by Elliott Stonecipher
March 27, 2014
In the twelve-month period of July 1, 2012 through July 1, 2013, the Caddo Parish population lost -2,204 residents. Its population of 257,091 of July 1, 2012 dropped to 254,887 by July 1, 2013. The population drop erases gains registered since the 2010 Census, with the latest report showing 82 fewer parish residents as of July 1, 2013 than the 254,969 reported in the April 1, 2010 decennial head-count. Caddo is Louisiana’s 4th-largest parish by population, behind East Baton Rouge, Jefferson, and Orleans, in rank order.
Neighboring parishes in the Northwest Louisiana cluster show a mix of cumulative population gain and loss since the April 1, 2010 census. Bossier Parish’s population increased 6,844 to 123,823 (+5.9%), and DeSoto Parish gained 427 (+1.6%) residents during the multi-year period, now at 27,083. Joining Caddo Parish in the population loss column are Webster Parish, having lost -529 residents (−1.3%) to 40,678, and Red River Parish, with a loss of -197 residents (−1.2%) to 8,894.
These population data are from the Census Bureau’s official population Estimates program. City data from the series are expected to be released in May.
The Caddo Parish population loss was foreshadowed by a report earlier this year, about which I wrote on February 2, which showed the Shreveport-Bossier City economy to be the nation’s “fastest-shrinking.” Based on work by 24/7 Wall St and IHS Global Insight, the report used data from the U. S. Conference of Mayors and Census Bureau to show a 2013 GMP (gross metropolitan product) change of −5.2%. The report, published by The Huffington-Post, noted causes and other related facts, including:
… For the second consecutive year, the Shreveport area shrank more than any other metro area in the nation. The area’s GMP fell by 11% in 2012. The economy’s rate of decline slowed somewhat last year, but it still contracted by more than 5%. One explanation for the dramatic declines could be General Motors’ decision to close its large assembly plant in Shreveport in 2012. The plant, which manufactured Hummers and various truck models prior to the shutdown, employed 3,000 people at one time.
The study was panned by various local sources, with Bossier economic development officials directly “question[ing] the veracity” of the data and conclusions. Other sources noted the expected boost to the local economy from the Benteler Steel plant which state officials say will bring “2,200 direct and indirect” jobs next year.
These Census Bureau reports, however, dramatically detail the challenge Caddo Parish faces in stabilizing, much less appreciably growing, its population. This new series of data reports that since April 1, 2010, the parish’s existing population grew with 12,364 births, but lost 8,550 residents to death. This net gain of 3,814 by “natural increase” was more than erased, however, by a loss of 3,620 to “net migration.” Specifically, though the parish gained 694 residents from international migration, it lost 4,314 to domestic migration, i.e., moves away from Caddo, either to other Louisiana parishes or to other states.
Of perhaps greatest alarm in these data is Caddo Parish’s declining birth rate. Specifically, the ratio of births-to-deaths in Caddo Parish since April 1, 2010 is 1.45 births for every death. As an example of a much healthier such ratio, Bossier Parish reported 1.93 births for every death during that period.
Since the 1980 Census, Caddo Parish’s population has increased 6,634 residents, or 2.7%. Louisiana’s population over those 33 years has grown 10.0%, and the nation’s population is now 39.5% higher. Literally, then, the state population has grown over three times (3×) as fast, and the nation’s more than fourteen times (14×) as fast.
Such stagnation has very real and specific causes, many of which are well known, i.e., highest-in-Louisiana property taxes. No plan to address such causes has been developed by city or parish officials.
— 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.