Population and Environment

, Volume 37, Issue 4, pp 449–463 | Cite as

Population recovery in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina: exploring the potential role of stage migration in migration systems

  • Jack DeWaard
  • Katherine J. Curtis
  • Elizabeth Fussell
Brief Report


In this research brief, we explore how places affected by natural disasters recover their populations through indirect, or “stage,” migration. Specifically, we consider the idea that post-disaster impediments (e.g., housing and property damage) in disaster-affected areas spawn migration flows toward and, over time, to disaster-affected areas through intermediary destinations. Taking as our case Orleans Parish over a 5-year period after Hurricane Katrina, we show that stage migration accounted for up to about one-fourth of population recovery. We close by discussing the implications, limitations, and potential extensions of our work.


Stage migration Migration systems Population recovery Disasters Hurricane Katrina Environment 



This research was supported by NIH center grant #R24 HD041023 awarded to the Minnesota Population Center at the University of Minnesota and center and training grants #R24 HD047873 and #T32 HD07014 awarded to the Center for Demography and Ecology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, and by funds to Curtis from the Wisconsin Agricultural Experiment Station and Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation. Earlier versions of this paper were presented at the Friday Seminar Series at the Center for Studies in Demography and Ecology at the University of Washington on May 9, 2014, the annual meeting of the Population Association of America on May 1, 2014, and the Inequality and Methods Workshop at the Minnesota Population Center at the University of Minnesota on April 18, 2014. The authors thank Lori Hunter and Mark Ellis for their helpful comments.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jack DeWaard
    • 1
  • Katherine J. Curtis
    • 2
  • Elizabeth Fussell
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Sociology, Minnesota Population CenterUniversity of MinnesotaMinneapolisUSA
  2. 2.University of Wisconsin-MadisonMadisonUSA
  3. 3.Brown UniversityProvidenceUSA

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