Population at 60% of pre-Katrina number

? New Orleans’ population has grown to about 273,600 people, or 60 percent of the number here before Hurricane Katrina hit nearly two years ago, a new report shows.

Both the report from demographer Greg Rigamer and an earlier household estimate by the Greater New Orleans Community Data Center show the city’s population continuing to rebound. But Rigamer said he expects it will be “many years” before New Orleans hits its July 2005 population of 455,000 – if it ever does.

“Everything is kind of happening in a natural progression,” he said, “and when I say natural, I mean slow.”