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Who Lives in New Orleans and the Metro Now?

Vicki Mack Elaine Ortiz

Published: Sep 26, 2013

This brief examines 2012 demographic data recently released by the U.S. Census Bureau and identifies important trends in metro area parishes. Included are data on race and ethnicity, age, educational attainment, poverty, income, children, access to vehicles, the foreign–born population, geographic mobility, homeownership, homeowners with a mortgage, housing costs and affordability, and single–person households.

The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that 1,205,374 residents were living in the New Orleans metro as of July 2012, a three percent increase from April 2010.[1] However, the metro area has just 92 percent of its 2000 population of 1,316,510. In this brief, we examine 2012 demographic data recently release by the U.S. Census Bureau, and identify important changes in metro area parishes since 2000 (or the best benchmark available).

Changes in race/ethnicity

According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2012 population estimates, there are now 103,881 fewer African Americans living in Orleans Parish compared to 2000, but there are also 14,984 fewer whites.[2] Meanwhile, the number of Hispanics grew by 4,830.[3]

African American, white, and Hispanic population

Pre– and post–Katrina, Orleans Parish

ExhibitA

Source: The Data Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data from Census 2000 and Population Estimates 2012.

Where is more data available?

For race and ethnicity data for all parishes as well as other demographic data in this report, be sure to check out the downloadable data tables.

In Orleans Parish, the share of the 2012 population that is African American — while lower than in 2000 when it was 66.7 percent — continues to represent the majority of city residents at 59.4 percent. The share of Hispanics in the city increased from 3.1 percent in 2000 to 5.3 percent in 2012; the share of Asians increased from 2.3 percent to 2.9 percent; and the share of whites increased from 26.6 percent to 30.8 percent. Meanwhile, Hispanic, Asian, and African American populations increased as a share of the total population in Jefferson, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. John the Baptist, and St. Tammany parishes. In fact, the number and share of Hispanics have increased in all seven parishes in the metro area.

Race/ethnicity

by parish and for the New Orleans metro

ExhibitB

Source: The Data Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data from Census 2000 and Population Estimates 2012.

Between 2000 and 2012, the number of Hispanics in Jefferson Parish increased by 24,435, reaching over 13 percent of the total population. Orleans Parish and St. Tammany Parish gained 4,830 and 7,243 Hispanics respectively, such that, by 2012, the Hispanic share of the population in Orleans was 5.3 percent, and in St. Tammany it was 5.0 percent.

Hispanic population

by parish

ExhibitC

Source: The Data Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data from Census 2000 and Population Estimates 2012.

As of July 2012, there were 98,992 Hispanics in the metro area representing 8.2 percent of the metro area population, up from 58,415 representing 4.4 percent of the metro population in 2000. Despite these recent gains, the Hispanic share of the population in metro area parishes is far below the average for the United States, which has grown from 12.5 percent to 16.9 percent of the total population over these 12 years.

Hispanic share of the population

by parish, compared to the United States

ExhibitD

Source: The Data Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data from Census 2000 and Population Estimates 2012.

Changes in population by age and household types

The progression of the baby boomers through the age ranks, along with falling birth rates, have brought massive changes to the metro — and indeed the whole country — with many more changes yet to come.[4] Looking at the total population in the metro by five-year age groups for 2000 and 2012, the baby boomers are like a demographic tidal wave. Born between 1946 and 1964, the baby boomers clustered around the 35-to 54-year-old age group in 2000, and around the 45- to 64-year-old age group in 2012.

Population by age group, 2000

by parish and for the New Orleans metro

ExhibitE

Source: The Data Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data from Census 2000.

Population by age group, 2012

by parish and for the New Orleans metro

ExhibitF

Source: The Data Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data from Population Estimates 2012.

