According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 83.9 km² (31.6 mi²). 74.3 km² (28.7 mi²) of it is land and 9.6 km² (3.7 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 11.46% water.
As of the census of 2000, there are 53,107 people, 19,421 households, and 12,157 families residing in the city. The population density is 714.9/km² (1,851.8/mi²). There are 21,278 housing units at an average density of 286.5/km² (741.9/mi²). The racial makeup of the city is 36.78% White, 61.13% African American, 0.13% Native American, 1.05% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.25% from other races, and 0.63% from two or more races. 1.01% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There are 19,421 households out of which 32.3% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 33.4% are married couples living together, 25.3% have a female householder with no husband present, and 37.4% are non-families. 31.3% of all households are made up of individuals and 11.7% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.54 and the average family size is 3.26.
In the city the population is spread out with 29.7% under the age of 18, 15.0% from 18 to 24, 25.1% from 25 to 44, 17.5% from 45 to 64, and 12.8% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 29 years. For every 100 females there are 84.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 76.6 males.
The median income for a household in the city is $25,864, and the median income for a family is $33,263. Males have a median income of $31,840 versus $22,352 for females. The per capita income for the city is $15,933. 32.3% of the population and 26.3% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total people living in poverty, 45.3% are under the age of 18 and 21.6% are 65 or older.