Marion County courthouse in Columbia
Location of Columbia, Mississippi
|• Total||6.4 sq mi (16.6 km2)|
|• Land||6.4 sq mi (16.5 km2)|
|• Water||0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2)|
|Elevation||148 ft (45 m)|
|• Density||1,033.5/sq mi (399.0/km2)|
|Time zone||Central (CST) (UTC-6)|
|• Summer (DST)||CDT (UTC-5)|
|GNIS feature ID||0668715|
Columbia is a city in Marion County, Mississippi, which was formed six years before Mississippi was admitted to statehood. Columbia was named for Columbia, South Carolina, from which many of the early settlers had migrated. The population was 6,603 as of the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Marion County.
The site was first settled by John and William Lott in the early 19th century, giving the town its original name, Lott's Bluff. It was incorporated as Columbia on June 25, 1819, becoming the fourth municipality in the state of Mississippi. It served as the temporary capital of Mississippi from November, 1821, when the 5th session of the Mississippi Legislature first met there, until 1822. In that year, a special session of the legislature met in Columbia, inaugurating Governor Walter Leake, and selecting LeFleur's Bluff (now Jackson) as the permanent capital. Former Mississippi governor and Columbia native Hugh L. White introduced white squirrels to the area, and they are still common in Columbia City Park.
Historic Home of Mississippi Rodeo
In the mid-1930s, two Columbia, Mississippi cowboys – Earl and Weldon Bascom – made Columbia the historic “Home of Mississippi Rodeo.” Known as the “Founding Fathers of Mississippi Rodeo,” the Bascom brothers pioneered the sport in Mississippi, producing the first rodeo in Marion County in 1935. Originally from Alberta, the Bascoms cowboyed for the nearby Hickman Ranch. Both of these cowboys married local girls. This first rodeo of 1935 was held at Columbia’s City Park and is now known in rodeo history as the world’s first outdoor night rodeo held under electric lights. In 1936, Earl Bascom, an inventor as well as a trained artist, designed and supervised the construction of Mississippi’s first permanent rodeo arena in Columbia. Earl Bascom has been called the “Father of Modern Rodeo”, having helped pioneer the sport with his many rodeo innovations. To this day, rodeo remains a popular sport in Columbia and Marion County.
Columbia is located at  It is located on the east bank of the Pearl River and is 81 miles south of Jackson, Mississippi and 103 miles north of New Orleans, Louisiana. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 6.4 square miles (17 km2), all land.(31.256781, -89.828779).
As of the census of 2000, there were 6,603 people, 2,497 households, and 1,620 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,033.5 people per square mile (399.0/km²). There were 2,821 housing units at an average density of 441.6 per square mile (170.5/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 62.56% White, 35.64% African American, 0.39% Native American, 0.44% Asian, 0.18% from other races, and 0.79% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.77% of the population.
There were 2,497 households out of which 29.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 41.5% were married couples living together, 19.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.1% were non-families. 32.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 18.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.38 and the average family size was 3.01.
In the city the population was spread out with 23.9% under the age of 18, 10.0% from 18 to 24, 26.0% from 25 to 44, 19.3% from 45 to 64, and 20.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 88.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 83.7 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $19,644, and the median income for a family was $28,493. Males had a median income of $28,173 versus $17,847 for females. The per capita income for the city was $12,592. About 24.5% of families and 29.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 41.0% of those under age 18 and 24.3% of those age 65 or over.
Government and infrastructure
The mayor of Columbia is Robert R. Bourne, who was recently voted into office after defeating incumbent Reed Houston in the primary election.
The City of Columbia is served by the Columbia School District, and Columbia Academy, a private Christian school.
- Jeff Bates - American country music artist
- Gil Carmichael - businessman, transportation specialist, Republican politician, born in Columbia in 1927
- Peggy Dow (Peggy Varnadow Helmerich), film actress and philanthropist
- Jim Dunaway- NFL player for the Buffalo Bills and Miami Dolphins
- Reverend John Ford - pioneering Methodist minister and early political leader
- Gerry E. Hinton (1930–2000) - former member of the Louisiana State Senate and the Slidell, Louisiana, City Council
- Claudis James - (1943-2013) NFL player
- General Benjamin Lee - military leader and early political figure
- Sylvester Magee - reportedly the last living American slave, died here in 1971
- Joseph T. "Joe" Owens - (1945-2013) NFL player
- Eddie Payton - NFL player
- Walter Payton -(1954-1999) NFL player
- Hugh L. White - former Columbia mayor and two term Governor of Mississippi
- "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
- "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "Columbia city, Mississippi." U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved on July 21, 2010.
- "Public Appearance Calendar Governor Ronnie Musgrove For the Week of December 31, 2001." Mississippi Department of Archives and History. Retrieved on July 21, 2010. "Columbia Training School 1730 Highway 44 Columbia, MS."
- "Gilbert E. Carmichael papers". librarymsstate.edu. Retrieved May 5, 2014.