The town started its developments earlier than 1876. The introduction of Southern Railway (Kovilpatti was a water stop for steam engines), the establishment of textile mills like Loyal Textiles (1891), Lakshmi Mills Ltd (1926) and siting of the Government Revenue Divisional Offices (1911), fueled the economic growth of the town.
The town was constituted as a Municipal Town in 1964 composed of Kovilpatti Village and Illuppaiyurani Village. In 1961, the town was 2.64 km2 with a population of 33,305; in 1971, it extended to 7.25 km2 holding a population of 48,509 and in 1991, it was 12.58 km2 with a population of 78,834.
As of the census of India 2001, Kovilpatti had a population of 87,450 comprising 43,117 males and 44,333 females, making the sex ratio (number of females per thousand males) of the town to 1,028. A total of 9,639 people were under six years of age and the child sex ratio (number of females per thousand males under six years of age) stood at 971. The town had an average literacy of 84.66%, higher than the national average of 59.5%. A total of 7,120 comprising 9.15% of the population belonged to Scheduled Castes (SC) and 635 comprising 0.82% of the population belonged to Scheduled tribes (ST). There were are total of 21,951 households in the town. As of 2001, Kovilpatti had a total of 37,619 main workers: 59 cultivators, 210 agricultural labourers, 3,940 in house hold industries and 33,410 other workers. There was a total of 2,385 marginal workers: 4 marginal cultivators, 41 marginal agricultural labourers, 1,615 marginal workers in household industries and 725 other marginal workers. 
Kovilpatti is located at  It has an average elevation of 106 metres (347 feet). Located 100 km south of Madurai city, 55 km north of Tirunelveli Town and 60 km north-west of Tuticorin, Kovilpatti is situated on National Highway No.7 which connects Varanasi in the north and Kanyakumari in the south. The town lies approximately 130 m above mean sea level..
The climate of Kovilpatti town is hot and dry. Temperatures range between a maximum of 37 °C and a minimum of 22 °C. April to June are the hottest months and December and January are coldest with temperatures rising towards the end of February. Rainfall occurs mostly during the north-east monsoon in the months of October to December though the town receives little rainfall, averaging 840 mm compared to the district average. Annual rainfall has ranged from 964 mm to 228 mm during past decades.
Kovilpatti constituency was part of Sivakasi Lok Sabha Constituency till 2008. As per order of the Delimitation Commission in respect of the delimitation of constituencies in the Tamil Nadu, the Kovilpatti constituency will be a segment of the new Thoothukkudi (Lok Sabha constituency). Delimitation was made effective for all elections in the state of Tamil Nadu that is held on or after 19 February 2008. With 5 terms from 1967 to 1990, S.Alagarsamy was the longest-serving member of the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly representing the Kovilpatti constituency.
V.O.C.government Higher Secondary school, Government girls Higher Secondary school, Nadar Higher Secondary school,E.V.A. Vallimuthu High School, Lakshmi mill Higher Secondary school, Kammavar Higher Secondary school, St.Paul's Matriculation Higher Secondary School,SDA Higher Secondary school, AVS Higher secondary school, Shyamala CBSE school,Punitha ohm convent matriculation school, Johnbosco Matric School and Edustar International School,Ravilla K.R.A vidhyashram,Kamaraj Matriculation Higher Seconday School are some of the most prominent schools in the town. GVN Arts and science college, National Engineering college, KR College of Arts and Science, Unnamalai Engineering college, SS.Duraisamy nadar mariammal college,Punitha ohm college of education are some of the most prominent colleges in the town.
Kovilpatti is one of the industrial cities in Tamil Nadu. The town started its industrial development earlier than 1891. The introduction of the Southern Railway, the establishment of Loyal Textiles (1891), Lakshmi Mills (1926), establishment of Government Revenue Divisional Offices (1911), induced the industrial growth of the town. Kovilpatti is famous for match factories, textile mills and fireworks industry.
The Shenbagavalli-Poovananathar temple has a legend that Sage Agasthya came to South to balance the earth level when it sank at north during the wedding of Lord Shiva with Mother Parvathi is popular. On his way to Pothigai hills, the sage destroyed two demons Vilvalan and Vadhabi and also relieved himself of the Brahmmahati dosha that afflicted him due to killing of the demons. He also created the Agasthya spring as requested by the sages of Ponmalai hills. One Vamanan belonging to Shivakuzhu was born as the king of Vembakkottai in the name of Shenbagan as ordered by Nandhi, the bull vehicle of Lord Shiva. He built the temple as advised by the Lord. As the temple is built by king Shenbagan, Mother is named Shenbagavalli. Later, the temple was renovated by Ullamudayan belonging the 10th century. Kathiresan temple is built on a hill Kathiresan hills at west side of the city. City view from the hill is quite interesting and may enjoy fresh air. Ettayapuram is situated about 15 km east of Kovilpatti. It is notable as a cotton growing centre. It is also famous as the birthplace of Nationalist poet and freedom fighter, Bharathi. Points of interest are the ruins of Ettayapuram Jamin palace, the Manimandapam of Bharathiyar, the birth house of Bharathiyar, and the memorial of Sri Muthusamy Deikshidar. Kalugumalai is a massive dome of rock of 300 feet height situated on the road connecting Kovilpatti and Sankarankoil. It is famous for a rock cut temple called “Vettuvankoil”. Another rock cut temple is dedicated to lord Subramaniya Swamy is located at the foot of the rock. The remains of "Samana Palli" or Jain school can be seen atop the hill along the Vettuvan Koil. Panchalankuruchi is situated three kilometres north of Ottapidaram. The famous freedom fighter Kattabomman's fort was located here. At present only the fort remains; the rest of the settlement was destroyed by the British at the end of the war in 1799. In 1975, the government of Tamil Nadu constructed a fort in Panchalankurich in memory of the freedom fighter. Sankarankoil is situated west of Kovilpatti. It is the site of temple of Sankara Narayanar and Gomathiamman and attracts pilgrims and devotees from the surrounding districts. The Adithapasu festival attracts large crowds every year during July or August.
- Falling Rain Genomics, Inc - Kovilpatti
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