Study: New Orleans is half the city it was

A survey finds the population of New Orleans is less than half of what it was before Hurricane Katrina.

The door-to-door survey finds that some 187,000 people are living in Orleans Parish. That's about 41 percent of the 454,000 believed to be living there before Katrina hit.

A spokeswoman for the Louisiana Recovery Authority calls the results "the definitive, most precise set of numbers we've seen."

Population estimates have ranged widely for New Orleans.

For example, a recent report by a local demographer estimated there were about 230,000 people. Mayor Ray Nagin has cited a slightly higher figure, and last month said he believed the city was on track to reach 300,000 people by year's end.

The results are meant to help planners determine where clinics, schools, transit systems and other key infrastructure should be placed.