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  •   State: 
    Howard County
      County FIPS: 
    39°12′13″N 76°51′25″W
      Area total: 
    32.19 sq mi (83.37 km²)
      Area land: 
    31.93 sq mi (82.71 km²)
      Area water: 
    0.26 sq mi (0.66 km²)
    407 ft (124 m)
  •   Latitude: 
      Dman name cbsa: 
    Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD
    Eastern Standard Time (EST) UTC-5:00; Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) UTC-4:00
      ZIP codes: 

    Columbia, Howard County, Maryland, United States

  •   Population: 
      Population density: 
    3,278.04 residents per square mile of area (1,265.68/km²)
      Household income: 
      Unemployment rate: 
  •   Sales taxes: 
      Income taxes: 

Columbia is a census-designated place in Howard County, Maryland. It is one of the principal communities of the BaltimoreWashington metropolitan area. The community was intended to eliminate racial, religious and class segregation. Creator and developer James W. Rouse saw the new community in terms of human values, rather than merely economics and engineering. Columbia proper consists only of that territory governed by the Columbia Association, but larger areas are included under its name by the U.S. Postal Service and the Census Bureau. These include several other communities which predate Columbia, including Simpsonville, Atholton, and in the case of the census, part of Clarksville. The town center of Oakland Manor was purchased from former employer General Life Insurance in October 1962 at an average price of $1,500 per acre ($0.37/2m) The town was then funded by David Rockefeller, who had recently cancelled a planned "Village" concept called Pocantico Hills. Columbia is the second most populous community in Maryland after Baltimore, with a population of 104,681 at the 2020 United States Census. It was founded in 1967 by Rouse, a native of Easton, Maryland, and his company, The Rouse Company, became a publicly traded company in 1961. In the mid-1950s he was espousing his belief that in order to be successful, cities had to be places where people succeeded. In a 1959 speech he declared that the purpose of cities is for people, and that the objective of city planning should be to make a city into neighborhoods where men, women and their families can live and work.


Columbia was founded by James W. Rouse (1914-1996), a native of Easton, Maryland. In the mid-1950s he was espousing his belief that in order to be successful, cities had to be places where people succeeded. Rouse's ideas about what a new model city should be like were informed by a number of factors, including his personal Christian faith as well as the goal for his company to earn a profit. In October 1962, Rouse's former employer Connecticut General Life Insurance in October 1962 at an average price of $1,500 per acre ($0.37/m2) purchased 1,309 acres (530 ha) for $5 million. In July 1963, David Sanner sold the majority of his 73-acre farm (30 ha) in Sannerville, Maryland to the Columbia Research and Development Company for $19,122,622. The Rouse Company then acquired the remaining 73 acres (30.30 km²) in October 1963 for $7,500,000, or about $1.5 million per acre. In January 1964, the Rouse Company bought the remaining 10 percent of Howard County, Maryland, for $3.5million, or around $1 million per acres. In April 1965, Rouse and his company bought the rest of the county for $4.6 million, or approximately $2 million peracre. In August 1966, the company bought back the remaining land for $2.8 million, making the total cost of the land purchase $5.7 million.


Because Columbia is unincorporated, there is confusion over its exact boundaries. In the strictest definition, Columbia comprises only the land governed under covenants by the Columbia Association. This is a considerably smaller area than the census-designated place (CDP) as defined by the United States Census Bureau. The CDP includes a number of older communities which do not lie within the CA's purview. These areas are not part of the "new town", and are not directly served by its amenities. Columbia is located in central Maryland, 20 miles (32 km) southwest of Baltimore, 25 miles (40 km) northeast of Washington, D.C., and 30 miles (48 km) northwest of Annapolis. The community lies in the Piedmont region of Maryland, with its eastern edge at the fall line. The climate tends to hot, humid summers and cool to cold and wet winters. There are occasional large amounts of snowfall that happen every year.Columbia has a humid subtropical climate, with cool winters and hot, muggy summers. The primary landforms in Columbia are rolling hills and stream valleys; Columbia's road network is laid out to follow the terrain, with many winding streets and cul-de-sacs. Elevations range from about 200 to 500 feet (61 to 152 m) above sea level. Most of Columbia is drained by the Middlepatuxent and Little Patuxent rivers. There were three artificial lakes, created by damming of tributary streams during community construction. An outer ring of greenspace was abandoned early in the project.


