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Census Data Shows New Orleans Population Loss Highest in US

New statistics show the New Orleans metropolitan area suffered the nation's greatest population loss in the past five years, while cities taking in large numbers of people displaced by Hurricane Katrina showed the greatest gains.

The U.S. Census Bureau reported Thursday that New Orleans lost about 22 percent of its population - or nearly 300,000 people - between 2000 and 2006. The Gulfport-Biloxi area in Mississippi also had high losses - more than 18,000 people, or seven percent of its population.

Both areas were devastated by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, forcing many residents to migrate to other cities such as Atlanta, Georgia; and Houston and Dallas in Texas. Those three cities were ranked by the census bureau as the nation's three fastest-growing in the past five years.

Meanwhile, New Orleans city officials are trying to cope with rising crime rates. Police say eight people were murdered between Friday and Monday. Authorities say 49 people were murdered in New Orleans during the first three months of 2007, compared with just 17 in the same period in 2006.

National Guard troops and Louisiana state troopers are in the city to help the police department patrol the streets.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.