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New Orleans Five Years After the Storm: A New Disaster Amid Recovery

This comprehensive survey of the experiences of New Orleans residents is the third in a series conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation since 2005.  Five years after Hurricane Katrina, an increasing majority of the city’s residents says the rebuilding process is going well, but substantial majorities still report that the city has not recovered and feel the nation has forgotten them.  The survey also finds the scope and immediacy of the Gulf oil spill weighing heavily on New Orleans residents’ minds. Asked which disaster would cause more damage, more people pointed to the oil spill than picked Katrina and the levee breaks that followed the hurricane.   Overall, the survey reveals a markedly changed city, with a population nearly a third smaller than it was at the time of the 2000 Census, still struggling to recover from a storm and levee breaks that killed 1,464 people and displaced more than a million others while flooding entire neighborhoods and swamping local businesses and medical facilities. While residents see significant progress in restoring tourism, many report that New Orleans lags in overcoming an intractable crime problem and that the pace of the recovery has been far slower for the city’s black residents, who are the majority.

The survey was designed and analyzed by a research team from across the Kaiser Family Foundation. Social Science Research Solutions collaborated with Kaiser researchers on sample design and weighting, and conducted the fieldwork. Interviews for the current survey were completed May 26–June 27, 2010, in English and Spanish via landline telephone and cell-phone among 1,528 randomly selected adults ages 18 and older residing in Orleans Parish. Note that the survey included Orleans Parish residents in all their racial and ethnic diversity — including whites, African Americans, Hispanics, Asian Americans and those of other backgrounds — but because groups are represented based on their actual share of the total population, the only two groups large enough to be analyzed separately are African Americans and whites. The margin of sampling error for the total sample is plus or minus 3 percentage points. For results based on other subsets of respondents the margin of sampling error may be higher.

icon_news_release.gifNews Release

icon_fact_sheet Report (.pdf)

icon_charts_data.gif Chartpack (.pdf)