Fewer than 190,000 people are living in New Orleans a year after Hurricane Katrina, a door-to-door survey released Thursday showed.

The population of 187,525 is about 41 per cent of the 454,000 people estimated to be living in Orleans Parish before the storm hit on Aug. 29, 2005.

A spokeswoman for the Louisiana Recovery Authority, Natalie Wyeth, called the results "the definitive, most precise set of numbers we've seen."

The survey was conducted for the authority and the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals by the Louisiana Public Health Institute.

Population estimates have ranged widely for New Orleans.

For example, a recent report by a local demographer estimated there were about 230,000 people. Mayor Ray Nagin has cited a slightly higher figure and last month said he believed the city was on track to reach 300,000 people by year's end.

The results are meant to help planners determine where clinics, schools, transit systems and other key infrastructure should be placed, Wyeth said.