According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 10.4 square miles (26.9 km2), of which 10.0 square miles (25.9 km2) is land and 0.39 square miles (1.0 km2), or 3.74% is water.
As of the census of 2000, there were 17,320 people, 6,560 households, and 4,696 families residing in the city. The population density is 1,713.6 people per square mile (661.5/km²). There were 7,203 housing units at an average density of 712.6 per square mile (275.1/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 87.49% White, 7.36% African American, 0.39% Native American, 2.57% Asian, 0.07% Pacific Islander, 0.68% from other races, and 1.44% from two or more races. 2.29% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 6,560 households out of which 36.2% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.8% were married couples living together, 13.5% have a female householder with no husband present, and 28.4% were non-families. 22.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.7% had someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.61 and the average family size is 3.07.
In the city, the population dispersal was 27.1% under the age of 18, 9.1% from 18 to 24, 29.8% from 25 to 44, 22.8% from 45 to 64, and 11.2% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 93.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.7 males. The median income for a household in the city was $43,289, and the median income for a family was $50,014. Males had a median income of $35,909 versus $24,119 for females. The per capita income for the city was $19,305. 9.0% of the population and 7.7% of families were below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 15.2% of those under the age of 18 and 3.7% of those 65 and older were living below the poverty line.
The city of Long Beach is served by the Long Beach School District. The district operates five campuses and has an enrollment of approximately 2,700 students. These campuses include Long Beach High School, Long Beach Middle School, Reeves Elementary School, Quarles Elementary School, and Harper McCaughan Elementary School, rebuilt in a new location after the previous school was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.
Long Beach High has a long-standing tradition of excellence. It offers rigorous academics including college preparatory classes, advanced placement classes and award-winning vocational classes. In 2007 Long Beach High School was named a National Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education, making it one of four schools in Mississippi and one of about 273 private and public schools in the United States to receive this honor.
The Gulf Coast campus of the University of Southern Mississippi is located in Long Beach along Beach Boulevard. The Friendship Oak tree is located on the front lawn of the Southern Miss Gulf Park campus.
Long Beach began as an agricultural town, based around its radish industry. But on August 10, 1905, Long Beach incorporated and became another city on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. As the years went on, the city moved from its agricultural heritage and moved toward tourism with the beach and high-rise condominiums becoming increasingly popular.
Long Beach's early economy was based largely upon radishes. Logging initially drove the local economy, but when the area's virgin yellow pine forests became depleted, row crops were planted on the newly cleared land.
A productive truck farming town in the early 20th century, citizens of Long Beach proclaimed the city to be the "Radish Capital of the World". The city was especially known for its cultivation of the Long Red radish variety, a favorite beer hall staple in the northern US at the time. In 1921, a bumper crop resulted in the shipment of over 300 train loads of Long Beach's Long Red radishes to northern states.
Eventually, the Long Red radishes for which Long Beach was known fell into disfavor, and the rise of the common button radish caused a dramatic decline in the cultivation of this crop in the area.
Nineteen days following the city's centennial, Hurricane Katrina struck the city on August 29, 2005, destroying almost all buildings within 500 meters (1,600 ft) of the Gulf of Mexico shoreline. Many Long Beach residents were left homeless or living in water and or wind damaged houses.
The city of Long Beach, California, held a fund raiser to help its eponymous relative. The city of Peoria, Arizona, adopted Long Beach and provided both public and private resources. This resulted in a close relationship between the two communities.
Today, the city is still recovering from Hurricane Katrina. Residents are returning as beaches and condominiums in the area are being repaired. However, the city has not seen a return of business to pre-Katrina levels due in part to building codes on the beach established by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Mississippi Emergency Management Agency and to the economic downturn.