Parish officials not concerned by census figures

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 4, 2000

VIDALIA, La. – The estimated loss of 200 residents is not much of a blow for Concordia Parish, say local government and economic development officials.

In all, Concordia Parish lost 210 people from 1994 to 1999, going from an estimated 20,782 people to 20,572 residents, according to estimates recently released by the U.S. Census Bureau. That could signal a downward population trend that could affect how much state and federal money the parish and its towns receive. &uot;We’re holding our breath&uot; waiting for the 2000 Census numbers, said Macon Ridge Vice President Chip Rogers.

Agencies such as the Concordia Parish Police Jury and the Macon Ridge Economic Development Region are required to use official Census numbers when calculating population and workforce statistics to use in grant and loan applications.

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Figures from the 1990 Census are the most recent available until early next year, when the 2000 figures are released.

&uot;We expect the 2000 Census to be lower because of some people moving away due to economic and other reasons,&uot; said Macon Ridge President Buddy Spillers. &uot;But losing 200 people is not going to have that much of an impact.&uot;

Businesses do look at population numbers and trends when deciding whether to locate in a given area, Spillers said.

But he added that business executives want to look at more in-depth breakdowns of such figures, such as the number of people 18 years old or over in the workforce. &uot;And annual estimates aren’t broken down enough for their purposes,&uot;&160;Spillers said.

Police Jury President Charlie Blaney is not too alarmed by the 1999 estimates. &uot;We’ve gained some and lost some over the years,&uot;&160;Blaney said. &uot;It shows we still have a lot of work to do&uot; with regards to improving the area’s economy, he added. &uot;But as oil prices stabilize at a high level — though maybe not as high as now — I think more people may come back to do (petroleum-related) work, and this (population) trend could reverse.&uot;