New Orleans Hits 60% of Pre-Katrina Population
Residents trickling back at 1% a month
By Colleen Barry,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 9, 2007 5:55 AM CDT
Aaron Hall, left, and Kevin Hewitt talk with reporters while working on Hewitt's home in the Lower 9th Ward in New Orleans, May 23, 2007. Hewitt began pounding nails into his 140-year-old home just weeks...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – The population of New Orleans has rebounded to 60% of its pre-Katrina level nearly two years after the storm, the AP reports, based on the lastest survey. The city had 273,600 residents last month, up 50,200 from a year ago; 455,000 called the Big Easy home in July 2005.

The population has grown at about 1% a month, with returning residents concentrated in areas least affected by the hurricane. The population of the hard-hit Lower Ninth Ward stands at just 7% of its pre-Katrina level. "Everything is happening in a natural progression, and when I say natural, I mean slow," said the demographer who authored the survey.