Census shows Natchez, Adams County populations shrinking

Published 12:00 am Monday, October 23, 2000

Natchez lost more than 1,000 residents from 1994 to 1999, according to Census figures released Monday.

Natchez dropped from 19,194 residents to 18,177 residents during that time period, while Adams County dropped from 34,732 people to 33,657 people.

&uot;It doesn’t surprise that it would show a drop,&uot; Mayor F.L. &uot;Hank&uot; Smith said, attributing the population drop to job scarcity.

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&uot;People are not going to stay if they can’t find work,&uot; he said.

Smith said the estimates do not change his objective to bring economic development to the area, a driving issue in his campaign for mayor.

&uot;It’s something I’ve been committed to do all along,&uot; Smith said. &uot;Now that they’ve confirmed what was thought, I don’t know that it changes anything. The emphasis is still on economic development.&uot;

Concordia Parish’s population, and that of its four towns, dropped slightly during the same time period. In all, Concordia Parish lost 210 people, going from an estimated 20,782 people to 20,572 residents.

&uot;I’m stumped,&uot;&160;said Heather Urena, an economic development specialist with the Kisatchie-Delta Planning and Development District, which includes Concordia Parish.

&uot;If anything, the economy’s gotten better since 1994, so more people shouldn’t be leaving due to the economy. But the important thing to remember is that these are just estimates.&uot;

But Charlie Blaney, president of the Concordia Parish Police Jury, said the area still does not have enough job opportunities and that he believes that, at least in part, is one reason for the decrease.

&uot;It shows we still have a lot of work to do,&uot;&160;he said.

Towns with decreases included:

— Ferriday, with 4,043 people in 1994 and 3,793 in 1999.

— Vidalia, whose population went from 4,896 in 1994 to 4,843 in 1999.

— Clayton, which had 928 people in 1994 and 923 in 1999.

— Ridgecrest, with 804 people in 1994 and 776 people in 1999.