LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC-TV) – The population of Lake Charles grew over the last ten years, but not by much.
According to data released by the U.S. Census Bureau, the 2010 population for Lake Charles was 71,993. In 2000, the population for the city was 71,757.
The city only grew by 236 residents or 0.3% over the last decade.
Lake Charles Mayor Randy Roach called the figures "disappointing" but said the population count should be put in perspective.
Roach said Hurricane Rita caused Lake Charles and much of Southwest Louisiana to lose residents in 2005.
Roach said based on information he has seen, Lake Charles has actually recovered all of the residents it lost after Rita, and had it not been for that storm, the city would have shown much stronger growth.
"You have to keep these numbers in perspective," said Roach.
Roach said Lake Charles cannot show major growth unless unincorporated areas were annexed into the city, something that did not happen over the last decade.
Roach said the good news is that Calcasieu Parish has grown.
Roach said people should remember, while Lake Charles is the principal city of Southwest Louisiana and Calcasieu Parish, the fact that the parish grew by five percent, shows that things are moving in the right direction.
"You can't lose sight of what growth really means and what the growth patterns are in the parish," said Roach. "Growth in the unincorporated areas is made possible by things we're doing [in Lake Charles]."
Still, Roach said the City will go back and look at the data it keeps on file and compare that with the results from the Census, but the mayor said he does not plan on challenging the Census numbers because the City did not stand to gain anything of significance.
Roach said he is hopeful the city will see a significant growth by the 2020 Census, especially since new subdivisions, like one on Power Centre Parkway in southeast Lake Charles will be sprouting up, adding hundreds, even thousands of new residents.
The population for Calcasieu Parish in 2010 was 192,768, an increase of five percent since 2000. Calcasieu Parish was one of a few big parishes in Louisiana to experience growth over the last ten years.
The largest parish in the state in terms of population is East Baton Rouge, which reported 440,171 people in 2010.