Columbia is one of the fastest growing areas in the South for many reasons. They use to brag about being laid back and not for progress until people from PA., NY, OH, and NJ started rolling in over 15 years ago. That place has changed so much that it's amazingly meant for retirees, previous military personnel, medical workers, tourists, and many others who find work in the state government.
All the time new shopping areas appear, new schools are built, housing subdivisions are all over the Midlands, and as a college town of many schools, USC is launching their fuel cell technology. The town is joining the rivers to the people for recreation with their River Alliance including a greenway eventually going to the North. It is 1/2 way between the mountains and 1/2 way to the ocean. There are hot summers, sometimes real cold days of winter (shut down everything if snow is coming even 1-3"!).
Now about pay.....it depends upon what field and education you have plus experience and not being over 45. This is the SOUTH, you know with "right to work" not expecting unions there for you. Cost of living is NOT cheap in the South as one would expect. Education wise...well, they build these great schools constantly, but their test scores tank. Usually S.C. comes in first for the negatives and last for the positives usually due to many children coming from homes without 2 parents. Too many single moms have too many kids which leads to welfare and becomes generational. My heart goes out to them as they were not raised to value education. It is a place I loved very much and miss terribly.
Ann...you can work from home as a day care worker once licensed from the state. Another option is medical transcriptionist that doesn't take too long to get into but a few college classes or on-line courses very reasonable. My best friend built up a wonderful business (has 5 kids) in 2 years. She'd take her work to the beach on vacations! Now she lives with her family in Kentucky.