The official U.S. Census Bureau count for 2020, released on Thursday, shows only 19 of Louisiana’s 64 parishes grew at all over the preceding decade. Only 13 of those exceeded the state’s sluggish 2.7% growth rate, which brought its total population up to about 4.66 million residents.
According to the Lafayette Daily Advertiser, The north and central parts of the state, as well as the River Parishes, saw populations fall. Central Louisiana — Avoyelles, Catahoula, Concordia, Grant, LaSalle, Rapides and Winn Parishes — saw its population fall 3.7%. Northwest Louisiana, around the Shreveport-Bossier metro area, saw its population fall by 3%.
South Louisiana saw the bulk of the population increases. The Greater New Orleans Area had the largest increase with 6.9%, followed by the Greater Baton Rouge Area’s 5.9%. Southwest Louisiana around Lake Charles added 5.1%, and Acadiana added 0.6%. The census data is as of April 2020, before Hurricanes Laura and Delta devastated Southwest Louisiana and forced many residents to relocate.
Northeast Louisiana’s population fell by 2%. The River Parishes region — Assumption, Lafourche and Terrebonne — saw a decrease of 1.5%.
Tensas Parish saw the largest decrease in population, losing 21%. Five other parishes lost more than 15% of their populations: Cameron, Claiborne, Madison, Red River and West Carroll.
The census data is used to help states redraw lines for congressional and legislative districts. The U.S. Census Bureau will have another data release Sept. 30, when it will release the same data in easier-to-use formats.