Meanwhile the share of households with children is shrinking while the share of individuals living alone is growing — both across the metro and nation. As of 2012, 27 percent of households in the New Orleans metro included children, down from 33 percent in 2000. Between 2000 and 2012, the percent of St. Tammany households with children declined from 40 percent to 31 percent; the percent of Jefferson households with children declined from 33 percent to 26 percent; and the percent of Orleans households with children declined from 30 percent to 22 percent.

Households with own children under 18

in the three most populous parishes, the metro, and the United States

ExhibitG

n.s. = Difference between 2000 and 2012 is not significant at 95% confidence interval.

Source: The Data Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data from Census 2000 SF3 and American Community Survey 2012.

As households with children have declined, the share of single–person households has grown in the metro and nationwide. The metro area share of individuals living alone grew from 27 percent in 2000 to 32 percent in 2012 — matching the trend for Jefferson Parish. In fact, all three of the largest metro area parishes had growth in the share of single–person households, with the largest jump in Orleans Parish from 33 to 41 percent.

One–person households

in the three most populous parishes, the metro, and the United States

ExhibitH

n.s.= Difference between 2000 and 2012 is not significant at 95% confidence interval.

Source: The Data Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data from Census 2000 SF3 and American Community Survey 2012.

Changes in educational attainment and income

Educational attainment is an important determinant of household incomes, workforce skills, and regional resiliency.[5] The proportion of adults 25 years and older with less than a high school education declined across all three of the largest parishes, leading to a metro-wide decrease from 22 percent in 2000 to 15 percent in 2012. In the city of New Orleans, the share of adults with less than a high school degree fell from 25 percent to 15 percent, nearly as low as the United States average.

Less than a high school degree

for the population 25 years and older

ExhibitI

n.s.= Difference between 2000 and 2012 is not significant at 95% confidence interval.

Source: The Data Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data from Census 2000 SF3 and American Community Survey 2012.

Where is 2012 data for Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Charles, and St. John the Baptist?

Although 2012 race/ethnicity and age data is available for all seven parishes in the New Orleans metro, most other 2012 demographic data (such as educational attainment, poverty, and homeownership) is available for only the three most populous parishes of Jefferson, Orleans, and St. Tammany as well as the New Orleans metro.

The metro area decline in the share of adults with less than a high school degree has been coupled with an increase in the share with a bachelor’s degree or higher. In Orleans Parish, 34 percent of adults 25 and older had a college degree in 2012 — higher than the U.S. average of 29 percent, and up from 26 percent in 2000. The overall metro area share of adults with a bachelor’s degree grew from 23 to 27 percent — lower than the national average.

Bachelor’s degree or higher

for the population 25 years and older

ExhibitJ

n.s.= Difference between 2000 and 2012 is not significant at 95% confidence interval.

Source: The Data Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data from Census 2000 SF3 and American Community Survey 2012.

While the Great Recession pushed household income down 11 percent in the nation between 1999 and 2012, the median income fell 9 percent in the metro and 8 percent in Orleans Parish. However, the 2012 median household incomes of $44,379 for the metro and $34,361 for the city are significantly lower than the U.S. median of $51,371. In both Jefferson Parish and St. Tammany Parish, median household income declined 14 percent between 1999 and 2012, falling to $45,519 and $56,650, respectively.

Median household income

2012 inflation–adjusted dollars

ExhibitK

n.s.= Difference between 1999 and 2012 is not significant at 95% confidence interval.

Source: The Data Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data from Census 2000 SF3 and American Community Survey 2012.

Changes in poverty and access to vehicles

Individuals living below the poverty level indicate the economy is not providing all residents with the ability to meet their most basic needs, including food, housing, and transportation. The poverty rate in Orleans Parish declined from 28 percent in 1999 to 21 percent in 2007, but then soared to 29 percent in 2012, such that it is statistically unchanged since 1999. In Jefferson Parish, the poverty rate increased from 14 to 16 percent between 1999 and 2012, and in St. Tammany Parish, the poverty rate rose from 10 to 14 percent. Meanwhile, the U.S. poverty rate grew from 12 to 16 percent between 1999 and 2012.

