Impact on Population
The flooding buried most of the city and its surrounding suburbs, the residents who refused to flee were evacuated during the hurricane. The city’s population changed drastically before, during, and after Katrina. The United States Census Bureau estimates that the people of New Orleans declined from 483,663 before Katrina (2000) to approximately 208,548 after Katrina (2006). In other words, the city of New Orleans lost half of its population. By 2016, the population returned to 391,495. Not all the people who left New Orleans were involuntarily displaced, nor all people moved to the city were returning residents.
Will New Orleans Recover?
A decade after Katrina, the City of New Orleans still recovering. Although government officials insist on rebuilding the city, environmental scientists are raising concerns about the feasibility given the city’s dangerous geographical position. You see, New Orleans is built on a swamp its very foundation makes it vulnerable. Whether the city will bounce back once more is fundamentally an economic matter.
Will the population of 400,000 resident and their employers continue to live in New Orleans? 190,000 jobs were lost, and employment declined by more than 30 percent from August 2005 to December 2005. Statewide, Louisiana lost 214,000 jobs or 12 percent of the state’s total.
History shows many examples of cities that were struck by the disaster but bounced back. During World War II, the allied forces raided Hamburg, destroying half of its housing in the summer of 1943. However, most of the residents returned by 1946, and the city’s population increased more than its prewar level. Like New Orleans, Hamburg enjoyed steady growth before the disaster.
Moreover, New Orleans had one thing that Hamburg didn’t have. The Federal Emergency Management Agency, a governmental agency responsible for coordinating the federal government’s response to natural and human-made disasters. Thus, the full recovery of New Orleans after Katrina is not overly optimistic.