The Naval Postgraduate School & The U.S. Department of Homeland Security

New Orleans Index at Eight: Measuring Greater New Orleans' Progress Toward Prosperity

The Greater New Orleans Community Data Center has released a report tracking the recovery of the New Orleans metro area eight years after Hurricane Katrina and the levee failures. The report, New Orleans Index at Eight: Measuring Greater New Orleans' Progress Toward Prosperity, "provides the most up-to-date data on New Orleans' transition from recovery to transformation."

The report "examines trends in the federally-defined 7-parish New Orleans metropolitan statistical area." Over twenty indicators are analyzed in the document, including economic growth, quality of life, inclusion, and sustainability.

"There is no doubt progress has been made. Leaders and residents have undertaken an unprecedented number of reforms that, over time, may have transformative outcomes. In addition, the New Orleans metro has weathered the Great Recession impressively. The recession took hold locally in 2008, and the metro lost only 1 percent of its jobs before the economy rebounded. In contrast, the nation hemorrhaged jobs beginning in 2007 and lost 6 percent before its turnaround. By 2012, the New Orleans metro had fully recovered, and employment levels surpassed the 2008 peak by 1 percent. At the same time, the nation remained 3 percent behind its pre-recession employment level. Yet the question lingers how much of New Orleans' success has been supported by one-time recovery investments that are tapering. New Orleanians and outside observers alike wonder: Has the metro truly broken from its historic path and taken up a new trajectory; and if yes, what are the unique elements of New Orleans' current -- and future -- success?"

Some of the findings from the report include:

  • The population of New Orleans grew by 2 percent
  • The city has experienced notable growth in knowledge-based industries
  • Entrepreneurship in the metro area continues to expand
  • Post-Katrina housing is unaffordable
  • The rate of violent crimes per 100,000 residents was double the 2011 national rate