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Friday, 07 February 2014 13:32
Outside New Orleans area, Louisiana population growth withering
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jindal-GE-new-orleansAccording to an article by Thomas Thoren published in The Lens on February 4, recent population data shows that Louisiana is "simultaneously thriving and withering." While New Orleans has experienced "some of the greatest growth in the country in recent years," the growth might be slowing.



Furthermore, the growth of New Orleans masks a population loss in the rest of the state. However, the state's domestic population loss is outweighed by a number of international immigrants, "resulting in a net migration into Louisiana." 

Of the roughly 237,000 people who left Louisiana in the wake of Katrina, the state has recovered around 100,000. Louisiana has kept gaining more residents than it has lost, but recent data shows that the growth is slowing down. This development in turn slows down the Katrina recovery process, and one of most important reasons why fewer people are returning is, according to Allison Plyer, executive director of the Greater New Orleans Community Data Center, lack of jobs. Several industries, such as oil, gas, and shipping are still suffering long-term losses post-Katrina. 

While Louisiana has been growing, this would not be the case if Orleans, Jefferson, and St. Bernard parishes were excluded. The state-wide growth is actually among the worst of southern state. An increased growth rate will largely depend on the job market, particularly in the petrochemical and natural gas industries, Plyer said. 

In 2012-13, Louisiana had a net gain of 4,200 people who moved from elsewhere. This net gain, however, was largely due to the arrival of international immigrants. The problem is that international migration figures are unreliable. Demographer Elliott Stonecipher said: "I still don't have any confidence in the foreign migration state...and frankly,  I don't know anybody who does." 

Following the 2010 Census, Louisiana lost one of its seven seats in the U.S. House, making it the only southern state to do so in the reallocation. While some people blamed Katrina, demographer Greg Rigamer argues that it would have happened regardless because Louisiana's growth was slowing down even before Katrina. 

Read more in original source: Thomas Thoren: New Orleans’ Katrina Recovery Slows as Most of Louisiana Loses Population to Rest of Country

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