Lafayette (/ˌlɑːfiːˈɛt, ˌlæf-/, French: [lafajɛt]) is a city in and the parish seat of Lafayette Parish, Louisiana, located along the Vermilion River in the southwestern part of the state. The city of Lafayette is the fourth-largest in the state, with a population of 126,143 according to 2018 U.S. Census estimates. It is the principal city of the Lafayette, Louisiana Metropolitan Statistical Area, with a 2015 estimated population of 490,488. The larger trade area or Combined Statistical Area of Lafayette-Opelousas-Morgan City CSA was 627,146 in 2015.
Its nickname is The Hub City.
Lafayette is located at 30°13′N 92°2′W / 30.217°N 92.033°W / 30.217; -92.033 (30.2139, −92.0294) and has an elevation of 36 feet (11.0 m). According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 49.2 square miles (127 km), of which 49.1 square miles (127 km) is land and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km) (0.19%) is water.
Lafayette is located on the West Gulf Coastal Plain. The site was part of the seabed during the earlier Quaternary Period. During this time, the Mississippi River cut a 325-foot-deep (99 m) valley between what is now Lafayette and Baton Rouge. This valley was filled and is now the Atchafalaya Basin. Lafayette is located on the western rim of this valley.
This is part of the southwestern Louisiana Prairie Terrace; it is higher and not made of wetlands like much of the surrounding areas to the south and west of Lafayette. Lafayette does not suffer significant flooding problems, outside of local flash flooding. Lafayette has developed on both sides of the Vermilion River. Other significant waterways in the city are Isaac Verot Coulee, Coulee Mine, Coulee des Poches, and Coulee Ile des Cannes, which are natural drainage canals that lead to the Vermilion River.
As of the census of 2010, there were 120,623 people, 43,506 households, and 27,104 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,316.7 people per square mile (894.5/km²). There were 46,865 housing units at an average density of 984.7 per square mile (380.2/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 68.23% White, 28.51% African American, 0.25% Native American, 1.44% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.58% from other races, and 0.97% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 7.88% of the population. In 2010, 84.2% of the population over the age of five spoke English at home, and 11.5% of the population spoke French or Cajun French, a dialect that developed in Louisiana.
There were 43,506 households out of which 31.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.9% were married couples living together, 14.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.7% were non-families. Nearly 29.4% of all households were made up of individuals, and 8.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.43 and the average family size was 3.07.
In the city, the population was spread out with 25.1% under the age of 18, 13.3% from 18 to 24, 29.5% from 25 to 44, 20.9% from 45 to 64, and 11.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females, there were 93.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.9 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $35,996, and the median income for a family was $47,783. Males had a median income of $37,729 versus $23,606 for females. The per capita income for the city was $21,031. About 11.6% of families and 16.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 18.3% of those under age 18 and 14.5% of those age 65 or over.