Population after Katrina

By | July 22, 2008

While analyzing a bunch of US Census data at work to build out an even more comprehensive geographical database for Voxify’s speech apps, I ran into an unexpected error. I wrote a Python script to parse a CSV file that contains population data from 2000 and estimates for 2001-2007. The code extracted the data I was interested in, cleaned it up to remove extraneous data and inserted it into a MySQL database. But, my program got an error when it was inserting the population data for Bay St. Louis, Mississippi.

Apparently, the US Census team was so uncertain of the post Katrina population in Bay St. Louis they used a “Z” in place of a number for 2006 and 2007. They did the same for Pass Christian, Long Beach and Waveland. So then I decided to look at their estimates for nearby cities.

City 2005 2006 2007
Biloxi 50,614 44,624 44,292
Gulfport 73,340 65,296 66,271
D’Iberville 8267 7285 7423
Ocean Springs 17,573 16,813 17,246
New Orleans 453,726 210,198 239,124

The population decrease in New Orleans has been written about quite a bit, but it is still startling to see the numbers next to each other. I don’t remember seeing population data for the Mississippi coastal cities.

I had been looking for an excuse to play around with the Google Charts API. Here’s a graph of the population decreases for some of the cities.

Population decrease for Gulfport, Biloxi, and Ocean Springs

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