Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Where Have All The People Gone

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.

3 comments:

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Mark said...

I think the line in the Entergy story about estimating 210,000 residents based on load is interesting. I think the post office is still a mess at this point, and statistics based on mail forwarding are probably giving an incomplete picture. Hopefull there aren't leaks in Entergy's system like those in the S&WB's (I better make sure I keep my flip-flops on otherwise) so that would seem to be a better (if imprecise) indicator of who's really back. I'm assuming that a lot of the people working seven days a week at menial rebuilding tasks probably aren't spending a lot of time with the AC on 67 in front of their plasma TVs, so they if Entery thinks its 210,000, its probably even larger than that.