42% of La. households struggle to afford the basics
New research shows that in Louisiana, 723,077 households – fully 42 percent – struggled to afford basic household necessities in 2014, according to the United Way ALICE Report for Louisiana released today by the Louisiana Association of United Ways.
The original United Way ALICE Report Update for Louisiana was released in January 2016. The new, updated version advances information by one year, updating data sources from 2013 to 2014. ALICE, which stands for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed, places a spotlight on a large population of hardworking residents who work at low-paying jobs, have little or no savings, and are one emergency from falling into poverty.
The United Way ALICE Report is the most comprehensive depiction of financial need in the state to date, using data from a variety of sources, including the U.S. Census. The report includes measures, based on present-day income levels and expenses that show how many Louisiana workers are struggling financially, and why.
“Since the release of our first report in 2016, thousands have come to know ALICE. Throughout the state, new partnerships, often based on this information, have been formed to better help hard workers struggling to make ends meet,” said Sarah Berthelot, president/CEO of Louisiana Association of United Ways. “The Louisiana Association of United Ways is honored to work alongside 11 Louisiana United Ways from across the state to present this data and inspire action to help ALICE.”
Ginger LeCompte, executive director of the St. Landry-Evangeline United Way, said, “Since the initial release of the ALICE report, our community leaders have referred to it time and again when discussing the many issues facing our community. The report has helped define issues and jump-started real conversations and solutions. This tool serves as the catalyst for collaboration.”
The 150-page updated United Way ALICE Report for Louisiana reveals many points of data, including:
As per the update, 42 percent of households struggle to afford the basic necessities and live below the ALICE Threshold — 23 percent of Louisiana households are ALICE and 19 percent live in poverty. The 2014 data increases the number of ALICE household by 2 percent while the percentage of poverty remains flat at 19 percent. This percentage represents 27,000 more ALICE households struggling to make ends meet throughout the state.
The average Household Survival Budget (calculation created for the ALICE report) for a Louisiana family of four increased to $43,032 — nearly double the federally recognized family poverty level of $23,550. (Single Household Survival Budget is $16,212 with the poverty level set at $11,490.)
Louisiana’s three largest cities — New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Shreveport — each have more than 49 percent of households living below the ALICE Threshold.
Households living below the ALICE Threshold make up between 25 percent and 67 percent of the population in every parish in Louisiana. (These households earn above the poverty level but below the Household Survival Budget.) Childcare, representing a Louisiana family’s greatest expense, averaged $694 per month for two children in licensed and accredited childcare.
The United Way ALICE Report provides parish-by-parish and town-level data, and analysis of how many households are struggling.
St. Landry Parish 2014
Number of households: 28,739.
Median household income, $27,753 (state average, $44,555).
Unemployment rate: 6.8 percent (state average, 7.5 percent).
ALICE households: 29 percent (state average, 23 percent.
Poverty households: 31 percent (state average 19 percent).
In Eunice, 56 percent of the 3,965 households rank ALICE and poverty.
Acadia Parish 2014
Number of households: 22,788.
Median household income: $37,684.
Unemployment rate: 9.4 percent.
ALICE households: 23 percent.
Poverty households: 21 percent.
In Crowley, 55 percent of the 4,832 households rank ALICE and poverty.
Evangeline Parish 2014
Number of households: 12,053.
Median household income: $30,323.
Unemployment rate: 8.6 percent.
ALICE households: 23 percent.
Poverty households: 27 percent.
In Ville Platte, 68 percent of 2,796 households rank ALICE and poverty.
Berthelot said, “The Louisiana Association of United Ways is grateful for Entergy’s continued corporate support, which makes this project possible for Louisiana.”
The Entergy Corporation serves as the lead state sponsor and the Louisiana representative on the National ALICE Advisory Council. As a Louisiana Friend of ALICE, JPMorgan Chase is also a supporter of this project.
The United Way ALICE Report for Louisiana provides high-quality, research-based information to foster a better understanding of who is struggling in our communities. To produce the United Way ALICE Report for Louisiana, a team of researchers collaborated with a Research Advisory Committee, composed of 19 representatives from around Louisiana, who advised and contributed to the report. Louisiana is one of the first ten states in the country to produce an ALICE study. This collaborative model, practiced in each state, ensures each United Way ALICE Report presents unbiased data that is replicable, easily updated on a regular basis, and sensitive to local context. Working closely with United Ways, the United Way ALICE Project seeks to equip communities with information to create innovative solutions.
The Louisiana Association of United Ways is an association of seven regional United Ways serving 49 parishes throughout Louisiana.