Growth, year-over-year, has continued to increase.
That means the rate of individuals coming to Livingston Parish has gone up, not just the total number of residents.
Take the sale of detached, single-family homes as one metric. This doesn’t include homes sold by owner, mobile homes, or people who rent homes or apartments; the detached, single-family home measuring stick only tracks homes which were sold by agents via the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), run through the Greater Baton Rouge Association of Realtors (GBRAR).
And that number has increased since 2015, with but one dip. Here are those numbers:
- 2015 – 1,754
- 2016 – 1,845
- 2017 – 1,933
- 2018 – 1,830
- 2019 – 2,005
According to, now dated, census data the average household size in Louisiana was 2.36 persons, with the average family size being 3.05. For argument’s sake, let’s view each house as 2.5 persons, and extrapolate growth for, again, just the detached, single-family homes which were tracked through the MLS since 2015.
Here are those numbers:
- 2015 – 4,385
- 2016 – 4,612
- 2017 – 4,832
- 2018 – 4,575
- 2019 – 5,380
That’s 23,784, total, for those five years. Now, a few things have to be considered in this metric. In some cases, the total includes families who stay in Livingston Parish and, while they may sell their home to a new family, the fact that they stayed would cancel out that growth number. This also doesn’t take into account folks who move out of mobile homes, rent homes, or apartments and into a new house – they don’t count for growth, either.
Therein lies the issue for anyone who’s interested in the population growth number for Livingston Parish – it’s just really hard to track. Apartment buildings are being constructed, as well, and new rent homes come on the market often. How much of that is new population? It’s hard to say. How much population was lost after the flood?
Again, that’s a difficult question to answer.
The two conclusions from this are split in their direction, but ring true. First, is the more simple of the two, but neither one is more important than the other – fill out your census in 2020. Local population data is paramount to have a seat at the table for larger portions of state and federal funding. It’s not just about population, income, or diversity, either – grant providers, whether they be state, federal, or private – all pay attention to the rate at which the census is filled out in a given area.
The second conclusion is simple in statement, but not in application – the parish needs zoning. It’s a rough statement for some to swallow, but until its implemented that number of homes sold will continue to rise, combined with homes constructed, and there will be little the parish can do to responsibly expand residential home sites.
It’s important to note that, even in 2013, the Master Plan stated that the parish needed at least $13 million, per year, to keep up with the necessary road maintenance in Livingston Parish. Without grants, the parish doesn’t even come close to hitting that mark.
In fact, the parish only collects (between a sales tax and property tax) about one third of that total.
And that was in 2013, before thousands of new homes were constructed on substandard roadways.
The tax base is not growing proportionally with residential growth, and meanwhile the new homes and residents are swelling the roads to capacity. If you’re OK with that, fight zoning all you want, but if you’re after responsible growth (with a little outside help) fill out your census and push your parish councilmen to get zoning passed.
Otherwise, more and more 300+ home subdivisions are going to begin construction because it’s what is best for their business. That’s not their fault or their problem, it’s the model, and they follow the development rules and work with the parish if there’s a problem.
The parish, however, has to set boundaries, because in the end money is king.
J. McHugh David is editor and publisher of the Livingston Parish News.