Mar 18, 2024 - Newcomers Guide

New Orleans metro sees nation's largest population drop

Change in population, 2020 to 2023
Data: U.S. Census Bureau; Chart: Axios Visuals

The New Orleans metro area is estimated to have seen the biggest population loss among those with at least 500,000 residents nationwide, the Census Bureau says.

Why it matters: The metro's 4.3% population loss in the past three years came as the nation's population increased by 1%, according to population estimates from the Census Bureau.

The big picture: Overall, the U.S. population growth was driven by states like Idaho, Florida and South Carolina.

  • Meanwhile, Louisiana is among the states that had the most declines.
Change in population, 2020 to 2023
Data: U.S. Census Bureau; Chart: Axios Visuals

Zoom in: The Orleans Parish population dropped by nearly 5% between 2020 and 2023, according to the estimates.

  • Cameron Parish, which was hit hard by Hurricane Laura a month after the 2020 estimates, had the biggest drop nationwide. The data estimates the parish saw a 15.21% drop by 2023.
  • But some parishes did grow, including Tangipahoa (+3.3%), Ascension (+3.67%), West Baton Rouge (3.68%) and St. Tammany (+3.99%)

What she's saying: "Our recent policies are not supporting population gain," Data Center chief demographer Allison Plyer told NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune.

  • At issue is a confluence of short- and long-term factors, like affordability, education opportunities, hurricanes and health outcomes.
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