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Population up in Baton Rouge

Great news for economy

Friday, February 4, 2011 - 3:12pm

BATON ROUGE, La (NBC33) -- The report is out, and Baton Rouge numbers are way up. According to the 2010 Census, the suburbs of Baton Rouge were some of the fastest growing parishes over the last decade.

Right now, more than 800,000 people live in East Baton Rouge and the surrounding parishes. It came as a surprise to see how quickly the area had grown. "The expectation had been, of course, that it would have been a little bit slower growth. In reality over the last decade our population has grown about 14 percent," says Adam Knapp, President and CEO of the Baton Rouge Area Chamber.

More people means more money. Retailers will see an increase in sales, which brings in more revenue for local government. "If you don't believe me, ask the people in east New Orleans," says economist Loren C. Scott. "You have a whole mall out there, Lake Forest Mall, that has completely shut down becuase there's just not any people. All the people left."

There will also be more jobs to go around. "We'll be able to go after, and be on the list of projects that only look for communities that are major market size," says Knapp.

Officials believe businesses will want to come to this region because now there are plenty of people to work. "You have a core of workforce out there that you can draw on," says Scott.

While larger populations are great for the economy, they are also a challenge. "It does put demands on the government in terms of schools and roads and things like," says Scott.

It's a small price to pay to keep growing. "That's going to create a better living standard, better wage levels, and so we're going to see a lot of folks doing better as a result of this growth."

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