Returning to New Orleans in the Year after Hurricane Katrina: Disparities by Race and the Effects of Flooding
Hurricane Katrina displaced virtually the entire population of New Orleans. Blacks were much less likely to return to the city than nonblacks. We examined this disparity using restricted data from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey. We investigated the extent to which the race disparity in returning to New Orleans was due to socioeconomic status (as measured by educational attainment), demographic characteristics, severity of flooding, and other housing and neighborhood characteristics. Flood damage appeared to be a key factor in shaping the likelihood of return migration and in accounting for the observed disparities by race, although economic status, measured at the neighborhood level or by housing tenure, was also important. The effects of neighborhood flooding on blacks' return migration suggest a potential role of social networks that is distinct from the direct effect of flooding on housing damage that was apparent for nonblacks.