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New Orleans Ten Years After The Storm: The Kaiser Family Foundation Katrina Survey Project

The Kaiser Family Foundation/NPR Survey Of New Orleans Residents Ten Years After Katrina was conducted as part of a survey partnership between NPR and the Kaiser Family Foundation. Representatives of the two organizations worked together to develop the survey questionnaire, with NPR maintaining editorial control over its broadcasts and online reporting relating to the survey results. The Kaiser Family Foundation paid for all fieldwork costs associated with the survey. The 2015 survey builds on a series of three prior surveys conducted solely by the Kaiser Family Foundation in 2006, 2008, and 2010.

The survey was conducted June 2 – July 5, 2015, among 1,517 randomly selected adults ages 18 and older residing in Orleans Parish, Louisiana (the city of New Orleans). SSRS collaborated with Kaiser Family Foundation researchers on sample design and weighting, and supervised all phases of the fieldwork. Computer-assisted interviews conducted via landline telephone (705) and cell phone (812) were carried out in English and Spanish.

The survey is based on an overlapping dual-frame, random digit dial (RDD) design. The landline component consisted of randomly generated phone numbers in Orleans Parish, and the cell phone sampling frame consisted of all cell phone exchanges with the greater New Orleans area code. Marketing System Group (MSG) provided both the landline and cell phone samples. Respondents were asked to provide basic address information which was used to determine geographic eligibility. For the landline sample, respondents were selected by asking for the adult male or female living in the household who had the most recent birthday, based on a random rotation.

Efforts were made to maximize survey response, including: pre-testing the survey instrument to ensure it was working smoothly; completing at least 7 call attempts to any non-responsive numbers; varying the time of day and day of week for callbacks; and permitting respondents to schedule a callback at their convenience. Respondents concerned with the cost of their cell phone minutes were offered a $20 incentive to complete the survey.

The combined landline and cell phone sample was weighted to balance the sample demographics to match estimates for the adult population of Orleans Parish using data from the Census Bureau’s 2013 American Community Survey (ACS) for age-by-gender, race-by-gender, and education, as well as current patterns of telephone usage based on estimates from the CDC’s National Health Interview Survey (NHIS). The weight takes into account the fact that respondents with both a landline and cell phone have a higher probability of selection in the combined sample and also adjusts for the household size for the landline sample. All statistical tests of significance account for the effect of weighting.

The margin of sampling error including the design effect for the full sample is plus or minus 3 percentage points. Note that the survey included Orleans Parish residents in all their racial and ethnic diversity – including whites, African Americans, Hispanics, Asian Americans and those of other backgrounds – but because groups are represented based on their actual share of the total population, the only two groups large enough to be analyzed separately are African Americans and whites. The table below shows the number of respondents and margin of sampling error for the total sample and for these two key subgroups. Margins of sampling error for other subgroups may be higher, and are available by request. Note that sampling error is only one of many potential sources of error in this or any other public opinion poll.

Number of Respondents M.O.S.E
Total 2015 1,517 ±3 percentage points
African American 2015 764 ±4 percentage points
White 2015 574 ±5 percentage points
Total 2010 1,528 ±3 percentage points
Total 2008 1,294 ±3 percentage points
Total Orleans Parish 2006 901 ±5 percentage points

Kaiser Family Foundation public opinion and survey research is a charter member of the Transparency Initiative of the American Association for Public Opinion Research.


The methodology of the four surveys in this series has developed and adapted according to changing conditions on the ground in New Orleans. The 2006 survey was conducted at a time when New Orleans residents were still experiencing significant Katrina-related dislocation, a situation not conducive to a telephone-centered methodology. Instead, the 2006 survey employed an address based sample and all interviews were conducted face-to-face. By 2008, the situation had stabilized and we employed a mixed mode methodology, conducting roughly half the interviews via telephone, and the rest either in-person or via the Internet, again using an address-based sample. As the 2008 survey results suggested that only a very small proportion of the target population (2 percent or less) was without either landline or cell phone service, we switched to a dual-frame telephone methodology in 2010, similar to the methodology used for the current survey.

See full methodological information for the surveys in 2006, 2008 and 2010.



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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.