As of the census of 2000, 15,538 people, 5,969 households, and 4,005 families resided in the city. The population density was 914.1 people per square mile (352.9/km²). The 6,423 housing units averaged 377.9 per square mile (145.9/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 80.77% White, 6.00% African American, 1.33% Native American, 0.55% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 9.09% from other races, and 2.23% from two or more races. Hispanics or Latinos of any race were 17.47% of the population.
Of the 5,969 households, 33.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.2% were married couples living together, 13.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.9% were not families; 29.3% of all households were made up of individuals, and 14.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.52 and the average family size was 3.13.
The chance of becoming a victim of either violent or property crime in Gainesville is 1 in 36. Based on FBI crime data, Gainesville is not one of the safest communities in America. Relative to Texas, Gainesville has a crime rate that is higher than 84% of the state’s cities and towns of all sizes.