City updates online collection of quality-of-life indicators

Biloxi’s population is down an estimated 12 percent since Hurricane Katrina, but the number of residents is expected to surge by 20 percent over pre-Katrina levels during the next couple of years.

The population estimates, the first formal post-Katrina ackowledgement by the city, are among the dozens of facts and figures found in the newly updated online version of the city’s “General Market Analysis.”

The latest U.S. Census population estimate for Biloxi – 44,342 – does not include those areas of Biloxi that were annexed in 1999, months before Census 2000 was unveiled. That census said Biloxi’s pre-annexation population was 50,644.

The “General Market Analysis” is a 28-page compendium — text, and full-color photographs and charts — that touts trends in such quality-of-life dynamics as affordable housing, home sales, unemployment, education, and the many other factors that impact the local economy.

To see the online version of the report, including a user-friendly alphabetized index, click here.

“This is an excellent tool for someone – whether a local or interested out-of-towner – who wants to learn about Biloxi and what makes our community such a vibrant place,” said Community Development Director Jerry Creel, whose department is responsible for producing the report. “This is ‘the book on Biloxi.’”

The city had updated the information annually before Hurricane Katrina, but the 2008 version is the first since the Aug. 29, 2005 storm. As a result, many comparisons of pre- and post-Katrina Biloxi are included in the various sections of the report.

Among the matter-of-fact statements in the new GMA:

The median age in Biloxi is 34.6, the city has 20,094 households, and an average household size of 2.38.

The city’s unemployment rate today is 6.3 percent, and was 24.9 percent a month after Katrina.

In FY 2005, the city issued 1,196 commercial-construction permits valued at $116.4 million. In FY 2007, the city issued 972 commercial permits valued at $411.7 million.

Gross sales from the food and beverage group dropped from $328 million in FY ’04 to $167.6 million in FY ’06. Sales of lumber and building materials, meanwhile went from $30.5 million to $80 million for the same time period.

The average market time for homes, condos and townhomes in Biloxi was 119 days in 2002, with an average sales price of $126,921. In 2007 (through the end of July) the average time on the market was 105 days and the average sales price was $183,498.

The Beau Rivage Resort & Casino is the city’s largest taxpayer, with a taxable assessed value of $69.2 million. The mega-resort represents 12.79 percent of the city’s total assessed valuation, and the city’s Top 10 taxpayers account for 35 percent of the city’s total valuation.

Biloxi has 219 sunny days a year, with an average January temperature of 52 degrees, and 92 in July.