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Columbia County Florida   Located in North Florida

Columbia County Cities

Bass Fort White McColsky Springville
Benton Granger Mikesville Suwannee Valley
Columbia City Greenfield Mt Carrie Watertown
Deep Creek Lacymark Myrtis Wilburn
Ellisville Lake City Navair Winfield
Fairview Lulu Needmore
Five Points Mason Newco

Land area (rank): 797 square miles (25)
Population 1993 (rank): 46,430 (38)
Rank in population density 1990 (rank): 58 persons per square mile (42)
Growth 1980-1990 (rank): 20.4% (48)

Physical Characteristics

Columbia County is in northeast Florida and is bordered by Georgia and by Hamilton, Suwannee, Gilchrist, Alachua, Union, and Baker counties. The county has 5 square miles of water. The average January temperature is 55.6 degrees F, and the average August temperature is 81.1 degrees F. The average annual rainfall is 49.88 inches.


Columbia County was established in 1832 from St. Johns County and was named in honor of Christopher Columbus. The Spanish explorer Hernando De Soto founded a large village on the site of present-day Lake City.


In 1993 nearly 80% of Columbia County's population was in unincorporated areas. The county's largest incorporated place is Lake City, with a 1993 population of 9,764. Columbia County's other incorporated place (Fort White) had a population of 502 in 1993. Development is limited in the northern and eastern portions of the county by the Osceola National Forest and by wetlands. In 1993, 82% of Columbia County's population was white and 18% was nonwhite. In 1990, 1.5% of the population was Hispanic. Between 1980 and 1990, 59.8% of the population increase was due to net migration. The 1992 birth rate for the county was 15.4 live births per 1,000 persons, and the 1992 death rate was 9.5 deaths per 1,000 persons. The 1992 infant mortality rate was 13.2 per 1,000. The leading causes of death in 1993 were heart disease, cancer, and stroke.


Of all 1992 high school graduates, 44.2% planned to continue their education. The 1992 high school dropout rate for the county was 4.8%. In 1990, 69.0% of persons in the county were high school graduates, and 11.0% had completed four or more years of college. Colleges and universities. Lake City Community College.


The per capita income in Columbia County for 1993 was $14,493 (45th highest in the state). The median household income in 1989 was $21,961. In 1989, 15.4% of families had incomes below the poverty level. In 1990, 23.1% of personal income in Columbia County was derived from transfer payments. In 1992 the greatest numbers of persons in Columbia County were employed in the government, retail trade, and services sectors. Major government employers are the Veterans' Hospital and the Florida Department of Transportation District Office in Lake City. In the retail trade sector employers of the greatest numbers of persons were eating and drinking establishments and food stores. Lumber and wood products and printing and publishing firms accounted for the most employment in the manufacturing sector. In 1992 there were 523 farms in Columbia County, totalling 96,968 acres (19% of land in the county). Corn, soybeans, peanuts, and watermelons as well as hogs, cattle, and chickens are raised in the county. In 1991, 43,567 thousand board feet of softwood logs (4th highest in state), 140,079 cords of softwood for pulp (5th highest in state), 193 thousand board feet of hardwood logs, and 5,801 cords of hardwood for pulp were produced.

Median value of a single-family home 1990: $47,300
Median monthly rent 1990: $222
Mobile homes as a % of total housing: 34.0
Housing starts 1992: 231
Housing starts 1993: 232

In 1992 the price level index for Columbia County was 90.74 (61st highest in the state).

Local Government

In 1993, the ad valorem millage rate was 8.7260, and the total taxable value of property was $719,753,744. Taxable sales totalled $338.60 million in 1992 and $375.80 million in 1993. Lottery sales totalled $8,371 thousand in 1992-93. In 1990-91 Columbia County's revenues totalled $35,915 thousand ($825.0 per capita) and its expenditures $30,121 thousand ($691.9 per capita). Of those 18 years of age and older, 59.6% were registered to vote in 1992. Of these, 77.6% were registered Democrat and 19.5% were registered Republican. In the 1992 presidential election, 43.4% of the votes were cast for Bush, 37.0% for Clinton, and 19.4% for Perot.

Events and Places of Interest

Olustee Battle Festival and Civil War Re-enactment, Lake City, February; Columbia County Fair, Lake City, October; Florida Sports Hall of Fame, Alligator Town, USA, T. G. Henderson House, Lake City.

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