New census numbers find Louisiana’s population was 4.6 million residents in 2016, only growing about 0.3% from the previous year. The Bayou State also saw a continuing pattern of out migration with nearly 12,000 more people moving out of the state than coming in. Demographer Greg Rigamer says many citizens leave to follow the money.

“The fact of the matter is people are looking for better paying jobs, they need good jobs to have any aspect of a good quality of life and obviously over the past year we’ve had some challenges with that.”

Data also shows more people left New Orleans for other cities around the country than moved in for the first time since Hurricane Katrina. Rigamer says the Crescent City continues to lack high paying jobs.

“Particularly in Orleans Parish where tourism accounts for a very significant percentage of the employment that those are not necessarily the jobs that young and middle aged people want.”

Rigamer says East Parish Rouge Parish remains the largest in the state with 447,000 people but St. Tammany Parish has grown substantially and is now the 4th biggest parish in the state, overtaking Caddo with 253,000 residents. He says the quality of life is good in St. Tammany.

“Political leadership in St. Tammany Parish is well respected, housing while expensive is still more affordable than many other areas in the New Orleans Metropolitan Area. St. Tammany stands out.”