The Location of Displaced New Orleans Residents in the Year After Hurricane Katrina


Using individual data from the restricted version of the American Community Survey, we examined the displacement locations of pre–Hurricane Katrina adult residents of New Orleans in the year after the hurricane. More than one-half (53 %) of adults had returned to—or remained in—the New Orleans metropolitan area, with just under one-third of the total returning to the dwelling in which they resided prior to Hurricane Katrina. Among the remainder, Texas was the leading location of displaced residents, with almost 40 % of those living away from the metropolitan area (18 % of the total), followed by other locations in Louisiana (12 %), the South region of the United States other than Louisiana and Texas (12 %), and elsewhere in the United States (5 %). Black adults were considerably more likely than nonblack adults to be living elsewhere in Louisiana, in Texas, and elsewhere in the South. The observed race disparity was not accounted for by any of the demographic or socioeconomic covariates in the multinomial logistic regression models. Consistent with hypothesized effects, we found that following Hurricane Katrina, young adults (aged 25–39) were more likely to move further away from New Orleans and that adults born outside Louisiana were substantially more likely to have relocated away from the state.

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Fig. 1


  1. 1.

    Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi, Kentucky, Alabama, West Virginia, Virginia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Maryland, Georgia, Florida, the District of Columbia, and Delaware.


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The authors gratefully acknowledge support for this research from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (HD59087), the Russell Sage Foundation (83-08-02), and the National Science Foundation (ITR-0427889). Helpful comments were provided by Michael Rendall. Cathy Sun provided valuable programming assistance. The authors also thank Clint Carter and Maggie Levenstein of the Michigan Census Research Data Center for their help at various stages of the project, and Deborah Griffin of the Census Bureau for information on ACS field procedures. This article reports the results of research and analysis undertaken while the authors were research affiliates of the Center for Economic Studies at the U.S. Census Bureau. It has undergone a Census Bureau review more limited in scope than that given to official Census Bureau publications. Research results and conclusions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily indicate concurrence by the Census Bureau. It has been screened to ensure that no confidential information is revealed.

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Correspondence to Narayan Sastry.

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Sastry, N., Gregory, J. The Location of Displaced New Orleans Residents in the Year After Hurricane Katrina. Demography 51, 753–775 (2014) doi:10.1007/s13524-014-0284-y

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  • Hurricane Katrina
  • New Orleans population
  • Migration
  • Displacement
  • Disaster