By Cyndi Sellers
Even before the devastation of Hurricanes Laura and Delta, Cameron Parish’s population appears to have declined significantly, according to the just-released 2020 Census. Numbers received through online reporting and door-to-door canvasing reveal Cameron Parish’s population dropped from 6,839 in 2010 to 5,617 in 2020, a 17.9 percent decline.
Just as the 2010 Census was affected by the aftereffects of Hurricanes Rita and Ike, with many residents still living in campers and not counted, the 2020 Census was hampered by the COVID-19 pandemic, which made door-to-door canvassing difficult. Cameron Parish’s on-line and mail-in participation was low. The deadline was extended into August, and the Census Bureau says its numbers are complete, but doubts remain.
The four census tracts in Cameron Parish roughly correspond to the four quadrants of the parish. The northwest tract, including Hackberry, showed 926 residents. The southwest tract, including Johnson Bayou, Holly Beach and Cameron, recorded 624 residents. The southeast tract, including Creole, Grand Chenier, and Klondike, reported 935 residents. By far the largest tract was the northeast, including Big Lake, Grand Lake, Sweetlake, and Lowry, with 3,132 residents.
The Census reports on population as of Apr. 30, 2020. The newly released numbers will be used to determine federal aid amounts, school funds, and legislative representation. Changes in population will force redistricting on the state and local level. The Cameron Parish School Board has already been in talks with a demographer to help re-draw the district lines
The Louisiana population increased a modest 2.7 percent, below the national level of 7.4 percent. Locally, Calcasieu Parish increased12.5 percent, Jefferson Davis Parish increased by 2.1 percent, and Vermilion Parish decreased by 1.1 percent.