Poverty rate
for the population for whom poverty status is determined

ExhibitL

n.s.= On the 1999 bar, n.s. indicates change between 1999 and 2007 is not significant; on the 2007 bar, n.s. indicates change between 2007 and 2012 is not significant; and on the 2012 bar, n.s. indicates change between 1999 and 2012 is not significant.
Source: The Data Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data from Census 2000 SF3, American Community Survey 2007, and American Community Survey 2012.

Like the overall poverty rate, child poverty rates in Orleans Parish and the metro area dropped in 2007 and have since increased again to their 1999 level. The Orleans Parish child poverty rate fell from 41 percent in 1999 to 32 percent in 2007, and then shot back up to 41 percent in 2012. The metro area child poverty rate dipped to 21 percent in 2007, but ended up at 28 percent in 2012 — unchanged since 1999 according to statistical testing. Jefferson’s 23 percent child poverty rate for 2012 is also statistically unchanged from 1999. Meanwhile, the child poverty rate has increased from 12 to 20 percent in St. Tammany Parish, and from 17 to 23 percent nationwide.

Children in poverty

for the population under 18 years old for whom poverty status is determined

ExhibitM

n.s.= On the 1999 bar, n.s. indicates change between 1999 and 2007 is not significant; on the 2007 bar, n.s. indicates change between 2007 and 2012 is not significant; and on the 2012 bar, n.s. indicates change between 1999 and 2012 is not significant.

Source: The Data Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data from Census 2000 SF3, American Community Survey 2007, and American Community Survey 2012.

Post–Katrina, the share of Orleans Parish households without access to a vehicle has dropped from 27 percent in 2000 to 19 percent in 2012. Nonetheless, at 19 percent, New Orleans’ share is more than twice as high as in neighboring parishes and the nation, indicating the importance of a robust public transportation system and comprehensive evacuation plan.

Households without access to a vehicle

in the three most populous parishes, the metro, and the United States

ExhibitN

n.s.= Difference between 2000 and 2012 is not significant at 95% confidence interval.

Source: The Data Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data from Census 2000 SF3 and American Community Survey 2012.

Changes in foreign–born population and geographic mobility

A rising foreign–born share of the population may reflect expanding economic opportunities for both high–skilled and low–skilled workers.[6] That share of the population has grown in all three of the most populous metro parishes since 2000, led by a 3 percent gain in Jefferson Parish to reach 10 percent in 2012. In Orleans Parish and St. Tammany Parish, the foreign–born share of the population increased by 2 percent and 1 percent, respectively, between 2000 and 2012. However, the foreign–born share of the population in metro areas parishes is still significantly lower than the 13 percent average for the United States.

Population not U.S. citizens at birth

in the three most populous parishes, the metro, and the United States

ExhibitO

n.s.= Difference between 2000 and 2012 is not significant at 95% confidence interval.

Source: The Data Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data from Census 2000 SF3 and American Community Survey 2012.

Like the foreign–born population, a rising share of the population who moved into the parish in the past year may reflect expanding economic opportunities. The most frequent reason people move long distances, such as from one state to another state, is for job opportunities.[7] In addition, the young and well–educated are more likely than others to move long distances.[8] In 2012, 8 percent of the population in Orleans Parish had moved into the parish in the past year, up from 3 percent in 2004. About half of the new movers into Orleans Parish came from outside the state of Louisiana. In Jefferson Parish, the share of the population who were new movers into the parish was 5 percent in both 2004 and 2012.

Population who moved in the past year

in the three most populous parishes and the United States

ExhibitP

n.s. = Difference between 2004 and 2012 is not significant at 95% confidence interval.

Notes: Share not included in the bar chart represents the population who lived in the same house one year ago (non–movers). Also, 2004 data is not available for St. Tammany Parish.

Source: The Data Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data from American Community Survey 2004 and 2012.

