Lake Providence is a town in and the parish seat of East Carroll Parish in northeastern Louisiana. The population was 5,104 at the 2000 census but declined by 21.8 percent to 3,991 in 2010. The town’s poverty rate is approximately 55 percent; the average median household income is $16,500, and the average age is 31.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 3.6 square miles (9.3 km), of which 3.6 square miles (9.3 km) is land and 0.04 square miles (0.10 km) (0.55%) is water.
The existing boundaries of the town constitute the third location of the community. Lake Providence is located adjacent to the Mississippi River. Prior to the building of the current levee system by the United States Army Corps of Engineers, the meandering river would overflow its bank and take valuable lands. It was such flooding that the lake of Lake Providence was created and the town was washed away by the river. Each time the town was taken by the river, the citizens moved.
Historian John D. Winters describes Lake Providence as “a beautiful oxbow lake some six miles (10 km) long, an old Mississippi river bed with an outlet through Baxter Bayou into Bayou Macon and thus into the Tensas, Ouachita, Black, and Red rivers.
As of the census of 2000, there were 5,104 people, 1,707 households, and 1,191 families residing in the town. The population density was 1,418.8 people per square mile (547.4/km²). There were 1,878 housing units at an average density of 522.1 per square mile (201.4/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 19.61% White, 79.51% African American, 0.18% Native American, 0.22% Asian, 0.16% from other races, and 0.33% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.69% of the population.
There were 1,707 households out of which 39.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 31.2% were married couples living together, 34.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.2% were non-families. 27.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.84 and the average family size was 3.49.
In the town, the population was spread out with 35.3% under the age of 18, 11.2% from 18 to 24, 25.7% from 25 to 44, 16.7% from 45 to 64, and 11.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 28 years. For every 100 females, there were 88.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 83.8 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $16,896, and the median income for a family was $20,139. Males had a median income of $19,900 versus $17,135 for females. The per capita income for the town was $8,447. About 42.2% of families and 49.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 67.3% of those under age 18 and 33.0% of those age 65 or over.