As of the census of 2000, there were 88,254 people, 34,199 households, and 23,118 families residing in the CDP. There were 35,281 housing units at an average density of 1,280.0 per square mile (494.3/km²) The racial makeup of the community was 66.52% White, 21.47% Black or African American, 0.26% Native American, 7.30% Asian, 1.05% Pacific Islander, and 2.76% from two or more races. 4.12% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 14% of Columbia's residents were German, 11% Irish, 10% English, 5% Russian, 2% Indian, 2%. Chinese, 2.5% Sub-Saharan African, 2! French, and2% West Indian. The median income for a household was $99,877. The per capita income was $46,374. About 8.8% of those under age 18 and 6.4% of people age 65 or over were living below the poverty line. The CDP includes considerable areas which are not part of the planned community. Columbia is a majority minority community, with non-Hispanic whites constituting 47.3% of its population. The population of Columbia is expected to grow to 100,000 by 2020, with the majority of residents being non-white. The average household size was 2.54 and the average family size was 3.09.


Columbia's nine "village centers" provide residents with nearby shopping as well. Village centers are laid out so that individual stores are not visible from the road, unlike traditional strip malls. Several large U.S. Department of Defense installations and R&D facilities surround Columbia, the largest being the National Security Agency at Fort George G. Meade. Columbia is dominated by commercial real estateoffice, retail, and wholesale in contrast to the original plan, which saw the Town Center area as the commercial center of Columbia. Further afield, many Columbians commute to government and government contractor jobs in the Baltimore and Washington, D.C. area. Columbia's nine village centers have evolved over time, with many being replaced with more traditional strip mall managed by Cedar Realty Trust and GFS Realty. Columbia has a population of 1,816,000. The population of Columbia is 1,917,000, with the majority of the population living in the city of Columbia and its surrounding suburbs. The city has an unemployment rate of 6.7%. The unemployment rate for Columbia is 5.8%. Columbia's population has a poverty rate of 4.2%. The population has an income rate of 1.8% and a poverty level of 3.4%.Columbia has a crime rate of 5.3%. The homicide rate is 6.1% and the crime rate is 7.1%. Columbia has one murder rate of 7.3% and one suicide rate of 2.7.

Arts and culture

In the absence of nightclubs, Columbia relies on local bars to bring in bands. Two historic buildings in Columbia, Dorsey Hall and Woodlawn, were listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973. The Columbia Religious Facilities Corporation was founded to lease interfaith centers to congregations. The Howard County Library System (HCLS) is consistently top rated among the nation's public library systems according to Hennen's American Public Library Ratings (HAPLR). Two of the six branches of the Howard County library System are in Columbia. Columbia is home to the Merriweather Post Pavilion, a well-known outdoor concert venue, and the Young Columbians, which has produced the area premieres of several musicals. Columbia also offers chamber music concerts, children's programs, community outreach programs, master classes, and pre-concert lectures and discussions through the Candlelight Concert Society, a non-profit organization formed by Columbia residents to provide chamber musicconcerts since 1972. In 1966, $2.5 million in church donations applied to the CFRC to purchase Columbia land and build an interfaith facility in the village of Wilde Lake. The organization formed the Interfaith Housing Corporation (now the Columbia Housing Corporation) to purchase 300 units of low and moderate income housing in the development with Federal Housing Authority funding.:97   97 ˚˚ ˚/˚ /˚#˚ #˚/.˚.˚ &˚ 1˚ 2˚ 3˚.