Changes in homeownership

After Hurricane Katrina, Jefferson Parish and Orleans Parish initially experienced a disproportionate return of homeowners, but as of 2012, both parishes have returned to their pre–Katrina homeownership rates. In St. Tammany Parish, an increase in renters has pushed the 2012 homeownership rate lower than in 2000. With a 47 percent homeownership rate in Orleans Parish, a 62 percent homeownership rate in Jefferson Parish, and a 72 percent homeownership rate in St. Tammany, Orleans lags, Jefferson is on par with, and St. Tammany exceeds the national homeownership rate.

Homeownership rates

in the three most populous parishes, the metro, and the United States

ExhibitQ

n.s.= Difference between 2000 and 2012 is not significant at 95% confidence interval.

Source: The Data Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data from Census 2000 SF3 and American Community Survey 2012.

Homeowners without a mortgage own their homes free and clear of any type of loan. A high share of such homeowners usually indicates residents living in the same house for long periods of time, and helps shield neighborhoods from foreclosures. The proportion of metro area homeowners without a mortgage has increased from 34 to 41 percent between 2000 and 2012, driven by changes in all three of the area’s largest parishes. The share of homeowners without a mortgage shot up from 33 to 43 percent in Orleans; from 35 to 40 percent in Jefferson; and from 30 to 37 percent in St. Tammany. One reason for the surge may be that homeowners who returned after Katrina used insurance or Road Home proceeds to pay off their mortgage principal. These three parishes received the first, second, and fourth largest number of Road Home Option 1 grants among all Louisiana parishes.[9]

Homeowners without a mortgage

in owner–occupied housing units

ExhibitR

n.s.= Difference between 2000 and 2012 is not significant at 95% confidence interval.
Source: The Data Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data from Census 2000 SF3 and American Community Survey 2012.

Changes in housing costs and affordability

High housing costs can limit a region’s ability to attract and retain the workforce essential for a healthy economy.[10] Severe housing cost burdens of more than 50 percent of household income indicate a serious problem in housing affordability. In 2004, the share of severely cost–burdened renters in Orleans Parish and the U.S. was 24 percent. In the eight years since, that share has spiked to 36 percent in Orleans while rising to only 27 percent nationally. In Jefferson Parish, the share of renters paying more than 50 percent of household income on housing and utilities has also soared, reaching 30 percent in 2012.

Renters with severe housing cost burdens

50% or more of pre–tax income on housing

ExhibitS

n.s. = Difference between 2004 and 2012 is not significant at 95% confidence interval.

Notes: 2004 data is not available for St. Tammany Parish.

Source: The Data Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data from American Community Survey 2004 and 2012.

The share of homeowners paying more than 50 percent of household income on their mortgage, taxes, utilities, and insurance is unchanged in metro area parishes since 2004. Meanwhile, that share has increased nationally from 10 to 11 percent.

Homeowners with severe housing cost burdens

50% or more of pre–tax income on housing

ExhibitT

n.s. = Difference between 2004 and 2012 is not significant at 95% confidence interval.

Notes: 2004 data is not available for St. Tammany Parish.

Source: The Data Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data from American Community Survey 2004 and 2012.

The surge in the share of severely cost–burdened renters in Orleans Parish reflects that the median gross rent (rent plus utilities) has also surged in that parish. From 2004 to 2012, monthly rent plus utilities rose from $688 to $861 in Orleans Parish, a 25 percent increase. Meanwhile, median gross rents increased 17 percent metro–wide compared to only 5 percent nationwide.

Median gross rent

in 2012 inflation–adjusted dollars

ExhibitU

n.s. = Difference between 2004 and 2012 is not significant at 95% confidence interval.

Notes: 2004 data is not available for St. Tammany Parish.

Source: The Data Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data from American Community Survey 2004 and 2012.

Data Sources/ Methodology

Data on race/ethnicity and age is from the Census Bureau vintage 2012 population estimates and Census 2000 Summary File 1 (SF1). Other demographic data is from the Census 2000 Summary File 3 (SF3) and American Community Survey 2004, 2007, and 2012 (single–year files).

