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Census Data for Columbia

Population ...

The most recent Census Estimate<1> was for 2019 and it gave Columbia a population of 740 people.

The last Decennial Census<2> was in 2010, which gave Columbia a population of 740 people.

The town of Columbia is located in Houston County. The 2010 Census gave Houston County; a population of 101,547 people. This means that Columbia had 0.73% of the county's total population, making it Houston's 9th most populous community.

At the same time, Alabama had a population of 4,779,736 people, meaning that Columbia had 0.02% of the total population of Alabama - making it the state's 291st most populous community.

Area ...

The 2010 Census shows that the sampling area for Columbia has a total area of 4 square miles [10.4 km²]. Of this total, 3.93 square miles [10.2 km²] is land, with the balance (1.65%) being water (0.07 square miles [0.2 km²]).

Houston County has a land area of 579 square miles [1,501.7 km²]. At 3.93 square miles [10.2 km²], Columbia has 0.68% of the county's total land area.

  • Continue Reading ...
    • When the Census Bureau conducts a census for a town like Columbia, they draw a boundary around the area in which they are going to conduct their count - this defines the sampling area (usually a polygon). The shape of the sampling area can be quite complex and it's important to keep in mind that the boundaries of the sampling area may or may not match the recognized boundaries of the town.
    • Things like population, area and housing for Columbia reflect the sampling area. Since the shape of the sampling area and the actual boundaries of Columbia might be different, it's best to check with the U.S. Census Bureau to resolve any difference between the two.
    • Not only does the sampling area define boundaries, it also has a GPS location (latitude & longitude) that indicates a point within the sampling area (usually the center of the polygon, known as the centroid). At the time of the 2010 Census, the sampling area was located at:
    • Lat:   31° 17' 43"   (or 31.3°)
    • Lon:   -85° 6' 36"   (or -85.11°)
    • More information on this topic and the changes between the 2000 Census and the 2010 Census can be found in the section for our Census-to-Census Observations ... (see below).

Housing Units ...

At the time of the 2010 Census, Columbia had 403 Housing Units<3> and with its population of 740 people, this averages 1.84 people per Housing Unit.

  • Continue Reading ...
    • The 2010 Census shows Columbia had a land area of 3.93 square miles [10.2 km²]. This translates to 100.8 Housing Units per square mile [38.93 housing units/km²].
    • From the Census of 2000: Columbia had 462 Housing Units, a population of 804 people and a land area of 3.93 square miles [10.2 km²]. This gives a density of 1.74 people per Housing Unit and 115.7 Housing Units per square mile [44.68 housing units/km²].
    • Note: Repeating the caution above (under Population Density), be aware that when comparing Housing Units between the 2010 Census and the 2000 Census, there were changes in the sampling area for Columbia and you need to be careful when comparing results between the censuses. More information about these differences can be found in the section called Census-to-Census Observations ... (see below).

Houston County ...

The community of Columbia is located in Houston County<4>.

The county had a population of 101,547 people at the 2010 Census. With it's population of 740 people, Columbia represented 0.73% of the county's total.

For more information, please visit our Census Page for Houston County.

Census-to-Census Observations ...

Introduction ...

When the Census Bureau takes a census count (or enumeration) for Columbia, they start by specifying the boundaries of the area to be counted. This area (or sampling area) is a polygon and its shape can be quite complex - it may or may not match the geographical boundaries of Columbia. It's important to note that from one Census to the next, the shape and location of the polygon can change.

  • Continue Reading ...
    • Although we don't have specific information about the shape of the polygon for Columbia or how it changed has over time, there is some information that can give us some hints. For example, since the shape of the sampling area is directly related to the shape of the polygon, any change to area probably indicates a new shape for the polygon.
    • If you need precision or details about the methodology of the Census, you should visit the U.S. Census Bureau for a definitive answer.

Location ...

While generally coinciding with the GPS location (latitude/longitude) of Columbia, the latitude and longitude given by the Census Bureau actually indicates the GPS location of the polygon for Columbia.

