New Orleans, Louisiana







Note: Even though the Census Bureau is aware of the effects of Hurricane Katrina, the U.S. Census Bureau's 2000 population count for New Orleans of 484,674 is the last official number on record for New Orleans. Most current population numbers are estimates, seeing as though it is next to impossible to determine exactly how many people are currently living in the city as of December 2006 (seeing as residents have come back and thousands more Hispanics currently reside in the region than in July 2005). Janet Murguia, president and chief executive officer of the National Council of La Raza, the largest national Hispanic civil-rights and advocacy organization in the United States stated that there could up to 120,000 Hispanics residing in New Orleans which would push the population number to 320,000 or more. A more precise population number won't be known until the Census Bureau's official population count in 2010. Until then, population numbers for New Orleans are mainly estimates and most likely will be met with criticism and seen as unstable and unreliable.

Hurricane Katrina, which struck the city in late August 2005, caused major flooding, the city's evacuation and a significant decrease in population; also, many former residents have not yet returned. The devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina and the subsequent levee failures caused the city's evacuation and left many low lying parts of the city destroyed and temporarily unihabitable. A November 2006 study, conducted by the Louisiana Recovery Authority (L.R.A.), put the Orleans Parish population at 200,665. However, as stated above, all studies and current population numbers are mainly estimates and an official population count will not be conducted until 2010.

By 2010 city officials in New Orleans expect the city's population to be anywhere in the mid to upper 300,000 range or even the low 400,000 range, as more housing will be brought onto the market. Housing Department of Urban Developement has stated that public housing developments, which were originally going to be torn down, are going to be re-opened temporarily; the public housing developments will be redeveloped but will be done in phases. Developers taking advantage of federal tax credits to build low income housing and affordable housing should help residents return to the region. Also, as more residents receive federal grant money even more people should return to the region.

Another November 2006 study by the Louisiana Public Health Institute -which was called "the most extensive population study since the Katrina Hurricane"- found New Orleans' population as near 50 percent of its size prior to Hurricane Katrina. The study estimated 200,665 people live in Orleans Parish, which comprises the city proper, compared to the 2000 U.S. Census population of 484,674. The study also found the three parish metro area, which includes Jefferson and hard-hit St. Bernard Parish, has a population of close to 700,000 or 800,000 people (the entire seven parish metro area has a population of 1.2 million). Official population numbers for New Orleans and surrounding areas are to be completed in 2010.

The Latino population is increasing in post-Katrina New Orleans, due in part to many Latinos coming to help rebuild the city. [6]

City of New Orleans
Population by year[19]











































As of the censusGR2 of 2000, there were 484,674 people, 188,251 households, and 112,950 families residing in the city. The most recent (2004) population estimate for the city is 462,269. The population density was 1,036.4/km² (2,684.3/mi²). There were 215,091 housing units at an average density of 459.9/km² (1,191.3/mi²). The racial makeup of the city was 67.25% African American, 28.05% White, 0.20% Native American, 2.26% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.93% from other races, and 1.28% from two or more races. 3.06% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

The population of Greater New Orleans stood at 1,337,726 in 2000, making it the 35th largest metropolitan area in the United States. These population statistics are based on legal residents of the city. But due to the enormous annual tourist flow, the number of people inside the city at a given time, such as Mardi Gras season, tends to exceed these numbers sometimes by the hundreds of thousands.

There were 188,251 households out of which 29.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 30.8% were married couples living together, 24.5% had a female householder with no husband present, 40% were non-families, 33.2% of all households were made up of individuals, and 9.7% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.48 and the average family size was 3.23.

The age distribution of the city's population is 26.7% under the age of 18, 11.4% from 18 to 24, 29.3% from 25 to 44, 20.9% from 45 to 64, and 11.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females there were 88.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 83.3 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $27,133, and the median income for a family was $32,338. Males had a median income of $30,862 versus $23,768 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,258. 27.9% of the population and 23.7% of families were below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 40.3% of those under the age of 18 and 19.3% of those 65 and older were living below the poverty line.

The population of New Orleans peaked in 1960. Since then, suburban parishes such as Jefferson and St. Tammany have increased in population.

An analysis by Brown University sociologist John R. Logan in January of 2006[21] suggests that as many as 50% of whites and 80% of blacks displaced by Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath may relocate permanently. However, his theory was proven to be un-true as the racial makeup for New Orleans is about on equal levels as it was before Katrina, particularly in Orleans Parish Schools where the racial difference is 91% african american, compares with 93% before Katrina.



New Orleans is notably absent from the Protestant Bible Belt that dominates religion in the Southern United States. In New Orleans and the surrounding Gulf Coast area, the predominant religion is Roman Catholicism. Within the Archdiocese of New Orleans itself, 35.9% percent of the population is Roman Catholic.[22] Catholicism has been present in New Orleans since its initial founding, and continues to have an extremely strong presence in the surrounding area. This is reflected in the cities' many parochial schools, architecture, and festivals, including Mardi Gras.

Compared to other areas in the immediate region, the greater New Orleans area has a significant Jewish population, estimated at around 10,000 pre-Katrina. Some famous people from the New Orleans Jewish community include David Oreck (the inventor of the Oreck vacuum cleaner) and Harry Connick, Jr. (his mother was Jewish; he was raised in both religions).

New Orleans also famously has a presence of its distinctive variety of Voodoo, due in part to syncretism with Roman Catholic beliefs, and New Orleans' distinctly Caribbean cultural influences. [23][24][25]

The practice of Voodoo within the city has been highly exploited by the tourism industry.


New Orleans has a high violent crime rate. Its homicide rate has consistently ranked in the top five of large cities in the country since the 1980s along with Detroit, Miami, and Atlanta. In 1994, 421 people were killed (85.8 per 100,000 people), a homicide rate which has not been matched by any major US city to date. [26] The homicide rate rose and fell year to year throughout the late 1990s, but the overall trend from 1994 to 1999 was a steady reduction in homicides.

From 1999 to 2004, the homicide rate again increased. New Orleans had the highest murder rate of any major American city in 2002 (53.3 per 100,000 people), and again retained the highest murder rate in 2003, with 275 murders according to this report.

Violent crime is a serious problem for New Orleans residents, especially African American, yet far less of a problem for tourists. Reports show that almost 90% of Caucasians living within the city limits felt safe in their surroundings, while only about 25% of African Americans felt safe in their surroundings.[citation needed] As in other U.S. cities of comparable size, the incidence of homicide and other violent crimes is highly concentrated in certain low-income city neighborhoods, such as housing projects, that are sites of open air drug trade.[citation needed] Most murder victims have criminal records. In 2003, most victims in New Orleans were killed within three months of their last arrest.[citation needed] The statistics state that only about 9% of murder victims in 2004 year were of European or Asian Ancestry.[citation needed] The crime is primarily black on black and drug related.[citation needed] The homicide rate for the New Orleans metropolitan statistical area, which includes the suburbs, was 24.4 per 100,000 in 2002.[27]

After Hurricane Katrina, media attention focused on the reduced violent crime rate following the exodus of many New Orleanians. That trend is beginning to reverse itself as more residents return to the city, although calculating the homicide rate remains difficult given that no authoritative source can cite a total population figure.[28] Regardless, statistics are showing that violent crime is beginning to return to the city.

There were 22 murders in July 2006, the same as the monthly average for the city from 2002 until Hurricane Katrina, when the population was much higher.[29] There were 161 murders in 2006. [7]

As of January 20, 2007, there have been 15 murders in the city in 2007. The crime epidemic has been featured in many movies and films.