BRAC disputes ranking showing Baton Rouge to be slow growing

Officials with the Baton Rouge Area Chamber dispute the methodology used in a ranking that found Baton Rouge to be the sixth-slowest-growing mid-size city in America.

Andrew Fitzgerald, senior director of business intelligence with the Baton Rouge Area Chamber, says the methodology used for WalletHub’s rankings doesn’t work well for Baton Rouge, which is just one part of the parish—unlike some cities on the list—and stands as one part of a regional economy.

Personal finance website WalletHub compared 515 cities in the nation—249 of which were mid-sized—based on 15 measures of economic growth and decline over a seven-year period, such as population growth, job growth and poverty rates.

“For us the growth is regional,” Fitzgerald says. “And for some of the cities they are looking at their growth is the city alone.”

He says East Baton Rouge Parish is a mature parish that doesn’t have as much land to build as other neighboring parishes, so many of the people who work in the parish and city commute from areas such as Ascension and Livingston parishes.

“When you look at the city, population growth isn’t that big because we don’t have land,” Fitzgerald says.

Fitzgerald says the companies often complete their own research of the region as a whole before deciding on Baton Rouge, which means the ranking isn’t likely to hurt Baton Rouge’s credibility.

Baton Rouge was ranked 504th out of 515 cities in the nation and 244th out of 249 mid-size cities.

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