Thursday, January 24, 2008

The Illusion of Prosperity

New Orleans is one of the oldest cities in North America and was once one of the largest cities in North America. New Orleans was once prosperous, in the 1840's.
Population rank of New Orleans

1790 -
1800 -
1810 7
1820 5
1830 5
1840 3
1850 5
1860 6
1870 9
1880 10
1990 12
1900 12
1910 15
1920 17
1930 16
1940 15
1950 16
1960 15
1970 19
1980 21
1990 24
2000 31
2005 38
The relative decline in the rank of New Orleans is an indication of being left behind. For more than a century and a half New Orleans has been losing prominence relative to other cities. Contrary to popular belief the relative decline began well before the Civil War. Where once we competed economically and socially with New York, Boston and Philadelphia, we now compete with much smaller and less prominent but more affluent cities.

Demographics is destiny.


Pistolette said...

Some have claimed the perennial reason we get our butts kicked by the northeastern cities is because of the protestant vs catholic work ethic... that, or our oppressive heat ;-)

Puddinhead said...

And it's simple to understand after you figure out that such a high percentage of the New Orleans citizenry who could make a difference like it this way. "You want growth and progress? Go to Atlanta or Houston. We like New Orleans because it's different from those places." So do I, just for the record. In many aspects my home town is a joy to live in. In many other aspects, however...well, let's just say that there are a lot of reasons that population grows in some places and falls in others, and taken all together they translate into the general desirabily of a location as a place to live.

Of course, because we're so convinced that ANY change whatsoever would ruin the "ambiance" that we love about NOLA, we can add to that earlier list Miami, Charlotte, Austin, Nashville, San Antonio, Birmingham, Memphis, Jacksonville, Tampa, Orlando, Virginia Beach, Louisville, Richmond, Raleigh-Durham...