The Displaced New Orleans Residents Survey (DNORS)

The Displaced New Orleans Residents Survey (DNORS) is a study of individuals and households that resided in the City of New Orleans, Louisiana, in August 2005, just before Hurricane Katrina struck (on August 29, 2005). Fieldwork for the study was conducted between mid-2009 and mid-2010. The aim of the study was to collect data for analyzing the location, living arrangements, health, and well being of residents who were displaced by the hurricane.

DNORS drew a sample of pre-Katrina dwellings of the city, identified the pre-storm residents of these dwellings, and tracked and interviewed these people wherever they lived at the time of the survey. In particular, DNORS interviewed pre-Katrina residents of New Orleans who had returned to the city as well as residents who had resettled elsewhere.

The survey interviewed 1,380 pre-Katrina households covering 3,760 residents, with detailed individual interviews conducted with 1,761 selected respondents.

The DNORS study builds on an earlier pilot study, the Displaced New Orleans Residents Pilot Survey (DNORPS), which was fielded in the fall of 2006. Documents describing DNORPS and initial analyses using that data can be found in the Publications section of this website.

We currently offer Public Use Data and Restricted Use Data for the DNORS, and, for historical purposes, the earlier DNORPS.

The DNORS was conducted by RAND, a non-profit research organization in Santa Monica, California, with fieldwork conducted by the University of Michigan Survey Research Center.

Important Contributions from DNORS

The DNORS incorporated major new innovations and extensions to achieve higher tracking and response rates than in the pilot. For example, tracking incorporated extensive in-person, on-the-ground efforts that sought information from neighbors, community organizations, civic groups, local and state government agencies, and social, family, and work networks to locate and interview displaced residents.

This project made a number of important contributions:

  • Study results provided valuable information on the whereabouts, health, and well being of children and families who lived in New Orleans at the time of Hurricane Katrina, including information on short- and medium-term outcomes over a period of four years following the hurricane.
  • Results from the survey provided valuable information to policymakers, researchers, and the public interested in understanding the scope and consequences of Hurricane Katrina's effects on the population of New Orleans.
  • This survey data supported detailed analyses of the causes and consequences of outcomes related to Hurricane Katrina. For instance, the study provided detailed information for examining disparities in well-being by race/ethnicity and socioeconomic status.
  • Finally, this study advanced the development of scientific methods, both conceptual and practical, for studying populations that have undergone mass evacuations due to natural and human-caused disasters.

Background on DNORS

Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans, Louisiana, on the morning of August 29, 2005. The magnitude of the displacement that resulted was immense: The city's entire population of 455,000 was forced to leave the city and resettle, which some did temporarily and other permanently. The toll from the hurricane was enormous and continues to unfold. Many people had family members or friends who died or were injured, who had homes that were severely damaged or destroyed, who lost their jobs or businesses, and who had their lives severely disrupted.

Although this event occurred in 2005, research on many major topics of scientific and policy interest continue to be hampered by a lack of appropriate data. A critical need in assessing the impact of Hurricane Katrina and in planning a recovery is to obtain representative data on the whereabouts, status, health, and well being of displaced residents. The dispersion of residents makes this an extremely challenging undertaking; however, the value of these data for researchers, policymakers, and the public is extraordinarily high.

The DNORS was funded by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD, R01 HD059106 and R01-HD059106-S1) to conduct a survey of New Orleans residents displaced by Hurricane Katrina, to analyze the results, and, in collaboration with Data Sharing for Demographic Research (DSDR) at the University of Michigan (U24 HD048404) to make the data publicly available to other researchers. Fieldwork began in mid-2009 and ended in mid-2010.

Contact Us

For more information about DNORS or DNORPS, please .

Specific questions regarding the DNORS data and documentation should be sent to our data support email address