The Times Picayune reports that the repopulation of New Orleans has slowed to a trickle.
The number of people who lived in the region before Hurricane Katrina and had come back as of June 30 rose by only 2,000, or less than two-tenths of a percentage point, compared with three months earlier, according to the data. If extrapolated, the figures suggest the metro area's population stood at less than 1.1 million at the end of June, compared with the region's pre-Katrina population of 1.5 million.
The estimates include 171,000 pre-Katrina New Orleanians who have returned to the city. Current estimates from city officials and others claim that a total 210,000 to 250,000 people are living in New Orleans, though they don't say how many of them were here before the storm and how many are workers who have come for the rebuilding.
I have my owne theory for this. We are currently between two rebuilding phases. The first phase involved people who have the wherewithall to rebuild with their own funds or insurance settlements. After almost a year, those who fall into this category should be about complete with their rebuilding efforts. The second phase will begin shortly as the money from the CDBG program will begin to be distributed.
Once the bulk of these funds start making their way into the construction pipeline, we should see s sharp uptick in the repopulation in about six months. Six months is the approximate time for a typical house to be renovated.