New Orleans, LA – The Community Data Center says more people in New Orleans are getting high school diplomas. Study author Elaine Ortiz says numbers reflect changes from the 2000 Census to information gathered last year and released this month. She says the number of adults with less than a high school degree fell from 25 percent to 16 percent, which is almost as low as the national average. But she says it's not paying off in household income.
"The poverty rate is now what it was 10 years ago."
In New Orleans itself, the 2010 poverty rate of 27 percent is about the same as it was in 1999 after falling to 21 percent in 2007. City leaders have been contending that recovery funding pumped in after Hurricane Katrina gave New Orleans an economic buffer. But the report isn't so sure.
"I think it's really showing that the recession has made its mark on the city and on the metro area as a whole."
Ortiz says there has been a sharp increase in the percentage of adults with bachelor degrees in New Orleans; 33 percent of those 25 and older in 2010 - up from 26 percent in 2000. She says those numbers could improve future economic gains.
For WWNO, I'm Eileen Fleming