Faced with these questions, Plyer said that GNOCDC had to make use of the best data then available—flagging census blocks by their extent of flood damage (as determined by the U.S. Geological Survey and others) and aggregating small-area population statistics from the 2000 census (and its long-form sample) for flooded and nonflooded areas. This provided some useful insight on the number of people who could return to relatively undamaged (and high ground) parts of New Orleans when the city reopened. But the data—already 5 years old—were static, and so were not ideal for chronicling the city’s recovery. As the city began to repopulate, it remained an open question of how the demographics of the city were changing, and which pre-Katrina residents were returning and which were not. Accordingly, GNOCDC eagerly welcomed the ACS as it entered full-scale collection—and was greatly relieved that the region would not have to wait until the 2010 census for a good reading on New Orleans demographics.
As 2006 and 2007 ACS data became available, GNOCDC began to generate series of analyses that it has since updated on an annual basis. For example, the ACS data showed that the populace of Orleans Parish had changed strikingly along some key variables: significantly fewer people who completed a high school degree and fewer households lacking access to a vehicle, a drop in the percentage of population living in poverty, and an uptick in the percentage of foreign-born population. Plyer conceded that their analyses lack a clear base for pre- and post-Katrina comparison because the ACS data for 2004 were still being