  • Continue Reading ...
    • For the 2010 Census, the location was given as:
    • Lat:   31.295351°   (or 31°17'43" N)
    • Lon:   -85.110202°   (or -85°6'36" W)
    • For the 2000 Census, the location given was:
    • Lat:   31.292283°   (or 31°17'32" N)
    • Lon:   -85.112123°   (or -85°6'43" W)
    • The difference indicates that the U.S. Census Bureau moved the location of the polygon for the 2010 Census 1,268 feet to the northeast<5> of the location that was used in the 2000 Census.
    • The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the U.S. Board on Geographic Names (BGN) have assigned a unique GNIS identifier (#2406298) to Columbia. This identifier also marks a GPS point on the map, and that point lies within the boundaries of Columbia. The GNIS point has been mapped to the latitude/longitude:
    • Lat:   31.296759°   (or 31°17'48" N)
    • Lon:   -85.110311°   (or -85°6'37" W)
    • The GPS location given for the 2010 Census lies 514 feet to the south<6> of the point given by the GNIS for Columbia. For more information about this and the relationship of the various Federal Codes, please visit our Misc Page for Columbia.

Miscellaneous Information for Columbia ...

The Federal government has assigned various identifying codes to each community, county and state. At one time or another, the US Census Bureau has used one (or more) of the following identifiers when referring to either Houston County or the town of Columbia:

  • The GNIS Codes ...
    • The current system of identification is called the Geographic Names Information System (GNIS). The following GNIS codes relate to Columbia:
    • GNIS ID for Columbia: 2406298
    • GNIS ID for Houston County: 161560
    • GNIS ID for State of Alabama: 1779775
  • The FIPS Codes ...
  • Misc. Census Codes ...
    • Columbia is located in Census Region #3 (the South Region) and Division #6 (the East South-Central Division).
  • The US Postal Service ZIP Code ...
    • While some people have used a ZIP code to identify a community, the purpose of the ZIP code was to make mail delivery more efficient by grouping addresses together. Although the ZIP Code doesn't specifically identify a town like Columbia, it does identify addresses that are in (or near) Columbia. It's important to remember that the boundaries of a ZIP Code can be changed, re-assigned or overlapped with other ZIP Codes.
    • The ZIP code for Columbia:36319<7>
  • Census ZCTA Codes ...
    • The US Census Bureau created statistical entities that they call ZIP Code Tabulation Areas (ZCTAs) and these ZCTAs are frequently confused with the ZIP codes that come from the US Postal Service (USPS).
    • ZCTAs were first created for the 2000 Census and at that time, they were based upon the USPS ZIP codes. While largely covering the same areas, the boundaries of a ZCTA do not necessarily match the boundaries of a postal ZIP code with the same number. For example, while a postal ZIP code can cross a county or state line, a Census ZCTA can not. They should be treated as separate entities with no correlation between them.

For more information about the various Federal identification codes, please visit our Misc Page for Columbia.

Unfortunately, we don't know of a website for Columbia. If you can help, please contact us through our Feedback Page.

The official website for Houston County:

The official website for State of Alabama:

The official website of the U.S. Census Bureau

The official website of the U.S. Board on Geographic Names (BGN)

The official website of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)

Footnotes ...

<1>Every year, the US Census Bureau creates a population estimate for the preceeding year. Keep in mind that this value is an estimate and not an actual count. The most recent Census estimate is for the year 2019.
<2>Every 10 years (eg- 1990, 2000, 2010), the US Census Bureau conducts a Constitutionally-mandated count (or enumeration) of people living within the United States. This count is called a Decennial Census. The last Decennial Census was the 2010 Census, with the next one planned for 2020.
<3>A Housing Unit is a broad term for those places where people live (whether occupied or temporarily vacant), such as a house, an apartment, a mobile home, or an area that is considered as a separate living quarter. Separate living quarters (consisting of one or more rooms) are considered to be those places where people live, sleep and eat separately from others and that have access to the outside (either directly or by a shared hallway).
<4>If you're interested in how the shape of Alabama's counties, including Houston, have changed over time, we recommend the Atlas of Historical County Boundaries.
<5>The calculated bearing (or angle) to the 2010 Census location is 331 degrees and a distance of 1,268 feet.
<6>The calculated bearing (or angle) to the GNIS point is 183 degrees and a distance of 514 feet.
<7>When looking for a ZIP Code, whether Columbia or elsewhere, it's always best to check the website of the United States Postal Service (USPS).


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This page was last modified/updated: 07 Apr 2024