While Louisiana’s population increased six out of 11 years between 2010 and 2021, it hasn’t kept pace with neighboring states. The areas that primarily saw growth were major cities, such as Baton Rouge and Lafayette. Some of the counties that saw the most growth during the last census were St. Bernard Parish and West Baton Rouge Parish. However, many counties within the state had declining numbers. Check out these four Louisiana counties with plummeting populations and discover why people are fleeing.
1. Tensas Parish
Bordering the Mississippi River in Northeast Louisiana, Tensas Parish is the least populated county in the state. The population of Tensas Parish was 4,147 at the 2020 census and is now estimated at 3,817, with a growth rate of -2.8% within the last year. The parish increased zero out of 11 years, between 2010 and 2021, and its largest year of decline was from 2019 to 2020, when the population dropped 4.7%.
Saint Joseph is the parish seat and largest town in Tensas, featuring a population of around 800 people, losing around 500 people since the 2000 census. It’s currently declining at a rate of 1.36% annually. This rural town has affordable housing and a low cost of living, but the jobs are scarce, the public schools are declining, and access to quality healthcare is a major issue.
2. Cameron Parish
Located in the Southwest corner of Louisiana, Cameron Parish is the second-smallest parish in the state by population. Its population during the 2020 census was 5,617 and is now estimated around 5,200. Between 2010 and 2021, Cameron Parish grew six out of 11 years, and its largest decline occurred from 2019 to 2020, when it dropped 19.5%.
Cameron is the seat of Cameron Parish, and Hackberry is the largest town, with 1,315 at the 2020 census. In 2023, Hackberry’s population is estimated around 970, declining more than 26% over the last decade. While the town has a decent job market and low cost of living, it is at a higher risk of hurricane damage and flooding. The area also lacks healthcare resources, outdoor activities, and other amenities.
3. Madison Parish
Madison Parish is settled in the delta lowlands along the Mississippi River on the northeast border of the state. It’s known for its corn production, rich heritage, and many historic sites. Its population during the 2020 census was just over 10,000. Today, its population is estimated at around 9,300. Madison Parish only increased in population one out of 11 years between 2010 and 2021. Its largest decline was from 2019 to 2020, when it dropped 9.7%.
Tallulah is the parish seat of Madison, located in the east-central region of the parish. The city had a population of 6,286 during the 2020 census and is now estimated at 5,884. It currently has a growth rate of -1.5% annually. Tallulah is a sparse suburban town with a diverse community and a low cost of living. However, the city is in dire need of quality and affordable healthcare and funding for its public schools. It also has a median household income way below the national average and a poor job market.
4. Claiborne Parish
This parish is in Northwest Louisiana, outside of Shreveport. Claiborne Parish had a population of 14,170 at the 2020 census and is now estimated at 13,264 in 2023. This area increased zero out of 11 years, from 2010 to 2021. In fact, it shrank by 1.8% each year during this time. The largest decline occurred between 2019 and 2020 when the population dropped 10.2%.
Homer is the parish seat and largest community in Claiborne. This quaint town had a population of 2,541 in 2021 and is now estimated at 2,493 in 2023. Homer is currently declining at a rate of -0.95% annually. While Homer has a low cost of living and a welcoming community, it lacks many resources. Homer’s median household income is $19,888, way below the national average, and the job market is poor. The town also lacks quality healthcare, safe housing, outdoor activities, and basic amenities. Other cities and towns in the county also have similar problems, especially with job availability and access to health care.
Populations in These Louisiana Counties are Plummeting: A Recap of the Top 4
|Rank||Louisiana Counties Plummeting||Cities and Towns Affected|
|#1||Tensas Parish||Saint Joseph, Newelton, Waterproof|
|#2||Cameron Parish||Cameron, Hackberry|
|#3||Madison Parish||Tallulah, Mound, Delta, Richmond|
|#4||Claiborne Parish||Homer, Haynesville, Lisbon, Athens|
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