Demographic analysis of the 2016 flood, a year later (Part II: East Baton Rouge impact)

In the previous analysis, it was determined that in general, the parishes included in the federal disaster declaration were not affected (from a population growth standpoint) by the flooding of last August. East Baton Rouge Parish, however, did not see any growth in its voter population since the flood, which would suggest that this parish was the exception to the rule. Since parts of the parish saw substantial flooding while other parts did not, a more detailed analysis is needed here.

Aggregate analysis

While overall there was little population and demographic change in the year since the flood, an analysis at the regional level within the parish suggests some correlation between voter population growth and whether that part of East Baton Rouge parish was affected by the flood.

At the aggregate level, a parish of 284,900 registered voters as of August 1 saw a net addition of 333 voters since the flood (430 less whites, 2 more blacks, and 761 more Asians/Hispanics). The number of white voters in East Baton Rouge Parish has, in absolute terms, been decreasing for 5 of the last 7 years, so this decline isn’t particularly surprising. The minimal change in black voters, however, is more newsworthy, as this demographic has seen gains┬áin its voter numbers for 5 of the last 7 years. Equally notable was the 6% increase since last year in Asian/Hispanic voters.

EBR regional analysis

East Baton Rouge Parish regions

 

 

 

 

 

 

Voter change by region

 

 

 

 

 

When examining the rate of growth (or loss) in registered voters over the past year, the fastest growing area of the parish was an area south of I-10 generically known as “Highland Perkins”, which not only saw a 4% increase in its registered voter count, but also had minimal residential flooding. The same was the case (minimal flooding combined with voter population growth) in the “Garden District”, which consists of affluent neighborhoods closer to downtown near the LSU lakes.

Zachary also saw its voter population grow faster than the rest of the parish, although parts of the Zachary area flooded, while other parts did not. A closer analysis, however, does reveal the parts that stayed high and dry saw somewhat greater population growth.

The remainder of the parish saw more substantial flooding, and variations were even more apparent at the neighborhood/precinct level. For instance, the “Midcity” area was largely high and dry, while the Sherwood Forest subdivision (particularly parts closer to Flannery Road/Lively Bayou) saw massive flooding. And this was apparent in the voter registration statistics: the “dry” part of Sherwood Forest saw no change in its voter population while the “flooded” part saw a 5% voter population loss (its white voter population declined 14%, while black voter population increased 4%). Similarly, the southeastern part of the parish saw flat population growth, while an area between I-12 and Florida Blvd saw a 10% loss in its voter population (both white and black voter populations declined by double digits).

Conclusion

Given that some areas of East Baton Rouge flooded, while other parts remained dry last August, an analysis of voter registration statistics over the last years shows that in this situation, there was some correlation between (voter) population growth and whether an area flooded or not.