Jefferson Davis Parish (French: Paroisse de Jefferson Davis) is a parish located in the U.S. state of Louisiana. As of the 2010 census, the population was 31,594. The parish seat is Jennings. Jefferson Davis Parish is named after the president of the Confederacy during the American Civil War, Jefferson Davis. It is located in southwestern Louisiana and forms a part of the Acadiana region.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the parish has a total area of 660 square miles (1,700 km), of which 651 square miles (1,690 km) is land and 7.2 square miles (19 km) (1.1%) is water.
Jefferson Davis Parish comprises five incorporated towns including Elton, Fenton, Jennings, Lake Arthur, and Welsh. There are also many unincorporated areas that add to the interest and economic structure of the parish including Barnsdall, Buller, China, Coverdale, Edna, Fontenot, Foreman’s Hall, Hathaway, Illinois Plant, Lacassine, Lauderdale, Panchoville, Pine Island, Raymond, Roanoke, Silverwood, Thornwell, Topsy, Verret, and Woodlawn. Interstate 10 runs east and west through the center of the parish, providing access to local markets. Additionally, the Union Pacific Railroad is centrally located within the parish and the Mermentau River, which connects to the Intracoastal Waterway and has a channel depth of nine feet, provides access to the Port of Mermentau. The Jennings Airport, with a runway length of 5,000 feet (1,500 m), is capable of landing a small jet and is located next to Interstate 10. Jefferson Davis Parish also attracts sportsmen to the Lacassine National Wildlife Refuge.
As of the census of 2000, there were 31,435 people, 11,480 households, and 8,529 families residing in the parish. The population density was 48 people per square mile (19/km²). There were 12,824 housing units at an average density of 20 per square mile (8/km²). The racial makeup of the parish was 80.60% White, 17.79% Black or African American, 0.38% Native American, 0.19% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.20% from other races, and 0.82% from two or more races. 0.99% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 16.15% of the population reported speaking French or Cajun French at home.
There were 11,480 households out of which 37.20% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.80% were married couples living together, 13.70% had a female householder with no husband present, and 25.70% were non-families. 22.60% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.70% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.70 and the average family size was 3.18.
In the parish the population was spread out with 29.30% under the age of 18, 9.10% from 18 to 24, 27.30% from 25 to 44, 21.00% from 45 to 64, and 13.30% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females there were 92.50 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.50 males.
The median income for a household in the parish was $27,736, and the median income for a family was $33,129. Males had a median income of $28,279 versus $18,668 for females. The per capita income for the parish was $13,398. About 18.10% of families and 20.90% of the population were below the poverty line, including 25.40% of those under age 18 and 19.90% of those age 65 or over.