St. Bernard: 2nd-fastest growing parish in U.S.Apr 13th, 2012 | By admin | Category: News
According to an April 5 U.S. Census report, new population estimates indicate that St. Bernard Parish is second-fastest growing parish in the nation.
Between April 1, 2010 and July 1, 2011, St. Bernard Parish’s population rose by 10.2 percent, narrowly trailing the nation’s fastest-growing county, Charlton County, Ga. which had a 10.3 percent change.
The populations estimates are important, as more state and federal grants and funding becomes available when population increases.
Allison Pryer, Chief Demographer of the Greater New Orleans Community Data Center, says that according to GNOCDC data, St. Bernard is looking at a 7 percent annual growth rate, which is consistent with the previous year.
“What’s really good is that gains haven’t slowed down, the growth is at the same rate for 2010 – 2011 as it was for 2009 – 2010,” said Pryer.
Those gains can largely be attributed, to people returning in the years following Hurricane Katrina as well as new residents relocating to the area seeking a higher quality of life for less money. St. Bernard Parish was one of the fastest-shrinking counties in the U.S. between the 2000-2010 census period, but toward the end of the decade, the parish began to gain residents at a fairly quick rate compared to other areas throughout the country.
Parish President Dave Peralta says that this steady growth is exciting news, as it reflects a regained confidence in the parish.
“People lost confidence after the storm about safety and I think that confidence is starting to build up again,” Peralta stated. “And unlike a lot of other parishes that are growing quickly, we have brand new infrastructure to keep up with that growth— you don’t want to get too big, too fast or your infrastructure and the government departments that run the various parts of that infrastructure, can’t handle it.”
He explained that this rise in confidence is a momentum builder, as “when businesses see people have confidence in their community, they’re more likely to open there and invest in the parish which brings in sales tax revenue, jobs and all the things that we need to continue to steadily grow.”
Peralta also said that although it seems like most of the growth is happening in the eastern end of the parish, he is expecting to see the Arabi area continue to grow over the next few years, as a large portion of the 2,000 lots the parish is acquiring from the state’s Louisiana Land Trust are located there.
In regards to attracting new residents to the parish, Peralta affirmed that the continual rise in quality of life, paired with the abundance of available property makes St. Bernard an attractive option for residents and businesses looking to build. “You can really get more bang for your buck here,” he stated enthusiastically.