2010 Census: St. Bernard PARISH loses half of PopulationFeb 10th, 2011 | By Michelle Provencher | Category: News
2010: 35,897 call St. Bernard home, down from 67,000 in 2000
Census results are in, and the total population of St. Bernard Parish has plummeted nearly fifty percent since 2000.
More than 67,000 individuals lived in the parish in 2000, and today 35,897 call St. Bernard home, according to the most recent census data.
While many people expected a drop in population after numerous residents evacuated due to Hurricane Katrina in 2005, some found such a significant decrease surprising.
“I was thinking it would be higher and hoping it would be higher,” said St. Bernard Council member Kenny Henderson, District C.
Councilman At-Large, Wayne Landry agreed with Henderson, and pointed to the number of households – just shy of 16,800 homes – to prove the number is inaccurate.
Landry said if you assume there is an average household size of 2.5 people, it would put the total population at 40,000.
Furthermore, Landry argued that if the number is accurate, than the number of registered voters is too high.
There are currently more than 27,000 people registered to vote in the parish.
“Everybody but 9,000 people are registered to vote?” asked Landry. “Either our voter registration is too high or the census is too low.”
“I don’t know why [the census population] is low,” Landry continued. “Maybe a lot of people didn’t respond to it. It is very important.”
A precise population count is necessary to appropriate federal funding and also determine the number of seats the parish receives in the Louisiana House of Representatives, Landry said.
Councilman Fred Everhardt, District E, said the parish should not have been required to participate in the census this year.
“I don’t think we should have been in the 2010 census, given the state of disaster we are in,” said Everhardt about recovering from the storm. “Now, we have people moving in every day. When the new census comes in , we’re going to be way overpopulated and under-voiced in the legislature.”
With the return of franchises, like Wal-Mart, street repairs on the horizon and upcoming coastal projects, Everhardt said he expects the former population to return.
“You can take a St. Bernardian out of the parish, but he is always going to find his way back home,” said Everhardt.
Landry said there is a contestation period following the release of the census results, and Everhardt expressed interest in requesting for a recalculation, perhaps through the approval of a resolution.
Parish President Craig Taffaro mentioned at the last council meeting, held on Feb. 1, “we are researching the avenues for additional counting strategies and challenges should the numbers be inconsistent with the numbers that we believe to be accurate.”
Everhardt said he was anticipating approximately 42,000 people to be the census tally.
He suspects people neglected to fill out the census forms thinking they are just one person and therefore do not count, but every person makes a difference when doing the census, Everhardt said.