Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Kaiser Post-Katrina Baseline Survey

The Kaiser Family Foundation has released The Future of New Orleans: Young Adults in the Greater New Orleans Area. According to the paper, this was a series of face to face interviews conducted in the Fall of 2006 with about 1500 current residents of New Orleans.

The survey was to find out how people were feeling about living in New Orleans and what their plans were. By and large, it looks like a traumatized population.

The future of New Orleans depends in part on the strength of its residents and their commitment to the area. One of the most encouraging findings from the survey, as previously reported, is that the vast majority of younger and older residents say they plan to stay in the area. However, a finding of potential concern is that young adults (18 percent) are more likely than their older counterparts (8 percent) to say they’re planning or seriously considering moving away from the area.

Those numbers don't really surprise me. Almost everyone in my family was negatively affected by Katrina, some more than others, but I am the only immediate family member not living there. People from New Orleans want to live in New Orleans. The numbers do say that people who moved to New Orleans after Katrina are more likely to want to leave. Again, not very surprising.

Many young adults reported suffering significant setbacks as a result of Hurricane Katrina. Similar to their older counterparts, more than a third (35 percent) of 18-34 year-olds reported that their general life satisfaction was lower now than before the storm, including nearly half (45 percent) of young adults in Orleans Parish.

While the above paragraph was not surprising to me, the following was:
Despite these setbacks, when it comes to recovering from the effects of the hurricane, most young adults (71 percent) say their lives have largely or almost returned to normal since Katrina. In fact, in Orleans Parish, young adults are significantly more likely than their older counterparts to say their lives are back to normal.

I don't know anyone who says that life is anywhere near back to normal. Even traffic patterns have been skewed since the storm. Housing is nearly unaffordable (when you can find it). The number of doctors in town is still way off and half the hospitals are still closed. I can't imagine such a high number saying life is getting back to normal.

Kaiser has additional resources that you can use to get more information about this survey. To me, this is a very important survey, because like Kaiser, I think the youth in New Orleans will have a large impact of the success of any New Orleans recovery.


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