Hopes that evacuees who fled New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina would find a better life elsewhere have been dashed and many remain jobless and poor, new research shows.When thousands were driven out of the flooded city in the summer of 2005, many went to more affluent surrounding areas and there was speculation that they could eventually benefit from living in areas with lower unemployment.
But a paper by economist Jacob Vigdor, of the US National Bureau of Economic Research, finds that the evacuees are much more likely to be unemployed and have maintained their income only through government handouts.
'Overall, these results do not paint a very promising picture,' Vigdor says. 'While it is easy to find examples of success stories among the Katrina evacuees, the more general portrait is of a societal problem that is not solving itself.' He tracked the income and working status of New Orleans residents from 2004, before the hurricane, to 2006, and found that long-term evacuees were almost 20 per cent less likely to be in work today.
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