Looks like population growth along the 10/12 corridor is going to continue.
New official state projections indicate the populations of Livingston, Ascension and St. Tammany parishes are expected to more than double by 2030.
But here’s the most startling prediction: In just 20 years, St. Tammany may have more residents than East Baton Rouge. If projections bear true, St. Tammany could be home to 459,160 people – up from 219,870 in the year before Katrina. Livingston’s population is projected to climb to 242,780 – up from 109,030. And Ascension could expect 196,140 residents – up from 90,450 before the storms. Moderate growth over the next 20 years is projected for Lafayette Parish – about 25,000 people.
Meanwhile, the population of East Baton Rouge Parish is projected to reach a high of 433,700 in 2010 before losing 12,200 people by 2030. Population is also expected to decline somewhat in Calcasieu.
Dr. Troy Blanchard, an associate professor of sociology at LSU who produced the projections, says the numbers are based on birth, death and migration trends in those parishes from 2000 to 2005, using the 2000 Census and 2005 Census estimates. However, he cautions that when looking at projections this far out, birth and death rates typically remain fairly constant, while migration patterns – which can be influenced by everything from hurricanes to the economy – are unpredictable and could significantly alter the numbers.
“What we’re saying is that if these measurements stay exactly the same as they were during that particular period, this is what will happen,” Blanchard says. “Right now, our best guess at what will happen in the future is what has happened in the past.”
The state projections indicate that from 2005 to 2010, Ascension, Livingston, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa and St. John the Baptist will emerge as the fastest-growing parishes. Between 2010 and 2020, Livingston, St. Tammany, Ascension, St. John the Baptist and Plaquemines likely will enjoy the highest growth.
State demographer Karen Paterson says the projections are used by state agencies to plan things like new programs, transportation and schools. Businesses also consider them in selecting optimum locations. To see the state’s estimates for each parish, click here.