Gibsonton was famous as a sideshow wintering town, where various circus "freaks" would spend the off season. It was home to Percilla the Monkey girl, the Anatomical Wonder, and the Lobster Boy. Siamese twin sisters ran a fruit stand here. At one time, it was the only post office with a counter for dwarves. Aside from the agreeable winter climate, Gibsonton offered unique circus zoning laws that allowed residents to keep elephants and circus trailers on their front lawns.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the community has a total area of 13.7 square miles (35.5 km²), of which, 12.9 square miles (33.3 km²) of it is land and 0.8 square miles (2.2 km²) of it (6.14%) is water.
There were 3,112 households out of which 36.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.9% were married couples living together, 14.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.5% were non-families. 20.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.80 and the average family size was 3.18.
In the community the population was spread out with 29.7% under the age of 18, 9.8% from 18 to 24, 30.7% from 25 to 44, 21.0% from 45 to 64, and 8.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females there were 106.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 105.0 males.
The median income for a household in the community was $34,000, and the median income for a family was $36,067. Males had a median income of $27,457 versus $21,826 for females. The per capita income for the community was $15,695. About 16.0% of families and 18.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 24.8% of those under age 18 and 11.7% of those age 65 or over.