Parks and recreation

Columbia has a variety of parks and recreation facilities. There are three lakes (Lake Kittamaqundi, Lake Elkhorn, and Wilde Lake) 80 miles of paths for jogging, strolling and biking; and 148 tot lots and play areas. Nine village centers, 15 neighborhood centers, and four senior centers provide space for a large variety of community activities. Columbia FC, a soccer club based in Columbia, will make their debut in Maryland's Major Soccer League Division I on September 8, 2019. In February 2006 LifeTime Fitness (a Minnesota company) opened a 24/7 health club at the edge of the Columbia Gateway industrial park. The name Freetown Farm refers to the area's historical name and its ties to the Underground Railroad. It features a NAACP garden and donates the much of the food that is raise to local food banks. It was built on the site of Columbia's last working farm, which was closed in the 1970s. It uses hands-on gardening to educate people and cultivates communities where people thrive together. In 2017, Columbia FC was founded by former Howard County students and transfer players. It will make its debut in the Major League Soccer Division I in September 2019. The team will be called Columbia FC and will play at the Maryland SoccerPlex in Baltimore, Maryland. It is the first team to play in the MLS Division I since the Baltimore Ravens joined the league in 1996. The club will play its first match on September 9, 2019 against the Baltimore City FC.


There are no conventional four-year colleges or universities in Columbia, but several other college-level programs have facilities there. Howard Community College is located near the town center, while the University of Phoenix, American Career Institute, Lincoln College of Technology, Loyola University Maryland, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, Maryland University of Integrative Health, and Johns Hopkins University have facilities on the east side of town at Columbia Gateway Business Park. Columbia's public schools are operated by the Howard County Public School System. As of the 2007-2008 school year, the following high schools served some part of Columbia:Atholton,Centennial,Hammond,Long Reach,Oakland Mills,River Hill,Wilde Lake. Most of these schools also serve students from outside Columbia, as is also the case with some middle and elementary schools. In 1966, Howard Community college (HCC) was founded by the Board of Education in Howard County and formally authorized by theHoward County Commissioners Charles E. Miller, J. Hubert Black, and David W. Force. In addition to its original campus in Columbia, it now has satellite campuses in Mount Airy, Laurel, and East Columbia, in the Columbia Gateway. Business Park, which is located in Columbia's east side, is home to Columbia Gateway, a business park with offices, restaurants, and a bowling alley. Columbia has a reputation for being a good place to live and to do business. The city has a population of 1.2 million.


Columbia's initial plan called for a minibus system connecting the village centers on a distinct right-of-way that allowed denser development along the route. The routes were not constructed, though minibuses were operated by the Columbia Association under the name "ColumBus" There are no rail stations within Columbia, although the Dorsey MARC Train station is served by RTA buses. Medical care is available at Howard County General Hospital, affiliated with Baltimore's Johns Hopkins Hospital. The Columbia Medical Plan was founded in 1967 as a health maintenance organization (HMO) available to citizens of Columbia.:99 In more recent years, this plan has divided into separate medical groups that simply share the Twin Knolls buildings. Today, there is a Kaiser Permanente facility located in the Columbia Gateway industrial park. There are also a number of clinics, such as the Righttime Medical Care center and Patient First. All of these highways allow Columbia access to nearby Baltimore, Washington, D.C. and Annapolis, as well as the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority and Maryland Transit Administration. RTA Bus Routes include: 401, 402, 403, 404, 405, 406, 407, 408, 501, and 503. OurBus offers intercity bus service from Columbia to New Brunswick, New Jersey and New York City. The community is home to the Columbia High School, which was established in the 1960s. The school is one of the oldest in the state, having been founded in 1961.

Air Quality, Water Quality, Superfund Sites & UV Index

The Air Quality index is in Columbia, Howard County, Maryland = 36.9. These Air Quality index is based on annual reports from the EPA. Higher values are better (100=best). The number of ozone alert days is used as an indicator of air quality, as are the amounts of seven pollutants including particulates, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, lead, and volatile organic chemicals. The Water Quality Index is 50. A measure of the quality of an area’s water supply as rated by the EPA. Higher values are better (100=best). The EPA has a complex method of measuring the watershed quality, using 15 indicators such as pollutants, turbidity, sediments, and toxic discharges. The Superfund Sites Index is 100. Higher is better (100=best). Based upon the number and impact of EPA Superfund pollution sites in the county, including spending on the cleanup efforts. The UV Index in Columbia = 3.9 and is a measure of an area's exposure to the sun's ultraviolet rays. This is most often a combination of sunny weather, altitude, and latitude. The UV Index has been defined by the WHO ( and is uniform worldwide.


