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Press Release

For Immediate Release: August 28, 2009
Contact: NCHS Office of Communication
(301) 458-4800



Births Decline in Most Areas Hardest Hit by Hurricane Katrina

Births in most of the Gulf Coast areas hit by Hurricane Katrina plunged in the 12 months following the deadly storm, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The report from CDC′s National Center for Health Statistics, “The Effect of Hurricane Katrina: Births in the U.S. Gulf Coast Region, Before and After the Storm,” examines birth certificates for the 12 months preceding Katrina and the 12 months following the storm, (Aug. 29, 2004 to Aug. 28, 2006). The data cover residents in the 91 Federal Emergency Management Agency- designated counties and parishes of Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi.

Special detailed data are presented in an interactive map for 14 selected FEMA-designated coastal counties and parishes within a 100 mile radius of the storm′s path (http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/pressroom/data/map/HurricaneMap.htm).

Key findings include:

  • The number of births in the 14 counties and parishes decreased 19 percent in the year after Katrina compared with the previous year. Births decreased by 30 percent for the selected parishes in Louisiana and 13 percent for the selected counties in Mississippi but increased by 6 percent for the selected counties in Alabama.
  • The number of births to non-Hispanic black women in the selected parishes of Louisiana fell substantially (51 percent) after the storm. Births were also down for non-Hispanic white (14 percent), Hispanic (21 percent), and Asian/Pacific Islander (34 percent) women.
  • In Orleans Parish, the central parish of New Orleans, the proportion of births to non-Hispanic black women fell from 78 percent of total births before the storm to 60 percent in the year after Katrina hit.
  • The proportion of births to teens for these 14 selected counties and parishes were unchanged after the storm, except in the selected parishes in Louisiana, where they decreased 11 percent.
  • Cesarean deliveries for the 14 selected counties and parishes rose by 10 percent in the Alabama and Mississippi counties and 6 percent in the Louisiana parishes.

The full report is available at www.cdc.gov/nchs.

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