000|
|Medical University of South Carolina: Northeast[d]|
|Prisma Health Baptist: Taylor and Marion Streets||1,500,000|
|Prisma Health Baptist: Parkridge|
|Prisma Health: Richland|
|William Jennings Bryan Dorn Veterans Affairs Medical Center||1,130,000|
|Moncrief Army Community Hospital||400,000|
|Lexington Medical Center: Northeast|
|2||Blue Cross Blue Shield||10,000|
|3||University of South Carolina||7,000|
|4||South Carolina Department of Corrections||5,000|
|5||Richland County School District One||5,000|
|6||South Carolina Department of Transportation||5,000|
|7||South Carolina Department of Mental Health||5,000|
|8||South Carolina Department of Social Services||5,000|
|9||Richland County School District Two||4,000|
|10||South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control||4,000|
|Type||Name||Pop. (2022 est.)||Notes|
|City||Columbia||139,148||State capital, County seat and largest city in county. Partly in Lexington County[e]|
|Census-designated place||St. Andrews||20,979|
|Federal enclave[f]||Fort Jackson||15,423*||*2020 Count, Military base|
|City||Cayce||14,131||Mostly in Lexington County|
|Town||Irmo||11,640||Mostly in Lexington County|
|Town||Blythewood||4,984||Partly in Fairfield County|
|Census-designated place||Capitol View||4,653*||*2020 Count|
|Census-designated place||Arthurtown||2,294*||*2020 Count|
|Town||Elgin||1,738||Mostly in Kershaw County|
|Federal enclave[g]||McEntire Joint National Guard Base||1,250*||* 2020, County, Military base|
|Census-designated place||Olympia||1,087*||*2020 Count|
See also: Live PD
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. In 2021, Sheriff Leon Lott said the show will return to Richland County in the future.