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3.30.23 – By Victor Skinner | The Center Square contributor

Louisiana parishes with the state’s biggest cities all witnessed significant population declines between July 2021 and July 2022, according to new U.S. Census figures.

The Census Bureau’s Vintage 2022 estimates shows a return to pre pandemic population trends, with domestic migration slowing from urban counties. In Louisiana, some parishes with large cities accelerated population losses compared to the year prior, while others remained about the same.

“The migration and growth patterns for counties edged closer to pre-pandemic levels this year,” said Dr. Christine Hartley, assistant division chief for estimates and projections in the Census Bureau’s population division. “Some urban counties, such as Dallas and San Francisco, saw domestic outmigration at a slower pace between 2021 and 2022, compared to the prior year. Meanwhile, many counties with large universities saw their populations fully rebound this year as students returned.”

In Orleans Parish, home to New Orleans, the population declined by 7,314 between July 1, 2021 and July 1, 2022, driven primarily by domestic migration of 8,501, which was offset by births outpacing deaths by 204 and international migration contributing 806. The year prior, Orleans parish lost 6,311 residents. Since April 2020, 14,249 residents have left the parish.

This graph shows the largest population changes by percentage from U.S. Census data.The Center Square

In Baton Rouge’s East Baton Rouge Parish, the population declined by 3,109 between July 2021 and July 2022, which equates to 526 more residents lost than the year before, when the population declined by 2,583. Births outpaced deaths by 831 between July 2021 and July 2022, while international migration added 1,588, but domestic migration reduced the population by 5,589. Total loss since April 2020 was 6,237, according to the data.

Ouachita Parish’s population loss of 1,235 last year remained steady at 1,217 residents lost between July 2021 and July 2022, bringing the total loss there since April 2020 to 2,662. The parish, home to Monroe, gained 112 residents to international migration, but lost 49 to natural change and 1,277 to domestic migration.

It was a similar situation in Shreveport’s Caddo Parish, which lost 3,716 between July 2021 and July 2022, or slightly less than the 3,964 residents lost the year prior, bringing the total lost since April 2020 to 8,832 residents. Between July 2021 and July 2022, Caddo Parish lost 586 residents to natural change, and 3,254 to domestic migration, while international migration added 94 residents.

Louisiana also had four parishes in the top 10 counties nationally for population loss in terms of percentage decline for those with populations of at least 20,000. St. John the Baptist Parish’s 5.1% loss was ranked second in that category, behind only Lassen County, California, which lost 6%.

Terrebonne Parish posted the third highest percentage loss at 3.9%, followed by Plaquemines Parish’s 3.3% loss in fourth. St. Charles Parish, meanwhile, lost 2.7% of residents, putting it eighth among states nationally for those with populations over 20,000.