Population, Race and Ethnicity
Fort Smith is a city in Sebastian County, Arkansas, with a population of 87,639. According to the most recent estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau, 60.20% of residents identify as white, 9.80% as Black or African American, 1.00% as American Indian or Alaska Native, 5.90% as Asian, 0.00% as Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander, 19.10% as Hispanic or Latino, and 4.00% as some other race or combination of races.
Nationally, some 61.1% of Americans identify as white, 12.3% as Black or African American, 0.7% as American Indian or Alaska Native, 5.4% as Asian, 0.2% as Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander, 17.8% as Hispanic or Latino, and 2.6% as some other race or combination of races.
Census respondents are also asked to report ancestry. Some of the most commonly reported ancestries in Fort Smith include German, American, Irish, English, and Scottish. Measured by location quotient — comparing the city share to the national share — some of the most highly concentrated ancestries in city are Dutch West Indian, Cajun, and American.
Native and foreign-born population
An estimated 87.70% of Fort Smith residents are native-born, meaning they were born in the United States, Puerto Rico, a U.S. Island Area, or abroad to a U.S. citizen. Of the 12.30% of the population that is foreign-born, 43.60% have become naturalized U.S. citizens. Nationwide, 86.5% of Americans are native-born. And of the 13.5% of Americans who are foreign-born, 48.5% have become naturalized U.S. citizens.
The population of Fort Smith is younger than the United States as a whole. The median age is 36.2 years, 1.7 years less than the national median age of 37.9 years. An estimated 14.20% of the population is 65 years and over, compared to 15.2% of the U.S. population.
Family and household composition
Family and household composition also varies heavily across the United States. In Fort Smith, 40.80% of households are occupied by married-couple families, compared to the 48.3% national figure. Some 5.50% of households are occupied by single male householders, 14.10% by single female householders, and 39.60% by non-family occupants. Nationwide, 4.9% of households are occupied by single male householders, 12.6% by single female householders, and 34.3% by non-family occupants. An estimated 51.80% of heads of household own their homes, compared to the national homeownership rate of 63.8%.
English is by far the most commonly spoken language in Arkansas and across the U.S. as a whole. Similarly, in Fort Smith, 90.9% of local residents aged 5 and up speak English exclusively, or, if they are multilingual, speak English very well. For context, 96.7% of the 5 and older population across Arkansas only speaks English, or speak it very well, and 91.5% of the same age group nationwide do.
Residents of Fort Smith are less likely than the typical American to be married. Of all local residents aged 15 and older, 44.8% are currently married, compared to 48.1% of Americans nationwide in the same age group. Across Arkansas as a whole, 49.8% of residents 15 and older are married.
Divorce is more common in Fort Smith than it is across the U.S. as a whole. According to Census estimates, 15.3% of residents 15 and older are divorced — compared to 10.8% of the U.S. population in the same age group. In Arkansas, 13% of the 15 and older population is divorced.
An estimated 30.8% of Fort Smith residents 15 and older have never married, compared to one-third of all Americans in the same age group.
In Fort Smith, 7.1% of the 18 and older civilian population are veterans — compared to 7.5% of adult civilians nationwide and 8.9% of the civilian population in all of Arkansas.
In Fort Smith, adults are less likely to have a high school education than the typical American adult, and are less likely to have a four-year college education. Among Fort Smith residents 25 and older, 80.80% have a high school diploma or equivalent, and 20.20% have a bachelor's degree or higher, compared to 87.7% and 31.5% of adults nationwide, respectively. Across Arkansas, 86.2% of adults have graduated high school, and 22.6 have a bachelor’s degree.
The typical household in Fort Smith earns $40,004 a year, about $20,300 less than the national median of $60,293 and $5,700 less than the median household income across the state of $45,726.
Serious financial hardship is more common in Fort Smith than it is nationwide. The local poverty rate stands at 23.20%, while the national poverty rate is 14.1%. Across the state as a whole, 17.6% of the population lives below the poverty line.
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