Situated in the deep south of the United States, Louisiana is known chiefly for the history and culture of its largest city, New Orleans. In fact, its capital city is Baton Rouge, even if its larger neighbor has dominated the headlines ever since the state came into existence. Louisiana has shown steady growth over the years.
There is a wide and diverse mix of people that make up the Louisiana population, which grew to 4,670,724 by the end of 2016. This reflects a modest rise over the previous year. Louisiana currently has a population growth rate of 0.75% annually, which ranks 27th in the country.
The last official census in the United States took place in 2010 and at the time, it was revealed that 4,533,372 people lived in Louisiana, which represented a modest growth of 1.4% on the figures from 2000. Sadly, the effects of Hurricane Katrina played something of a part in restricting the population and as a result of the disaster, some 1,500 people lost their lives.
In 2012, an estimate put the population of Louisiana at 4,601,893, a further increase from the 2010 Census, which has since increased to over 4.6 million. In terms of population, Louisiana is the 25th largest state within the US.
With a surface area of 51,839 square miles, Louisiana is the 31st largest state in terms of pure land mass. In regards to population density, the figures are fairly modest. For every square mile of land, there is an average of around 105 people (40.5 per square kilometer).
Despite the low population density, there are several "hotspot" areas of population, mostly grouped around major cities. New Orleans is the largest city in the state, and its metropolitan area has an estimated population of 1.285 million in 2016 with a population density of 1,965 people per square mile in the city proper.
Overall, these statistics combine to make Louisiana the 24th most densely populated state in the entire USA.
The largest parish in Louisiana is the East Baton Rouge Parish, with over 446,000 individuals residing within its boundaries.
The median age in Louisiana is 36.2 years of age, and the state also features a majority of females at 51.1% of the population and 48.9% males in the population.
In terms of religious preferences, Lousiana strongly leans towards Christianity with 84% of the population affiliated with a Christian based faith, while 2% are involved with non-Christian based faiths, which leaves 13% of the population unaffiliated with any particular religion.
Louisiana west of the Mississippi River was mostly part of the Louisiana Territory, which was ceded by Spain to France in 1803 and then sold by France to the United States. In 1804 much of the present State was included in the newly established Orleans Territory; the rest of the Louisiana Purchase became Louisiana Territory, renamed Missouri Territory in 1812. Louisiana was admitted as a State on April 30, 1812 and immediately added the Florida Parishes east of the Mississippi and north of Lake Pontchartrain, although these still were claimed by Spain until 1819. Also in 1819, the boundary with Mexico (Texas) was settled by treaty, bringing the State to essentially its present limits.
In 1810 the census covered most of the settled parts of what is now Louisiana, except for the Florida Parishes east of the Mississippi River. By 1820 census coverage extended to virtually all of the present State. Louisiana's primary subdivisions have long been termed parishes instead of counties; both terms appear in early censuses.
According to the most recent ACS, the racial composition of Louisiana was:
At the nationwide census of 1810, the population of Louisiana was recorded at 76,556. This was, however, a time of substantial growth across the United States, and just ten years later, those numbers had grown by a fraction over 100% to 153,407.
This represented the biggest population increase on a census by census basis, but further healthy growth continued throughout the 1800s, and by the time the century drew to a close, numbers had risen to 1,381,625.
Many Louisiana urban environments continue to have a multilingual and multicultural heritage, which is greatly influenced by the African, Native American, Spanish and French cultures so strongly represented in the state during the 18th century. Louisiana had both Spanish and French colonies prior to the American purchase of the area, and African slaves were imported into the region during the 18th century. English was not made the only official language of the state until 1915.
Population growth has been happening in Louisiana since its inception, and in the present day, the Louisiana population of 2016 now consists of more than 4.6 million people.
The recent increases in population have been somewhat inconsistent. Therefore, it’s a little difficult to predict how the numbers in the state will develop.
