Hammond is the largest city in Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 17,639. It is home to Southeastern Louisiana University, and the city was the home base for production of the first season of the 1988 television series In the Heat of the Night.
The city is named for Peter Hammond , a Swedish immigrant, who first settled the area around 1818. Hammond is buried on the east side of town under the Hammond Oak along with his wife, three daughters and a favorite slave.
In 1854, the New Orleans, Jackson & Great Northern Railroad (now the Illinois Central Railroad) came to Hammond, launching the city's continuing role as a commercial and transport center. During the American Civil War, the city was a shoemaking center for the Confederacy and it later became a major shipping point for strawberries, earning it the title of "the Strawberry Capital of America." Today, it sits at the intersections of Interstates 12 and 55.
Its 19th century shoemaking industry was the work of Charles Emery Cate , who bought land in the city in 1860 for a home, a shoe factory, tannery and sawmill. Toward the end of the war, Cate laid out the city grid, using the rail line as a guide and naming several of the streets after his sons. After the American Civil War, light industry and commercial activities were attracted to the town, and by the end of the century the town had become a stopping point for northerners traveling south and for New Orleanians heading north to escape summer yellow fever outbreaks.
Hammond is located at 30°30'16" North, 90°27'56" West (30.504446, -90.465616).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 33.0 km² (12.8 mi²). 33.0 km² (12.8 mi²) of it is land and 0.08% is water.
As of the census2 of 2000, there are 17,639 people, 6,251 households, and 3,706 families residing in the city. The population density is 534.2/km² (1,383.4/mi²). There are 7,014 housing units at an average density of 212.4/km² (550.1/mi²). The racial makeup of the city is 52.43% White, 45.20% African American, 0.16% Native American, 0.83% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.46% from other races, and 0.91% from two or more races. 1.57% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There are 6,251 households out of which 29.4% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 34.9% are married couples living together, 20.2% have a female householder with no husband present, and 40.7% are non-families. 28.7% of all households are made up of individuals and 8.6% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.51 and the average family size is 3.19.
In the city the population is spread out with 23.9% under the age of 18, 23.1% from 18 to 24, 23.7% from 25 to 44, 17.1% from 45 to 64, and 12.2% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 27 years. For every 100 females there are 83.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 78.1 males.
The median income for a household in the city is $24,067, and the median income for a family is $31,617. Males have a median income of $30,625 versus $18,533 for females. The per capita income for the city is $15,145. 32.8% of the population and 24.9% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 43.7% of those under the age of 18 and 19.0% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.