The most recent city population of 104,681 individuals with a median age of 38.8 age the population grows by 3.87% in Columbia, Howard County, Maryland population since 2000 and are distributed over a density of 3,278.04 residents per square mile of area (1,265.68/km²). There are average 2.5 people per household in the 36,056 households with an average household income of $93,823 a year. The unemployment rate in Alabama is 5.50% of the available work force and has dropped -4.84% over the most recent 12-month period and the projected change in job supply over the next decade based on migration patterns, economic growth, and other factors will increase by 24.82%. The number of physicians in Columbia per 100,000 population = 478.1.


The annual rainfall in Columbia = 44.4 inches and the annual snowfall = 19.7 inches. The annual number of days with measurable precipitation (over .01 inch) = 120. The average number of days per year that are predominantly sunny = 212. 87 degrees Fahrenheit is the average daily high temperature for the month of July and 21.5 degrees Fahrenheit is the average daily low temperature for the month of January. The Comfort Index (higher=better) is 42, where higher values mean a more pleasant climate. The Comfort Index measure recognizes that humidity by itself isn't the problem. (Have you noticed nobody ever complains about the weather being 'cold and humid?) It's in the summertime that we notice the humidity the most, when it's hot and muggy. Our Comfort Index uses a combination of afternoon summer temperature and humidity to closely predict the effect that the humidity will have on people.

Median Home Cost

The percentage of housing units in Columbia, Howard County, Maryland which are owned by the occupant = 63.75%. A housing unit is a house, apartment, mobile home, or room occupied as separate living quarters. The average age of homes = 26 years with median home cost = $308,090 and home appreciation of -5.74%. This is the value of the years most recent home sales data. Its important to note that this is not the average (or arithmetic mean). The median home price is the middle value when you arrange all the sales prices of homes from lowest to highest. This is a better indicator than the average, because the median is not changed as much by a few unusually high or low values. The property tax rate of $12.88 shown here is the rate per $1,000 of home value. If for simplification for example the tax rate is $14.00 and the home value is $250,000, the property tax would be $14.00 x ($250,000/1000), or $3500. This is the 'effective' tax rate.


The local school district spends $7,448 per student. There are 14.1 students for each teacher in the school, 350 students for each Librarian and 353 students for each Counselor. 5.50% of the area’s population over the age of 25 with an Associate Degree or other 2-year college degree, 30.45% with a master’s degree, Ph.D. or other advanced college degree and 28.99% with high school diplomas or high school equivalency degrees (GEDs).

  • Columbia's population in Howard County, Maryland of 5,648 residents in 1900 has increased 18,53-fold to 104,681 residents after 120 years, according to the official 2020 census.

    Approximately 51.75% female residents and 48.25% male residents live in Columbia, Howard County, Maryland.

    As of 2020 in Columbia, Howard County, Maryland are married and the remaining 39.82% are single population.

  • 33.1 minutes is the average time that residents in Columbia require for a one-way commute to work. A long commute can have different effects on health. A Gallup poll in the US found that in terms of mental health, long haul commuters are up to 12 percent more likely to experience worry, and ten percent less likely to feel well rested. The Gallup poll also found that of people who commute 61­–90 minutes each day, a whopping one third complained of neck and back pain, compared to less than a quarter of people who only spend ten minutes getting to work.

    81.09% of the working population which commute to work alone in their car, 9.37% of the working population which commutes to work in a carpool, 3.32% of the population that commutes using mass transit, including bus, light rail, subway, and ferry. 4.63% of the population that has their home as their principal place of work.

  • Of the total residential buildings in Columbia, Howard County, Maryland, 63.75% are owner-occupied homes, another 32.11% are rented apartments, and the remaining 4.13% are vacant.

  • The 48.00% of the population in Columbia, Howard County, Maryland who identify themselves as belonging to a religion are distributed among the following most diverse religions.

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