10 years by the numbers

In an effort to provide a general overview of how the New Orleans region has changed since Hurricane Katrina, Biz New Orleans partnered with urban planner Robert Edgecombe at GCR Inc. The following pages provide a high-level profile of the area’s population, demographics, employment, industry and education pre-Katrina and today.




In 2014, the population of the New Orleans metro area was 1.23 million — about 91% of pre-Katrina figures.

The city of New Orleans has gained over 40,000 residents since 2010, growing at a rate comparable to Davidson County (Nashville, TN), Prince George County, MD (suburban Washington, D.C.), and Osceola County, FL (suburban Orlando).



Comparable Cities Then and Now

Portland, OR…………..536,636
Oklahoma City, OK….530,508
Tucson, AZ……………..499,583
New Orleans, LA……..493,765
Albuquerque, NM…….489,868
Long Beach, CA………468,781
Fresno, CA……………..460,601

Race and Ethnicity


While the African-American population has decreased, white, Hispanic/Latino, and Asian residents now comprise a greater percentage of the region’s population.



Data for Metro Area is only available through 2012.  Source: American Community Survey



The Metro Area is leading the state in job creation and wages are up.

The metro area weathered the recession durably and continues to see steady growth in overall employment. According to federal statistics, the area gained over 38,000 jobs between 2010 and 2014, about half of those within Orleans Parish. Employment growth in the metro area has outpaced the rest of state substantially; 38% of new statewide jobs between 2010 and 2014 were added within an area that comprises about a quarter of the state’s overall population.

 Additionally, increases in wages in the metro area have outpaced increases in the number of new jobs. Overall, unemployment rates in the metro area are slightly higher — 6.1% — than their pre-Katrina level of 5.4%. Notably, however, the rate has increased from 5.3% in 2014 to 6.1% in 2015, even as the national rate dropped significantly during the same period.


Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics Local Area Unemployment Statistics

Source: U.S. Census Bureau Longitudinal Employer Household Dynamics

Employment By Industry


Overall, the composition of the region’s economy has not changed dramatically, but even relatively small shifts tend to reshape perceptions.

For example, the rate of start-ups in the New Orleans area has more than doubled since Katrina, and although these start-ups may not account for a material percentage of overall employment, they are high-profile indicators of economic recovery and revitalization. The largest portion of the region’s employment comes from the Trade, Transportation, and Utilities sector, which includes both wholesale and retail establishments. Leisure and Hospitality workers account for a larger percentage of all employment now than before the storm, as do workers in the Professional and Business Services sector.

The only sector experiencing an absolute increase in jobs between 2004 and 2014 was Education and Health Services; employment in the metro area in this sector is nearly 5,000 higher than in 2004.

Importantly, regional economic development agencies are developing active strategies around the growth of foundational and emerging employment sectors, including advanced manufacturing, transportation, bionnovation and health sciences, digital media, and sustainable industries.



Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics Quarterly Census of Employment & Wages



As incomes have risen in the area, poverty has as well, and income inequality is a major social and economic concern.

The common perception that New Orleans is a “wealthier” city than before Katrina is both true and misleading. On the one hand, median household incomes have risen at a greater rate since 2005 in the city than they have nationally, where median incomes are lower in 2013 than in 2005 when adjusted for inflation. Additionally, a larger percentage of the city’s residents are higher-income than before the storm. On the other hand, the rise in median income is both an indication of greater wealth in the city and the comparative difficulty low-income residents continue experience in returning. Additionally, the rising cost of living, especially in the housing sector, has continued to impact residents across the income spectrum; the fair market rent of a two-bedroom apartment has risen 41% since the year before the storm, and more than half of all renters in the city spend above 30% of their monthly income on housing costs. 

Source: U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey



Our region’s revamped schools, overall, have shown progress in test scores and long-term prospects for students.


Source: U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey and Louisiana Department of Education



Categories: Healthcare, Insurance, The Magazine