Statistical tests of significance were computed at the 95% confidence level for all data from the American Community Survey and Census 2000 SF3. An “n.s.” indicates that differences between two time periods are not significant, and therefore are the result of sampling variability rather than real change in characteristics of the population..

The significance tests require both estimates and their standard errors. Standard errors for the ACS estimates were calculated using formulas in Appendix 3 of “What General Data Users Need to Know” available at: http://www.census.gov/acs/www/Downloads/handbooks/ACSGeneralHandbook.pdf.

Standard errors for Census 2000 SF3 data were calculated using formulas from Chapter 8 of the Technical Documentation available at: http://www.census.gov/prod/cen2000/doc/sf3.pdf.

Standard errors for Census 2000 and Census 2010 SF1 data are zero.

The test for significance was calculated using formulas in Appendix 4 of “What General Data Users Need to Know.”

 

[1] The seven–parish New Orleans metro includes Jefferson, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. John the Baptist, and St. Tammany.

[2] Orleans Parish is coterminous with the city of New Orleans. Therefore, Orleans Parish and the city of New Orleans are used interchangeably throughout this brief.

[3] Throughout this brief, “African American,” “Asian,” and “white” refer to individuals who report to be only one race, and not Hispanic. However, “Hispanics” can be of any race(s).

[4] Plyer, A. and Ortiz, E. (2011). Drivers of housing demand: Preparing for the impending elder boom. Retrieved July 8, 2013, from http://www.datacenterresearch.org/reports_analysis/drivers-of-housing-demand/.

[5] Julian, T. and Kominski, R. (2011). Education and synthetic work-life earnings estimates. Retrieved September 18, 2012 from http://www.census.gov/prod/2011pubs/acs-14.pdf; U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. (2012). Conceptualizing and measuring resilience. Retrieved September 18, 2012 from http://www.huduser.org/portal/periodicals/em/winter12/highlight2.html#title.

[6] De Jong, G.F., Graefe, D.R., Hall, M., and Singer, A. (2001). The geography of immigrant skills: Educational profiles of metropolitan areas. Retrieved August 22, 2012 from http://www.brookings.edu/papers/2011/06_immigrants_singer.aspx.

[7] Based on surveys conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, employment–related reasons are the most frequent reason for inter–county moves of greater than 50 miles. For example, among people in the United States who moved over 500 miles, 52 percent moved for an employment–related reason compared to 23 percent for a family–related reason and 22 percent for a housing–related reason. Employment–related reasons include a new job or job transfer, to look for work, to be closer to work, retirement, and other job–related reasons. See U.S. Census Bureau. (n.d.). Geographic Mobility: 2011 to 2012 (Table 27). Retrieved September 23, 2013 from http://www.census.gov/hhes/migration/data/cps/cps2012.html.

[8] Based on surveys conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, people 25 to 29 years old were more likely than other age groups to be movers from a different county, state, region, or country. And people with a professional or graduate degree were more likely than other educational groups to be movers from a different county, state, region, or country. See U.S. Census Bureau. (n.d.). Geographic Mobility: 2011 to 2012 (Table 1). Retrieved September 23, 2013 fromhttp://www.census.gov/hhes/migration/data/cps/cps2012.html.

[9] State of Louisiana Office of Community Development. (2013). The Homeowner Assistance Program Week 375 Situation & Pipeline Report. Retrieved September 20, 2013 from http://www.road2la.org/Docs/Default/DefaultNewsUpdates/Week%20375%20Pipeline%20and%20Status%20Report_09-10-2013.pdf.

[10] Plyer, A., Ortiz, E., and Pettit, K. (2009). Post–Katrina housing affordability challenges continue in 2008, worsening among Orleans Parish very low income renters. Retrieved September 17, 2013 from http://www.datacenterresearch.org/reports_analysis/housing-affordability/.