Nearly seven years after Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans is now the fastest-growing major city in the U.S., according to new data from the U.S. Census Bureau. The population of the Big Easy grew nearly 5% from April 2010 to July 2011 — more than six times the national average of 0.73%.
(PHOTOS: The Scars of Katrina)
New Orleans suffered a massive population loss following Hurricane Katrina in August 2005, which devastated the city. Because it lost so many people it only needed modest gains to become one of the fastest-growing cities in the nation since 2007, reports Bloomberg News. Billions of dollars for reconstruction from the federal government and a bustling tourism sector have helped the city continue its recovery. Last year, New Orleans saw a record year for tourism: a study found that 8.75 million visitors spent an all-time-record $5.47 billion in 2011. Despite the influx of money and people, though, the city is still only at 80% of its pre-Katrina population, with 360,740 currently living in the Big Easy.
Meanwhile, the Texan cities of Austin and Plano are the second and third fastest-growing American cities, sporting 3.8% growth each.