Parish population decreases, along with federal funding

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By Times Staff

Eight of the 10 communities in Natchitoches Parish decreased in population according to the 2020 Census report which led to the parish seeing a decline of 2,051 residents between 2010 and 2020. The data collected by the census determine the number of seats each state has in the U.S. House of Representatives (a process called apportionment), to adjust or redraw electoral districts based on where populations have increased or decreased and to distribute hundreds of billions of dollars in federal funds to local communities.

This article published in the Aug. 26, 2021, print edition
Natchitoches Wood

A population decrease can result in fewer federal dollars for the parish. Natchitoches Parish’s population for 2020 was listed at 37,515 residents. In the 2010 census we had 39,566 residents, a drop of 2,051 in population over the 10-year span. Only Powhatan and Goldonna had an increase.

Powhatan went from 135 residents in 2010 to 268 in the latest census report while Goldonna saw an increase of five in the same period, 430 to 435. According to census data, the majority of Louisiana’s parishes saw their populations decrease. A shift in the pattern of residents moving from rural areas into the state’s population centers held true for Louisiana as well.

Nineteen of the state’s 64 parishes saw their populations increase and many of those parishes were suburbs of the state’s larger cities. The state recorded a 2.7 percent increase in population, which was well below the 7.4 percent nationally. Louisiana’s total population was tallied at 4.7 million.

The census showed 76.1 percent of the parish population was between the ages of 18 and 64, 16 percent were 65 and older and 6.4 percent were under the age of five. It showed in the entire parish, the white population was 53.3 percent while the Black or African American population was 41.3 percent.

There were no native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders reported, but 2.4 percent of the population said they were Hispanic or Latino, 2.1 percent were listed as other race and 1.8 percent were classified as two or more races.

The median household income for the parish was listed at $28,567. That was almost half of the state median household income of $51,073. Family income was listed at $48,617 and married-couple family income was $63,792. The total population of the cities, villages and towns of Natchitoches Parish was 21,197. That was a drop of 897 residents from the 2010 census. The City of Natchitoches accounted for about half of that loss.

Natchitoches, which is the 27th largest city in Louisiana, lost 425 residents in the last 10 years. Census data reported 17,898 city residents in 2020 compared to 18,323 in 2010. The 2020 numbers are comparable to the 2000 population, which was listed at 17,865. Clarence and Provencal each lost over 200 residents this past decade. Provencal fell from 611 residents in 2010 to just 366 in 2010.

Clarence saw its population fall from 499 in 2010 to 278 in 2020, a loss of 221 residents. Robeline saw a decline of 67 residents in that same 10 year span with 107 recorded in 2020 and 174 in 2010. Ashland also saw a double digit drop, 55 citizens, going from 269 a decade ago to 214 in 2020.

Campti and Natchez both saw a loss of only 11 citizens in the last 10 years. Campti, the second largest populated community in the parish, fell from 1,056 residents to 1,045. Natchez dropped to 568 residents in 2020 compared to 597 in 2010.

Those areas of the state with increased population were mostly in South Louisiana. The one exception was Assumption-Napoleonville, Lafourche-Houma and Terrebonne-Thibodeaux parishes that saw a decrease of 1.5 percent.

North and Central Louisiana saw population declines. Avoyelles, Catahoula, Concordia, Grant, LaSalle, Rapides and Winn parishes all saw it’s population fall nearly four percent. Tensas Parish, near the Mississippi River, lost 21 percent of its population while five other parishes lost 15 percent. They include Cameron, Claiborne-Homer, Madison-Tallulah, Red River–Coushatta and West Carroll-Oak Grove.

The census tells us who we are and where we are going as a nation, and helps our communities determine where to build everything from schools to supermarkets, and from homes to hospitals. It helps the government decide how to distribute funds and assistance to states and localities.

The 2020 Census represented the most massive participation movement ever witnessed in our country. For the first time, all households had the option to answer the census online or by phone, in addition to the traditional method of returning their census form by mail. The remaining households were counted by hundreds of thousands of census workers walking neighborhoods and visiting homes throughout the United States.