Radford University is located here.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 26.4 km² (10.2 mi²). 25.4 km² (9.8 mi²) of it is land and 1.0 km² (0.4 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 3.63% water.
As of the census of 2000, there are 15,859 people, 5,809 households, and 2,643 families residing in the city. The population density is 623.5/km² (1,615.2/mi²). There are 6,137 housing units at an average density of 241.3/km² (625.0/mi²). The racial makeup of the city is 88.21% White, 8.10% African American, 0.25% Native American, 1.43% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.49% from other races, and 1.51% from two or more races. 1.16% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There are 5,809 households out of which 18.8% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 33.9% are married couples living together, 8.9% have a female householder with no husband present, and 54.5% are non-families. 32.0% of all households are made up of individuals and 8.7% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.25 and the average family size is 2.78.
The age distribution, strongly influenced by Radford University, is: 12.9% under the age of 18, 44.0% from 18 to 24, 19.6% from 25 to 44, 14.3% from 45 to 64, and 9.2% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 23 years. For every 100 females there are 83.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 81.6 males.
The median income for a household in the city is $24,654, and the median income for a family is $46,332. Males have a median income of $33,045 versus $22,298 for females. The per capita income for the city is $14,289. 31.4% of the population and 6.9% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total people living in poverty, 10.8% are under the age of 18 and 9.4% are 65 or older. However, traditional measures of poverty can be misleading when applied to a community with a large proportion of students, such as Radford.