Gulfport is the second largest city in Mississippi after the state capital, Jackson. It is the larger of the two principal cities of the Gulfport-Biloxi, Mississippi Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is included in the Gulfport-Biloxi-Pascagoula, Mississippi Combined Statistical Area. As of the 2010 census, the city of Gulfport had a total population of 67,793. Gulfport is co-county seat with Biloxi of Harrison County, Mississippi. Gulfport is also home to the US Navy Atlantic Fleet Seabees.
|City of Gulfport|
Highway sign along U.S. Route 90
|Motto(s): Where Your Ship Comes In|
Location of Gulfport in the State of Mississippi
Location in the United States
Gulfport (the US)
|Incorporated||July 28, 1898|
|• Type||Mayor, 7 Member Council|
|• Mayor||Billy Hewes (R)|
|• City||64.2 sq mi (166.4 km2)|
|• Land||56.9 sq mi (147.4 km2)|
|• Water||7.3 sq mi (19.0 km2)|
|Elevation||20 ft (6 m)|
|• Estimate (2016)||72,076|
|• Rank||US: 476th|
|• Density||1,100/sq mi (410/km2)|
|• Urban||208,948 (US: 175th)|
|• Metro||382,516 (US: 137th)|
|Time zone||CST (UTC-6)|
|• Summer (DST)||CDT (UTC-5)|
|ZIP Codes||39501-39503, 39505-39507|
|GNIS feature ID||0670771|
|Website||City of Gulfport|
This area was occupied by indigenous cultures for thousands of years, culminating in the historic Choctaw encountered by European explorers. Along the Gulf Coast, French colonists founded nearby Biloxi, Mississippi, and Mobile, Alabama before the area was acquired by the United States in 1803. By the Indian Removal Act of 1830, the United States completed treaties to extinguish their land claims and removed them to Indian Territory, now Oklahoma. In that period, the other four of the Five Civilized Tribes in the Southeast were also removed, to make way for European Americans to take over the lands.
An early settlement near this location, known as Mississippi City, appeared on a map of Mississippi from 1855. Mississippi City was the county seat of Harrison County from 1841 to 1902, but is now a suburb in east Gulfport.
Gulfport was incorporated on July 28, 1898. Gulfport was founded by William H. Hardy who was president of the Gulf and Ship Island Railroad (G&SIRR) that connected inland lumber mills to the coast. He was joined by Joseph T. Jones, who later took over the G&SIRR, dredged the harbor in Gulfport, and opened the shipping channel to the sea. In 1902, the harbor was completed and the Port of Gulfport became a working seaport. It now accounts for millions of dollars in annual sales and tax revenue for the state of Mississippi.
In March 1916, Mayor George M. Foote announced that the Andrew Carnegie Corporation was going to place a Carnegie Library in Gulfport. The city had agreed to providing matching funds for the construction and committed to operating funds. In the 20th century, the city developed as an important port; as it was served by railroads from the interior, it stimulated town growth by providing a way to get products to markets.
On August 17, 1969 Gulfport and the Mississippi Gulf Coast were hit by Hurricane Camille. Measured by central pressure, Camille was the second-strongest hurricane to make U.S. land fall in recorded history. The area of total destruction in Harrison County, Mississippi was 68 square miles (180 km2). The total estimated cost of damage was $1.42 billion (1969 USD, $9 billion 2012 USD). This made Camille the second-most expensive hurricane in the United States, up to that point (behind Hurricane Betsy). The storm directly killed 143 people in Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana.
In December 1993, the City annexed 33 square miles (85 km2) north of Gulfport, making it the second-largest city in Mississippi.
On August 29, 2005, Gulfport was hit by the strong eastern side of Hurricane Katrina. Much of the city was flooded or destroyed in one day by the strong, hurricane-force winds, which lasted more than 16 hours, and a storm surge exceeding 28 feet (9 m) in some sections.
Hurricane Katrina damaged more than 40 Mississippi libraries, gutting the Gulfport Public Library, first floor, and breaking windows on the second floor, beyond repair. It required total reconstruction.
Although Katrina's damage was far more widespread, it was not the fiercest hurricane to hit Gulfport. Katrina, a category 3 storm was dwarfed by hurricane Camille, a category 5 storm, which hit Gulfport and neighboring communities on August 17, 1969 with 190 mph sustained winds compared to Katrina's 130 mph sustained winds.
The Sun Herald newspaper in Biloxi-Gulfport, under the executive editor Stanley R. Tiner, won the 2006 Pulitzer Prize in journalism for its Katrina coverage. The local ABC television affiliate, WLOX, won the Peabody Award for its Hurricane Katrina coverage.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city had a total area of 64.2 sq mi (166.4 km2), of which 56.9 sq mi (147.4 km2) is land and 7.3 sq mi (19.0 km2) (11.40%) is water.
