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Sioux City was laid out in 1854 by Dr. John K. Cook, sent by the United States Federal Government to survey northwestern Iowa, who was impressed by the location at the mouths of the Big Sioux and Floyd Rivers at the Missouri. Within 3 years it had a population of 400 people and incorporated as a city.
In 1915 the Industrial Workers of the World staged free speech demonstrations which resulted in mass arrests, filling the city's jails to overflowing. Further major strikes shut down the city in 1921 and 1922, most notably protesting conditions in the packing house industry.
In 1950 Sioux City had a population of about 84,000.
Sioux City is located at 42°29'53" North, 96°23'45" West (42.497957, -96.395705)1. Sioux City is at an altitude of 1,135 feet above sea level.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 144.9 km² (56.0 mi²). 141.9 km² (54.8 mi²) of it is land and 3.0 km² (1.1 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 2.06% water.
As of the census of 2000, there are 85,013 people, 32,054 households, and 21,091 families residing in the city. The population density is 599.0/km² (1,551.3/mi²). There are 33,816 housing units at an average density of 238.3/km² (617.1/mi²). The racial makeup of the city is 85.23% White, 2.41% African American, 1.95% Native American, 2.82% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 5.27% from other races, and 2.28% from two or more races. 10.89% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There are 32,054 households out of which 33.4% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.1% are married couples living together, 12.2% have a female householder with no husband present, and 34.2% are non-families. 27.7% of all households are made up of individuals and 11.3% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.57 and the average family size is 3.14.
In the city the population is spread out with 27.1% under the age of 18, 11.0% from 18 to 24, 28.5% from 25 to 44, 20.2% from 45 to 64, and 13.3% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 33 years. For every 100 females there are 95.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 92.2 males.
The median income for a household in the city is $37,429, and the median income for a family is $45,751. Males have a median income of $31,385 versus $22,470 for females. The per capita income for the city is $18,666. 11.2% of the population and 7.9% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total people living in poverty, 15.0% are under the age of 18 and 7.8% are 65 or older.