Rapides Parish (French: Paroisse des Rapides) is a parish located in the U.S. state of Louisiana. As of the 2010 census, the population was 131,613. The parish seat is Alexandria, which developed along the Red River of the South. Rapides is the French spelling of “rapids” and is pronounced ra-PEEDS (I.P.A. [ɹæ.pid͜z]). The parish was created in 1807 after the United States acquired this territory in the Louisiana Purchase.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the parish has a total area of 1,362 square miles (3,530 km), of which 1,318 square miles (3,410 km) is land and 44 square miles (110 km) (3.2%) is water. It is the second-largest parish in Louisiana by land area.
As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 131,613 people residing in the parish. 63.3% were White, 25.0% Black or African American, 1.83% Asian, 2.15% Native American, 1.56% of some other race and 1.88% of two or more races. 6.85% were Hispanic or Latino (of any race).
As of the census of 2000, there were 126,337 people, 47,120 households, and 33,125 families residing in the parish. The population density was 93 people per square mile (37/km²). There were 52,038 housing units at an average density of 39 per square mile (15/km²). The racial makeup of the parish was 66.51% White, 30.43% Black or African American, 0.74% Native American, 0.86% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 0.42% from other races, and 1.01% from two or more races. 1.38% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 47,120 households out of which 34.60% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.70% were married couples living together, 16.80% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.70% were non-families. 26.00% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.30% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.56 and the average family size was 3.09.
In the parish the population was spread out with 27.20% under the age of 18, 9.50% from 18 to 24, 27.90% from 25 to 44, 22.40% from 45 to 64, and 13.10% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females, there were 91.70 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.00 males.
The median income for a household in the parish was $29,856, and the median income for a family was $36,671. Males had a median income of $29,775 versus $20,483 for females. The per capita income for the parish was $16,088. About 16.40% of families and 20.50% of the population were below the poverty line, including 26.30% of those under age 18 and 16.30% of those age 65 or over.