In 2012, Census figures showed that New Orleans reached 81% of its pre-Katrina population, and there are still no official figures on how low the population of Louisiana's largest city fell after the storm. In 2013, it was reported that New Orleans grew 28.2% between 2007 and 2012. This rebound also caused New Orleans to be named as the fastest growing metropolitan area in the country.
Natural growth is healthy in Louisiana, and at the 2020 Census there should be a further rise in the overall population. With current growth trends, it's estimated that the population of Louisiana will grow to 4.7 million by 2025 and surpass 5 million by 2030.
Louisiana has an interesting diversity of races at any given time. The percentage of African Americans and blacks in the state is the second-highest in the nation, only trailing behind Mississippi. A high percentage of Cajuns and Creoles live in the southern portion of the state. There are also a significant number of Hispanics in the state, including the third largest Honduran American community located in metro New Orleans.
Louisiana's population still greatly reflects the state's history, and 3.5% of the population speaks Spanish at home while 3.4% speak French, including Louisiana Creole and Cajun. A total of 8.6% of the state's residents speak a language other than English at home.
There is a very high concentration of black Americans living in Louisiana, accounting for over 32% of the total population. The most common ancestry groups include African American (30.4%), French (16.8%), American (9.5%), German (8.3%), Irish (7.5%), English (6.6%) and Italian (4.8%). It's estimated that nearly half of the population in Louisiana below the age of 1 is a minority.
The state of Louisiana has, over the last five years, seen population increases and declines across its many counties, also known in this state as parishes. When comparing data from the 2010 Census and estimates taken in 2015, there are four Louisiana counties that have exhibited significant population growth. At the top of the list is St. Bernard Parish, which was tracked to have a population growth of 23.35%. Its neighbor, Orleans Parish, showed a population growth of 11.99%. Further to the west, Ascension and Acadia both demonstrated high rates of growth. Other counties that posted smaller rates of growth include West Baton Rouge, St. Tammany, and Livingston.
While some counties saw growth, others saw declines in population during the same 5-year period, with the majority of losses mostly being recorded along the northern border of the state. This includes Claiborne, Morehouse, and East Carroll Parishes that each saw over 5% loss in population. Located to the southeast of these counties, Tensas saw the highest loss, with a 9.26% population decline.
Black or African American
Two or more races
Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander
Average Family Size
Average Household Size
Rate of Home Ownership
Less Than 9th Grade
9th to 12th Grade
High School Graduate
High School Graduation Rate
The highest rate of high school graduation is among white people with a rate of 78.26%.
The highest rate of bachelors degrees is among asian people with a rate of 37.49%.
Other Indo-European Languages
Asian and Pacific Island Languages
92.31% of Louisiana residents speak only English, while 7.69% speak other languages. The non-English language spoken by the largest group is Spanish, which is spoken by 3.71% of the population.
Overall Poverty Rate
Male Poverty Rate
Female Poverty Rate
The race most likely to be in poverty in Louisiana is Black, with 38.19% below the poverty level.
The race least likely to be in poverty in Louisiana is White, with 14.38% below the poverty level.
The poverty rate among those that worked full-time for the past 12 months was 4.26%. Among those working part-time, it was 20.71%, and for those that did not work, the poverty rate was 28%.
Overall Marriage Rate
Male Marriage Rate
Female Marriage Rate
The age group where males are most likely to be married is Over 65, while the female age group most likely to be married is 45-54.
Second Gulf War
First Gulf War
World War II
Less Than 9th Grade
High School Graduate
Bachelors or Greater
Veteran Poverty Rate
Veteran Disability Rate
Labor Force Participation
Non citizens include legal permanent residents (green card holders), international students, temporary workers, humanitarian migrants, and illegal immigrants.
Born in Louisiana
96.42% of Louisiana residents were born in the United States, with 78.4% having been born in Louisiana. 2.47% of residents are not US citizens. Of those not born in the United States, the largest percentage are from Latin America.