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Thu June 20, 2013

New Orleans Tops List Of America's Fastest-Growing Cities. Why?

Forbes contributor Joel Kotkin reviews rankings for New Orleans.

New Orleans has been judged by Forbes Magazine to be America’s fastest-growing city since 2007. But that distinction may be a bit hard to pinpoint when no other American city was more affected by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

The magazine focused on 2007 for its measure of recovery from the Great Recession. Forbes contributor Joel Kotkin says Katrina recovery is a major factor, but not the only one in the ranking.

“It was different than other places in that its history was unique but it’s certainly a positive sign that you’ve had such growth since 2007," Kotkin says. "And I think New Orleans has weathered the recession better than most other places.”  

He says the city’s population has grown by 28 percent since 2007, and the newcomers aren’t all former residents or recovery workers.

“You have people in the arts. You have people looking to start a business career. There’s a big growing medical community. So it’s more than just a few high-profile IT start-ups.” 

He says the true challenge for New Orleans will be to keep growing, and that two major players must be strong.

“Energy on one hand and all of the things related to the Mississippi River on the other, because that’s where your big revenue is and that’s where you also can create more blue collar — high paid, blue collar — jobs, which sociologically is what New Orleans really needs.”

Kotkin says the two new hospitals coming on line, along with the increased film and television productions, will help power the New Orleans economy.

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