America is a mobile society. A fact demonstrated by the 1.3 million households from the Gulf Coast communities affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita that USA Today reports have dispersed to every state in the nation.
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Although not everyone displaced by Katrina had a choice in where they went, many did and their choices reflect how relocation in the United States is driven by jobs, family ties and cultural ties. USA Today’s analysis of records from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) indicates that roughly 75 percent of displaced households relocated to communities within 250 miles of New Orleans. Another 240,000 stayed within 500 miles, heading for Dallas, Houston and Atlanta among other smaller communities in those regions, USA Today reports. About 26,000 moved 750 to 1,000 miles and even more, 34,000 moved more than 1,000 miles away according to USA Today.
It isn’t only people that have left the affected areas. Jobs are gone, too. According to the Associated Press, 279,000 people are out of work as a result of Hurricane Katrina and more job losses are expected, as the effects of Hurricane Rita become known. Despite the 60,000 increase in unemployment claims related to Katrina, the overall jobless claims declined to 356,000 last week. In addition the Congressional Budget Office
(CBO) believes that reconstruction project hiring early in 2006 will result in the hurricanes having a minimal effect on jobs nationwide, according to the Associated Press.
What remains to be seen, is whether those who have found jobs, either permanent or temporary, in other communities and states will remain there or return to the Gulf Coast region.