Columbia, a city of 115,276 people in the state of Missouri, was founded in 1818 as the county seat of Boone County.
Home to the University of Missouri, Columbbia is the principal municipality of the Columbia Metropolitan Area, the fourth most populous urban area in Missouri.
As a college town, the city has a reputation for progressive politics, a high emphasis on education, powerful journalism, and public art. The tripartite establishment of Stephens College (1833), “Mizzou” (1839), and Columbia College (1851) has long made the city a center of education, culture, and athletic competition. These three schools surround Downtown Columbia on the east, south, and north; at its center is the Avenue of the Columns, which connects Francis Quadrangle and Jesse Hall to the Boone County Courthouse and the City Hall.
The economy of Columbia is historically dominated by education, healthcare, and the insurance industry. Jobs in government are also common, either in Columbia or a half-hour south in Jefferson City. Commutes into the city are also common and in 2000 the city had a day time population of 106,487.
The Columbia Regional Airport and the Missouri River Port of Rocheport connect the region with trade and transportation. The University of Missouri is by far the city’s largest employer.
The median income for a household in the city was $33,729, and the median income for a family was $52,288. Males had a median income of $34,710 versus $26,694 for females. The per capita income for the city was $19,507. About 9.4% of families and 19.2% of the population were below the poverty line,including 14.8% of those under age 18 and 5.2% of those age 65 or over. However, traditional measures of income and poverty can be misleading when applied to cities with high student populations, such as Columbia.