New U.S. Census Bureau data shows Gulfport, Long Beach and Waveland had the most population growth in 2008, but most South Mississippi cities are still below pre-Hurricane Katrina populations.
The data released today shows only cities in Pearl River, Stone and George Counties are above their pre-storm totals, though Coast cities are making steady gains. Gulfport — South Mississippi’s largest city — gained 1,074 people in 2008, the data shows. The city is still 3,205 below its pre-Katrina population of 73,260. Waveland gained 454 people in 2008, bringing its population to an estimated 5,249, still far below the pre-Katrina population of 8,346. In Long Beach, 753 residents were gained in 2008, the Census reports.
Long Beach Mayor Billy Skellie believes many families, taking advantage of good schools there, have rebuilt their homes and he notes several apartment complexes opened, which likely contributed to the growth.