Ponchatoula is a small city in Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana, United States. The population was 6,559 at the 2010 census.
Ponchatoula is located at 30°26′21″N 90°26′33″W / 30.43917°N 90.44250°W / 30.43917; -90.44250 (30.439162, -90.442507) and has an elevation of 26 feet (7.9 m). According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 4.2 square miles (11 km), all land.
Ponchatoula is located along Interstate 55 and Louisiana Highway 22, equidistant from New Orleans and Baton Rouge. In the early 1900s, Ponchatoula was one of only two ways to reach New Orleans by land, thus earning the moniker “Gateway to New Orleans.”
As of the 2000 census, there were 5,180 people, 1,984 households, and 1,372 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,226.7 people per square mile (473.9/km²). There were 2,175 housing units at an average density of 515.1 per square mile (199.0/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 62.20% White, 36.83% African American, 0.19% Native American, 0.12% Asian, 0.15% from other races, and 0.50% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.85% of the population.
There were 1,984 households out of which 34.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 41.2% were married couples living together, 23.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.8% were non-families. 27.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.60 and the average family size was 3.16.
In the city, the population was spread out with 29.8% under the age of 18, 9.9% from 18 to 24, 26.9% from 25 to 44, 21.0% from 45 to 64, and 12.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females, there were 85.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 79.1 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $22,244, and the median income for a family was $29,583. Males had a median income of $30,285 versus $18,952 for females. The per capita income for the city was $12,157. About 27.9% of families and 31.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 46.9% of those under age 18 and 15.1% of those age 65 or over.