Purvis is a city in Lamar County, Mississippi. It is part of the Hattiesburg, Mississippi Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 2,164 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Lamar County. The Town of Purvis was incorporated on February 25, 1888 and was founded by and named after Thomas Melville Purves, originally of Marion County, Alabama. Purves, born March 8, 1820, was a second generation Scottish-American; his grandfather emigrated to Charleston, South Carolina in 1765.
Purvis is located at 31°8′33″N 89°24′28″W / 31.14250°N 89.40778°W / 31.14250; -89.40778 (31.142616, -89.407724).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 3.9 square miles (10 km), of which 3.9 square miles (10 km) is land and 0.25% is water. Because of a well-known system of aquifers and sand mines, this area was selected for “project dribble” to be the site of nuclear tests by the US government during 1961 to 1968 to measure seismic activity.
Purvis is part of the area known as the Pine Belt (Mississippi) due to overwhelming number of longleaf pine trees that populate the forests.
As of the census of 2000, there were 2,164 people, 786 households, and 577 families residing in the city. The population density was 551.0 people per square mile (212.6/km²). There were 844 housing units at an average density of 214.9 per square mile (82.9/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 70.84% White, 27.68% African American, 0.18% Native American, 0.14% Asian, 0.23% from other races, and 0.92% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.06% of the population.
There were 786 households out of which 34.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.2% were married couples living together, 20.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 26.5% were non-families. 24.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.67 and the average family size was 3.16.
In the city, the population was spread out with 27.6% under the age of 18, 10.2% from 18 to 24, 27.2% from 25 to 44, 21.9% from 45 to 64, and 13.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females, there were 90.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 82.8 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $30,938, and the median income for a family was $35,000. Males had a median income of $27,571 versus $17,500 for females. The per capita income for the city was $13,727. About 11.3% of families and 14.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 20.0% of those under age 18 and 13.6% of those age 65 or over.