We must focus on rebuilding

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Much can change in a decade. Children grow up and the rest of us grow noticeably older with each passing decade.

But a decade is also a good snapshot to consider the growth or decline of a community.

Census data released last week shows Adams County, the City of Natchez, the City of Vidalia and the Town of Ferriday all lost population during the last decade.

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Only Concordia Parish grew its population, and even its growth paled in comparison to the community’s other losses.

Combined Adams County’s losses and Concordia Parish’s gains, our collective community lost nearly 1,500 residents in the last 10 years — 1,468 to be exact.

That means that, statistically, every two and one-half days — every day for 10 straight years — a resident left our community.

While that may not seem like a huge loss by itself if you estimate the impact those losses have, the numbers add up quickly.

If we were to assume that each of those residents were employed earning the federal minimum wage and working 40 hours each week, that’s more than $22 million in money that is no longer in our community.

That’s money that is no longer invested here, no longer spent here and no longer taxed here.

The reality is that many of those folks earned much more than the minimum wage.

That’s a huge, huge problem.

It’s the single reason why our community must come together, work as a team and create opportunities for existing businesses to grow and new businesses to relocate here.

The time to start rebuilding is now.