Census Bureau: Louisiana Population Growth Continues Lag


by Elliott Stonecipher

New U. S. Census Bureau data show Louisiana’s population growth continuing to trail-off in years following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

Between July 1, 2012 and July 1, 2013, official estimates by Census show a total increase in population for Louisiana of 23,336 residents, from 4,602,134 to 4,625,470, some 3,800 fewer than the previous year.  The percentage population change, +0.51%, continues to trail the national rate of growth, +0.72%.  The nation’s population increased to 316,128,839 from 313,873,685 during the reported Estimates year.

Additional and important data from the Census Bureau in this context was not included with today’s release as it has been previously, with Census announcing an additional data release next month.  Included in the delay are data showing how many of the 23,336 new Louisiana residents are attributable to increases in births-minus-deaths as compared to any net in-migration of residents from other states or nations.

Since the period July 1, 2005 to July 1, 2006 – during which Hurricanes Katrina and Rita triggered the outmigration of hundreds-of-thousands Louisiana residents – there has been a steady decline in the state’s population recovery.  The Census Bureau officially counted -219,563 fewer residents during that twelve-month period.  For years following that population loss, gains have been:

July 1, 2006 to July 1, 2007:    49,916
July 1, 2007 to July 1, 2008:    37,486
July 1, 2008 to July 1, 2009:    40,563
July 1, 2009 to July 1, 2010:    N/A (no Estimates in decennial Census year)
July 1, 2010 to July 1, 2011:    29,493
July 1, 2011 to July 1, 2012:    27,127
July 1, 2012 to July 1, 2013:    23,336

Notably, in the three Estimates years preceding Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, Louisiana’s near population stagnation resulted in consistently small annual population increases averaging just under 20,000.  (Specifically, population increases in those three years were 20,142 for July 1, 2002 to July 1, 2003, followed by increases of 22,105 and 16,943 in the following two Estimates years.)  The post-hurricane trend continues to lag toward that norm.  Since the 1980 Census, over 600,000 more Louisiana residents have moved away from the state than those who have moved in.  This dramatic population drain has been covered by more births than deaths, but that growth contributor continues to weaken in Louisiana and elsewhere.

With an increase of 0.51% in the most recent Estimates year, Louisiana’s population gain surpassed Mississippi (0.16%), Arkansas (0.32%), Alabama (0.34%), and Kentucky (0.36%), but trailed other states in its broader U. S. region, including Tennessee (0.64%), Georgia (0.77%), Oklahoma (0.91%), North Carolina (1.02%), South Carolina (1.07%), Florida (1.20%) and Texas (1.49%).  As a whole, population in the Census Bureau’s South Region grew 0.96%, about the same as the nation-leading West region’s 0.99%.  The Midwest region’s growth was less than half that of the nation at 0.34%, as was the increase among states in the Northeast region (0.31%).

Elliott Stonecipher

Elliott Stonecipher’s reports and commentaries are written strictly in the public interest, with no compensation of any kind solicited or accepted.  Appropriate credit to Mr. Stonecipher in the sharing – unedited only, please – of his work is requested and appreciated.