Expatriates moving to Columbia will find themselves living in the state capital of South Carolina. Almost two thirds of the city’s land area is occupied by the U.S. Army base, Fort Jackson, which trains over 50% of the soldiers going in to the army each year. Other notable landmarks include the Hampton-Preston House, the historic home of the prominent Hampton family. The house was built in the post-Colonial period, around 1818, and features a broad veranda and Doric columns typical of the Classical Revival style. The building was used as a headquarters by Union Major General John Logan, during the American Civil War, and has now been listed on the national register of historic places. The city furthermore prides itself on its green space – with over 60 parks scattered around the city. There are 55 tennis courts, and 16 city pools and ponds controlled by the City of Columbia Parks and Recreation division of the council, so expats living in Columbia will certainly not lack recreation opportunities.
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In 2012, the United States Census placed the number of people living in Columbia at 131,686, making it the largest city in South Carolina. There are some expatriate communities in the area, although there is not an officially recognized number of expats living in Columbia. Expatriates moving to Columbia will find a generally attractive climate, with the humid subtropical weather leading to mild winters and hot summers. Most years do not experience any snowfall at all, although there is a high level of humidity in the summer months. If you would like to know more about the city or need helpful advice, you can easily get it from other expats living in Columbia or other parts of the United States on InterNations. Browse the forums and discussion groups, or read articles about important issues like tax and insurance in the Expat Magazine to be ideally prepared for your relocation to Columbia.
Fort Jackson is the largest training base used by the U.S. Army. The base provides entry-level training for soldiers joining the army, with over 45,000 soldiers attending training at the camp every year. Each year Fort Jackson pays out over $716 million in salaries, much of which is spend in the local area. The Camp also reports that over 100,000 family members of the trainee soldiers visit the area each year to attend graduation parades – providing a huge boost to hotels, restaurants and retail outlets in the local area. Another major employer in the area is the University of South Carolina, which enrolls more than 27,500 students at its downtown Columbia sites. There is a major healthcare industry in the city, too, and Palmetto Healthcare, and Blue Cross/Blue Shield health insurance are both listed in the top 10 employers in South Carolina, based on the number of people employed, so expats in Columbia who are aren’t already on an assignment might try their luck looking for jobs in these employment areas.