Nacogdoches entered the news in February, 2003, as one of the East Texas towns that received much of the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster debris.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 65.5 km² (25.3 mi²). 65.3 km² (25.2 mi²) of it is land and 0.2 km² (0.1 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 0.24% water.
As of the census of 2000, there are 29,914 people, 11,220 households, and 5,935 families residing in the city. The population density is 457.8/km² (1,185.9/mi²). There are 12,329 housing units at an average density of 188.7/km² (488.7/mi²). The racial makeup of the city is 65.98% White, 25.06% African American, 0.34% Native American, 1.13% Asian, 0.11% Pacific Islander, 5.84% from other races, and 1.55% from two or more races. 10.82% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There are 11,220 households out of which 25.3% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 35.7% are married couples living together, 13.7% have a female householder with no husband present, and 47.1% are non-families. 33.5% of all households are made up of individuals and 9.6% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.30 and the average family size is 3.04.
In the city the population is spread out with 20.2% under the age of 18, 30.9% from 18 to 24, 22.3% from 25 to 44, 15.4% from 45 to 64, and 11.1% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 24 years. For every 100 females there are 87.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 84.2 males.
The median income for a household in the city is $22,700, and the median income for a family is $37,020. Males have a median income of $28,933 versus $22,577 for females. The per capita income for the city is $14,546. 32.3% of the population and 20.9% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total people living in poverty, 38.4% are under the age of 18 and 13.3% are 65 or older.