Gulfport has a humid subtropical climate, which is strongly moderated by the Gulf of Mexico. Winters are short and generally warm, cold spells do occur, but seldom last long. Snow flurries are rare in the city, with no notable accumulation occurring most years. Summers are generally long, hot and humid, though the city's proximity to the Gulf prevents extreme summer highs, as seen farther inland. Gulfport is subject to extreme weather, most notably tropical storm activity through the Gulf of Mexico.
|Climate data for Gulfport, Mississippi (Gulfport-Biloxi Int'l), 1981–2010 normals|
|Average high °F (°C)||60.9
|Average low °F (°C)||41.6
|Average precipitation inches (mm)||2.68
|Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 In)||8.4||8.3||9.0||6.3||6.4||11.4||13.3||14.5||7.5||9.4||8.9||10.5||113.9|
|U.S. Decennial Census
According to the census of 2010, there were 67,793 people residing in the city. The population density was 1,191.4 people per square mile (459.9/km²). The city had 50,825 or 74.97% of its population at the age of 18 and above. The racial makeup of the city was 56.86% White, 36.07% African American, 0.39% Native American, 1.69% Asian, 0.14% Pacific Islander, 2.13% from other races, and 2.73% from two or more races. Results show that 5.19% of the population was Hispanic/Latino of any race.
There were 31,602 housing units at an average density of 555.4 per square mile (214.4/km²) with 83.24% of housing units occupied andan average of 2.57 persons living in each occupied housing unit.
Comparing the 2000 and 2010 Census, the population of the city went down while the total number of housing units rose. This can be attributed to Hurricane Katrina, which destroyed housing and displaced people. New housing development has continued with a mixture of redevelopment from hurricane damage, though not all of the displaced population returned.
As of the census of 2000, there were 26,943 households out of which 32.1% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.6% were married couples living together, 18.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.5% were non-families. 27.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.51 and the average family size was 3.07.
In Gulfport, the population dispersal was 26.0% under the age of 18, 11.1% from 18 to 24, 30.4% from 25 to 44, 21.1% from 45 to 64, and 11.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females, there were 98.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.1 males. The median income for a household in the city was $32,779, and the median income for a family was $39,213. Males had a median income of $29,220 versus $21,736 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,554. 17.7% of the population and 14.1% of families were below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 25.8% of those under the age of 18 and 13.7% of those 65 and older were living below the poverty line.
Gulfport is the location of Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport. The airport suffered extensive damage due to Hurricane Katrina. A major renovation project is for the most part completed and it has resumed commercial air service.
According to Gulfport's 2014 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the top employers in the city were:
|#||Employer||# of Employees|
|1||Naval Construction Battalion Center||5,500|
|3||Harrison County School District||1,802|
|4||Island View Casino||1,206|
|6||Gulfport School District||900|
|8||Gulf Coast Shipyard Group||650|
|9||Gulf Ship, LLC||650|
|10||Gulfport Combat Readiness Training Center||636|
From its beginnings as a lumber port, Gulfport evolved into a diversified city. With about 6.7 miles (10.7 kilometres) of white sand beaches along the Gulf of Mexico, Gulfport has become a tourism destination, due in large part to Mississippi's Coast Casinos. Gulfport has served as host to popular cultural events such as the "World's Largest Fishing Rodeo," "Cruisin' the Coast" (a week of classic cars), and "Smokin' the Sound" (speedboat races). Gulfport is a thriving residential community with a strong mercantile center. There are historic neighborhoods and home sites, as well as diverse shopping opportunities and several motels scattered throughout to accommodate golfing, gambling, and water-sport tourism.
The City of Gulfport is served by the Gulfport School District and the Harrison County School District. The Jefferson Davis Campus of Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College is also located in Gulfport.
Before Hurricane Katrina, William Carey University had a satellite campus in Gulfport, but in 2009, the University moved to their new Tradition Campus, constructed off Mississippi Highway 67 in north Harrison County.
The Gulf Park Campus of the University of Southern Mississippi is located in Long Beach, just west of Gulfport. In 2012, repairs and renovations to campus buildings were still in progress following devastation by Hurricane Katrina.
Gulfport's local newspaper is The Sun Herald. It is also served by two television stations, the ABC affiliate WLOX and CBS on WLOX-DT2, the Fox affiliate WXXV, WXXV Digital signal on Channel 25.2 as NBC 25 NBC affiliate, and WXXV Digital signal on Channel 25.3 as The Gulf Coast CW CW+ affiliate. There are also seven radio stations in the Gulfport area.
Gulfport/Biloxi and the Gulf Coast area is served by the Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport.
Military installations at the airport include:
The Gulfport Police Department has 170 sworn personnel and 80 civilian staff.
The U.S. Coast Guard operates 9 boats out of the port of Gulfport 4 of which are Patrol Boats. The Gulfport station has 110 members which include Active, Reserve and Coast Guard Auxiliary who respond to an average of 300 search and rescue cases annually.
The Gulfport Fire Department was founded in 1908 and currently provides fire suppression, HAZMAT response, and technical rescue services within the city limits of Gulfport, Mississippi . The GFD operates out of 11 active stations and is staffed by professional firefighters. The GFD works in conjunction with American Medical Response for EMS related emergencies.