Poplar Bluff is a small city in Butler County in Southeast Missouri, United States. It is the county seat of Butler County and is known as “The Gateway to the Ozarks” among other names. The population was 17,023 at the 2010 census.
Poplar Bluff is located at 36°45′25″N 90°23′34″W / 36.75694°N 90.39278°W / 36.75694; -90.39278 (36.756944, −90.392778), along the Black River. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 12.98 square miles (33.62 km), of which 12.91 square miles (33.44 km) is land and 0.07 square miles (0.18 km) is water.
Poplar Bluff takes its name from a bluff that overlooks the Black River. When first settled, the bluff was covered with tulip poplar trees. The Butler County Courthouse and the offices of the city’s Daily American Republic newspaper sit on this site. Poplar Bluff lies along an escarpment separating the Ozark Foothills from the Mississippi embayment in Southeast Missouri. The foothills lie to the north and west and the embayment is to the south and east. The surrounding area is commonly known as the “Three Rivers” with many local organizations and businesses using the name. The three rivers—Current River, Black River, and St. Francis River—are 40 miles apart with Poplar Bluff located in the center on the Black River.
As of the census of 2010, there were 17,023 people, 7,181 households, and 4,154 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,318.6 inhabitants per square mile (509.1/km). There were 8,038 housing units at an average density of 622.6 per square mile (240.4/km). The racial makeup of the city was 84.79% White, 9.97% Black or African American, 0.53% Native American, 0.89% Asian, 0.06% Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, 0.90% from other races, and 2.84% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.21% of the population.
There were 7,181 households of which 30.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 35.1% were married couples living together, 17.6% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.2% had a male householder with no wife present, and 42.2% were non-families. 36.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.28 and the average family size was 2.94.
The median age in the city was 38.4 years. 24.2% of residents were under the age of 18; 9.6% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 23.6% were from 25 to 44; 24.6% were from 45 to 64; and 18.2% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 45.9% male and 54.1% female.
According to the 2000 U.S. Census, there were 16,651 people, 7,077 households, and 4,295 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,438.9 people per square mile (555.7/km²). There were 7,871 housing units at an average density of 680.2 per square mile (262.7/km²).
The racial makeup of the city was 87.04% Caucasian, 9.71% African American, 0.55% Native American, 0.52% Asian, 0.48% from other races, and 1.71% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.35% of the population.
There were 7,870 households out of which 52.7% were married couples living together, 20.28% had a female householder with no husband present, and 39.3% were non-families. 34.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 17.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.27 and the average family size was 2.9.
In the city the population was spread out with 24.3% under the age of 18, 8.8% from 18 to 24, 25.5% from 25 to 44, 21.5% from 45 to 64, and 19.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38.7 years. For every 100 females, there were 83.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 78.5 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $22,068, and the median income for a family was $28,744. The per capita income for the city was $13,996. About 19.3% of families and 24.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 34.4% of those under age 18 and 17.6% of those age 65 or over.