Columbia is the state capital and largest city in the U.S. state of South Carolina. The population was 116,278 according to the 2000 census, while 2009 Census population estimates put the city's population at 129,333. Columbia is the county seat of Richland County, but a portion of the city extends into neighboring Lexington County. The city is the center of a metropolitan statistical area of 744,730, the largest within the state and the 65th-largest metropolitan area in the United States. The city's name comes from a poetic synonym for America, derived from the name of Christopher Columbus.
Located just 13 miles (21 km) northwest of South Carolina's geographic center, Columbia is the primary city of the Midlands region of South Carolina, which comprises several counties in the central portion of the state. Columbia lies at the confluence of two rivers, the Saluda and the Broad. CNNMoney.com named Columbia as one of America's 25 best places to retire and US News & World Report ranked the city sixth on its 2009 "America's Best Affordable Places to Retire" list.