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.
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.