Louisiana’s cities and suburbs grew over the past decade, while rural parishes and the Delta region continued to lose population. According to Census Bureau data released Thursday, only 19 of the state’s 64 parishes grew over the past decade. St. Bernard and Orleans parishes had the highest growth rates, but their overall populations are lower than before Hurricane Katrina. Louisiana’s population trends match those of other states, with urban areas growing larger and becoming more racially diverse while rural areas shrink. The population data will be used for legislative redistricting in a special session to be held in early 2022 to redraw the political maps for the U.S. House, state legislative, state education board and other elected offices. Jeff Adelson has the details for Nola.com:
The trends in Louisiana’s population mirror the changes underway on a national scale: growth of metropolitan areas, particularly in exurban areas like St. Tammany and Ascension parishes; an ongoing decline of rural communities; and more diversity, driven both by changes in the population and in the way people conceive of their own identities …. The state has also grown more diverse in the past decade. More than 60% of Louisiana residents described themselves as non-Hispanic Whites in 2010. But that population is now smaller by nearly 138,200 people and its share of the population has fallen to 55%. The state’s Black population grew about on pace with the state as a whole and makes up about 31% of the population, roughly the same as it was in 2010.
The New York Times’ Nate Cohn reports that the national numbers seemed to alleviate fears by many activists that Hispanics and other racial and ethnic minorities would be undercounted.
Thursday’s release, the most detailed yet from the 2020 census, depicted a nation that increasingly seems to resemble its future more than its past. The non-Hispanic white share of the population fell to 57.8 percentage points, nearly two points lower than expected, as more Americans identified as multiracial. Vast swaths of the rural United States, including an outright majority of its counties, saw their populations shrink.
A setback for the unemployed
More than 150,000 Louisiana residents will remain without federal pandemic unemployment benefits during the state’s worst Covid spike to date after a Baton Rouge judge refused an emergency request to overturn a state law that cut off benefits on Aug. 1. District Judge Timothy Kelly’s ruling came after heart-wrenching testimony from five of the six unemployed women who filed the suit. Kelly described his ruling as “legally correct” even as he acknowledged it would cause “great deal of harm.” The Advocate’s Blake Paterson was there:
Felicia Walters, a plaintiff who lives in St. Tammany Parish, spoke about contracting COVID while working as a nurse. She continues to experience cardiac, cognitive and digestive issues as a ‘long-hauler,’ and her doctor said she’s “too brittle” to reenter the workforce. Lately, she’s taken to skimping on medications to save money. ‘It’s literally a life-or-death situation for me,’ Walters said. ‘There’s no way for me to make an income when the doctors won’t release me to work.’”
Without child care, many workers are still stuck off the job
Parents of children, particularly those under 12 who are not yet eligible for the Covid vaccine, have had to put job searches on hold amid uncertainty over when and if their children will be able to return safely to full-time school or child care. An Indeed.com survey found that 1 in 5 people who were unemployed but not urgently looking for work cited care responsibilities as the primary reason for their limited job searches. This was particularly the case for people without college degrees, who are less likely to be able to work from home or afford nannies. Claire Cain Miller of the New York Times’s The Upshot Blog explains the dilemma:
Summer is always a challenge for working parents, and this year that is especially true. To meet safety guidelines, many camps have opened with shorter schedules and fewer children. Others have shut down because of the hiring shortage. And many parents don’t feel comfortable sending their children because of the risk of Covid exposure…Many parents of preschool-aged children face a shortage of child care openings. One-third of child care centers never reopened, research shows; those that are still closed disproportionately served Asian, Latino and Black families. Those that opened are operating at 70 percent capacity, on average. They have struggled to hire qualified teachers; must keep classes small to limit exposure to the virus; and have raised prices to cover new health and cleaning measures.
Fixing the federal tax structure
The U.S. Senate this week approved a $3.5 trillion budget framework that would make historic new investments in public education, expanding the social safety net and combating the effects of human-induced climate change. But raising the revenue to pay for these investments won’t be easy. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, writing in The Washington Post, calls for tighter enforcement of existing tax laws, higher taxes on profitable corporations and a new wealth tax focused on America’s richest people:
The superrich get away with not paying their taxes because decades of politically motivated budget cuts have hollowed out the IRS. Since 2010, the agency’s enforcement budget has declined by more than 20 percent, and it has lost one-third of its enforcers. It’s no surprise that audit rates for taxpayers making more than $10 million have plummeted. This should enrage every American who plays by the rules. That’s why over 70 percent of Americans support giving the IRS more resources to make sure the wealthy and corporations aren’t evading taxes.
Number of the Day
2.7% – Louisiana’s population growth rate over the last 10 years according to new U.S. Census data. The U.S. population as a whole grew by 7.4%. (Source: Nola.com)