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Concordia Parish gains in population, Vidalia loses

VIDALIA — The parish by parish numbers from the 2010 census are in and show a population growth just under 3 percent in Concordia Parish.

There are 575 more residents in the parish than there were in 2000, bringing the number to 20,822 in 2010 up from 20,247 in 2000.

While the numbers for the parish grew, the major municipalities in the Concordia saw a decline.

Vidalia went from 4,543 residents in 2000 to 4,299 residents in 2010.

Mayor Hyram Copeland said the decline in Vidalia’s population was shocking news to him.

“The numbers totally surprised me. I am really flabbergasted,” he said. “I really expected to see Vidalia grow.”

Copeland said the 244 person decrease is still less than the population shift from 1990 to 2000.

“We lost over 1,000 people from our town alone in that time,” he said.

Copeland said he would like to look at the numbers more closely to see if there is any way he can dispute the count.

“We have been building new houses in Vidalia, and from what I thought, most of the houses were full,” he said. “I would really like to look at the numbers to see where we lost people.”

Copeland said it was good news to see that Concordia grew as a parish.

“As long as we gain in population in the parish that is a positive sign,” he said. “At least we are not losing all over the entire parish.”

Copeland said in order to avoid losing more population in the city, Vidalia is going to have to work on finishing some of the major projects it has in progress.

“We need the port and our other projects to attract industry to the area,” he said.

Ferriday’s population went from 3,723 residents in 2000 to 3,511 residents in 2010.

Mayor Glen McGlothin said while he wished the population in Ferriday had grown; he expected to see a decline.

“Over the last few years, I have seen a whole lot of people in Ferriday moving out,” he said.

McGlothin said even though Ferriday declined, he was pleasantly surprised by the growth in Concordia.

“I thought we were going to lose population as a whole,” he said. “It is wonderful that we did not. The more people we can get in the parish, the better. It helps with your tax base and helps with grants.”

McGlothin said he thinks the reason the parish gained in population but the municipalities loss was due to people moving further out into rural areas.

“Ferriday has had a huge shift in the last 10 years,” he said. “A lot of folks used to live in Ferriday and now they live in Monterey and other places in the parish.”

Concordia Parish Police Jury President Melvin Ferrington said he has also noticed more residents moving away from the major towns, and into smaller areas.

“We are having a lot of people move out on Lake Concordia and Lake St. John,” he said. “People seem to be moving away from the more populated areas.”

Ferrington said the boost in numbers in the parish could also be from victims of Hurricanes Katrina, Ike and Rita.

“I know we had quite a few people move here that were affected by the storms,” he said. “We are seeing some of them stick around.”

Ferrington said Concordia’s population growth is going to benefit the parish when trying to apply for grants.

“The more people you have in the area, the more money you can get from grants,” he said. “I am not exactly sure on how much we will benefit from the gain so far, but it will be a help.”

Ferrington said the parish will begin looking to start the new apportionment for Concordia in the next month.

Clayton’s population went from 858 residents in 2000 to 711 residents in 2010, while Ridgecrest’s population dropped from 801 residents in 2000 to 694 in 2010.

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