Preliminary numbers released by the U.S. Census Bureau last week show a population decline in Washington Parish.
The decrease is in line with many of the rural parishes of Louisiana, which mostly lost population.
The state as a whole had a 2.7% increase in population since 2010, according to the Census, but most of the increase took place in larger cities and in suburban areas. There are now 4.7 million people living in Louisiana, according to the preliminary Census numbers.
The fastest growing parish in the state was St. Bernard, near New Orleans. St. Bernard lost much of its population after Hurricane Katrina, but has since rebounded. It had a whopping 21.9% population growth between 2010 and 2020, according to the Census.
The 2020 numbers released last week by the Census Bureau show Washington Parish with 45,463 residents, down slightly from 2010’s 47,088.
But the 2020 Census was taken amidst the pandemic, and parish officials worried at the time that there would be some uncounted residents. Census totals are important to parish governments and other governmental entities because the distribution of federal funds and some state funds depends on population.
On the Northshore, two parishes had strong growth. Both St. Tammany Parish and Tangipahoa Parish had growth increases of over 10% since 2010. In Tangipahoa, much of the growth was recorded in the southern, more suburban section of the parish.
With the 2020 Census numbers, St. Tammany Parish is now Louisiana’s 4th largest parish. The top four are: 1. East Baton Rouge; 2. Jefferson; 3. Orleans; 4. St. Tammany.