Mission of Richland County
The mission of the government of Richland County, South Carolina, is to provide essential services, efficiently and effectively, in order to improve the quality of life for its citizens. Richland County Government shall be accessible to all and shall provide cordial, responsible assistance and information in a prompt, equitable, and fair manner. This mission shall be achieved with minimal bureaucracy, with integrity, and within the parameters and power set forth in applicable federal, state, and local laws.
Vision of Richland County
Richland County Government will be a model community for the state and nation. The County will be a safe, diverse and sustainable community, with a thriving economy that provides opportunities for all residents to live, work, learn and grow.
History of Richland County
Richland County was founded in 1799 and was named for the sprawling acres of "rich bottom land" that was occupied by indigo and cotton plantations for generations.
The County was carved out of the Camden District in 1785 and flourished with rolling farmland as important trade routes were established along the Santee, Congaree and Saluda rivers. In 1786, the state capital was relocated from coastal Charleston to the geographic center of the state, and a new city was born. Once Columbia was established as the state capital and county seat, Richland County’s boundaries were formally incorporated on Dec. 18, 1799.
The balanced scale of justice and the South Carolina State House are featured on the Richland County seal, denoting the County’s significance as the headquarters of South Carolina State Legislature. During Gen. William T. Sherman’s burning of Columbia and surrounding areas in 1865, the State House was spared. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1976.
From its agrarian roots to its establishment as the legislative hub of South Carolina, Richland County today boasts a vibrant military community at Fort Jackson, several acclaimed educational institutions, award-winning hospital systems, the South Carolina State Museum, a cutting-edge urban scene in downtown Columbia and a plethora of recreational activities, all nestled between its many rivers and lakes.
Richland County ranks as the most urban County in the State and ranks 14th in the State in terms of size with 757.07 square miles. In 2010, more than 87% of the population of the County was considered to be living in an urban area by the Census – an increase of 15.6% from the previous decade. By contrast, the number of rural residents in the County decreased by 6.2% during that same time period.
The land use is managed to preserve the heritage of the area and recent numbers show that 14% of the County is urban and 64% forest. The Urban area consists of 60% residential, 26% commercial and 14% industrial.
In 2016, the population in Richland County, South Carolina was 409,549. Between 2006 and 2016, the region’s population grew at an annual average rate of 1.4%.
Population growth, while originally centered in the urbanized area of Columbia, has spread along the County’s interstates over time, along I-26, I-20 and now stretching along I-77 through the northern area of the County. The local economy is a mixture of State and local governments, banking and finance, industry, health care, higher education, significant regional retail centers and an emerging research and development sector.
Per capita income has also seen slight growth over the past 20 years; however, the County continues to work toward personal income growth that exceeds inflation rate.
County District Profiles
The Richland County Department of Planning and Development put together a comprehensive package which highlights the demographics of Richland County districts. Each profile contains the following demographic information:
- Age Demographics - median age, population by age.
- Racial Demographics - population by race.
- Educational Demographics - population by education, educational facilities.
- Economic Demographics - population by household income, economic indicators, population by employed industry.
- Road Information - County maintained roads miles paved and unpaved.
- Household Demographics - population by household income.
To view the this study (Click Here).
County Government Structure
Richland County Government operates under the Council-Administrator form of government in accordance with the "Home Rule Act". County Council is an 11-member elected body which serves as the legislative branch of Richland County Government. They are responsible for developing policies, enacting ordinances, reviewing and adopting the budget, and exercising oversight of County Administration. County Council is supported by the Clerk to Council office whose function is to provide direct support and research services to Council members and disseminates information to the public and County departments concerning policies, directives, and actions. Furthermore, under the Council-Administrator form of government County Council must employ an administrator who is responsible for the administration of all departments of County government, which the County Council has the authority to control.
Richland County Government is made up of four main divisions: Community Services, Infrastructure, Internal Support, and Public Safety. This division may be seen below
Each of these divisions are made up of separate departments. The community services division is made up of the following departments: Planning and Development Services, Building Inspections, New Development/Floodplain, Community Development, Conservation, Sustainability, Business Service Center, Assessor, Register of Deeds, and Economic Development.
The infrastructure division is made up of the following departments: Transportation Penny, Utilities, Engineering, Operations, Maintenance, Public Works, Engineering, Stormwater, Roads and Drainage, Airport, Solid Waste, Special Services.
The internal support division is made up of the following departments: Administration, Administrator’s Office (Assistant County Administrator, Assistant to the County Administrator, Capital Projects Manager, Community and Government Services, Research Manager, CASA), Information Technology, Human Resources, Finance, Public Information, OMBUDSMAN, Risk Management, Office of Budget and Grants Management.
The public safety division is made up of the following departments: Emergency Services (Emergency Preparation, Fire, Hazardous Waste, Communications/911, Information and Education), Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center (Security, Operations, Programs, Support), and Animal Services (Animal Care and Vector Control).