By Dan Shapley
Population increased this year, but still stands at just 58% of pre-Katrina level
Some call them the first climate change refugees -- the millions that fled New Orleans and the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina devastated the region in 2005. But new population figures released today show that the human spirit is resilient, as New Orleans continued to regain from its losses. The city's population grew by 17.5% between July 2005 and July 2006, the new statistics show. However, at 262,000, the city's population remains at just 58% of what it was before the hurricane struck. Overall, the U.S. population centers are shifting south. Seven of the 10 largest cities are within 500 miles of the Mexico border, whereas in 1910, the largest cities were within that distance from the Canadian border.