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Southwest Louisiana ,
Cameron Parish. (Special to the American Press)

Cameron Parish. (Special to the American Press)

Cameron Parish ranks high in New York Times report

Last Modified: Wednesday, July 09, 2014 12:31 PM

By John Guidroz / American Press

Cameron Parish is Louisiana’s eighth-easiest parish to live in when looking at several factors, including income, education, unemployment levels and health, according to a recent New York Times report.

Released last month, the article ranked the hardest places to live in the U.S. by county or parish. Six factors were used to decide the ranking: college education, median household income, unemployment rate, disability, life expectancy and obesity.

Cameron Parish reported a median income of $62,353; a 14.2 percent college education rate; a 5.3 percent unemployment rate; a 0.8 percent disability rate; a life expectancy rate of 74.3 years; and an obesity rate of 41 percent.

The report ranked St. Tammany, Lafayette, Ascension, Bossier, East Baton Rouge, Jefferson and St. Charles parishes above Cameron. Cameron had the highest ranking in Southwest Louisiana.

Cameron ranked 1,559 out of 3,135 parishes and counties nationwide. The Greater Baton Rouge Business Report said that “56 of Louisiana’s 64 parishes ranked in the bottom half of the nation’s counties.”

Cameron Parish Administrator Ryan Bourriaque said the parish is “addressing some issues with quality of life.” With the initial recovery from Hurricanes Rita and Ike now done, he said the parish “can focus its attention on ancillary services to improve our quality of life even further.”

“Roads and bridges, waterlines and other amenities throughout the parish are being improved on a daily basis,” Bourriaque said.

The question of whether Cameron’s smaller population was a factor in its higher ranking is unnecessary, he said. Bourriaque said none of the states’s four least populated parishes — Tensas, East Carroll, Red River and Caldwell — “ranked within 1,000 spots of Cameron’s ranking of 1,559.”

Looking at other Southwest Louisiana parishes, Calcasieu ranked 1,990 out of the 3,135 counties and parishes; Beauregard ranked 2,074; Allen ranked 2,606; and Jeff Davis ranked 2,416.

Another recent study by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute ranked Cameron Parish seventh in the state in health outcomes. The parish ranked second in the 2013 report, but Bourriaque said the data used to compile the findings came from 2006-2012.

“The first four years of this data were at a troubling time for our residents due to Hurricanes Rita and Ike,” he said. “These were years in which our parish was recovering emotionally, financially and physically, yet still scored the highest in our region. I feel that Cameron’s ranking will improve moving forward.”

Posted By: Joyce Chandler On: 7/10/2014

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