When new people move to New Orleans, it makes us better

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New Orleans, just a few short years ago, prided itself as being the place with the highest proportion of “native born” residents of any American city. Pre-Katrina, around 80% of the population was considered native. Now, that number is changing.

According to the latest census data, 8% of our population moved here in just the last year. Pre-Katrina that number was just 3%.  We now are one of this country’s leaders when it comes to influx of outsiders moving here. And that is a very good thing.

For far too long the thinking in this city has been stagnant at best. The lack of outsiders, and more importantly, outside-the-box thinkers, has stifled our growth. The average New Orleanian is much more resistant to change than an outsider moving here tends to be.

We’ve desperately needed this outside thinking for decades.   That was our city’s strength a few generations ago. We attracted folks from outside the state and even region to come here. The reason: economic opportunity.

Since the oil bust of 1983, there hasn’t been much opportunity here in New Orleans, but that is all changing right before our eyes.

One out of 20 New Orleans residents moved here from outside the state. That’s 5% of our population. That means 5% of our population get their ideas from outside the levee system. Fresh ideas from north of I-10 coming into our city.

That’s what’s makes a city great: a vibrant economy that leads to an influx of new residents looking for a new job or opportunity.  They stay, get married, raise their family here, and contribute to our economy at the least, and to our culture at the most.

Outsiders are the key – and have always been the key – to seeing amazing growth and prosperity in New Orleans. And now the census numbers are proving we are finally again seeing an influx of outside talent for the first time in 30 years. New, fresh, winning ideas will soon follow.