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Census Bureau Estimates Nearly 10 Million Residents Along Gulf Coast Hit by Hurricane Katrina

An estimated 9.7 million people living in Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi experienced hurricane force winds as Katrina crashed into the Gulf Coast earlier this week, the U.S. Census Bureau reported today.

According to new data from the Census Bureau's American Community Survey, about
2.1 million people in Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi lived below the poverty level:


  • More than 16 percent of Alabamians live in poverty (706,070).
  • Additionally, almost 88,200 residents of the Mobile metro area live in poverty (16 percent).


  • One-in-five Louisiana residents (19.36 percent) live in poverty.
  • Nearly 200,000 people (194,800) in the New Orleans metro area live in poverty.
  • One-in-four residents of the city of New Orleans (23.2 percent) live in poverty.


  • More than one-in-five Mississippi residents (21.61 percent) live in poverty, or about 603,954.
  • More than 16 percent of residents in the Biloxi-Gulfport-Pascagoula metro area live in poverty.

Across the three states hardest hit by the storm, about 4.9 million people, or about 41 percent of the population, live in coastal areas. About 3.2 million people live within the imminent or occurring flood area - which encompasses southeast Louisiana (1.7 million), southern Mississippi (940,000), and southwest Alabama (420,000). Cities located along the Gulf with flooding include Biloxi and Gulfport (Miss.), Mobile (Ala.), and New Orleans (La.).

Mississippi, with a population of approximately 2.5 million (within 75 counties), has been the largest land area impacted by the massive storm. Additionally, approximately 3.2 million people have been affected in Louisiana.

Hurricane Katrina first made landfall in South Florida last week as a Category 1 Hurricane, affecting nearly 5.9 million residents.


Note: The above calculations are based on projections of the storm’s path from the National Hurricane Center, a part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Weather Service, and Census Bureau population estimates as of July 1, 2004. These data do not present a full picture of the seasonal population increases of coastal or other tourist areas.

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Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Public Information Office | PIO@census.gov | Last Revised: May 19, 2016