BATON ROUGE, La., Jan. 8, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- New research shows that in Louisiana, 828,255 households — 48 percent — could not afford basic needs such as housing, child care, food, transportation, health care, and technology in 2016, according to the ALICE Report for Louisiana released today by the Louisiana Association of United Ways, in collaboration with Louisiana United Ways.
Louisiana's percentage of ALICE households puts it at the third highest percentage of all 50 states.
The original ALICE Report Update for Louisiana was released in January 2016, with an additional update released in 2017. The new report advances that information by two years, updating data sources from 2014 to 2016. 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 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.
"There are so many Louisiana families walking their personal economic tight ropes with courage, grit and hope," said Sarah Berthelot, President/CEO of Louisiana Association of United Ways. "However, without the ability to get ahead, they are vulnerable — one set back, one illness, one natural disaster or even one car repair can take away any and all security ALICE has worked to sustain. Until the arrival of the ALICE Project in Louisiana, these hardworking Louisianans were an invisible group."
The 240-page updated ALICE Report for Louisiana reveals many points of data, including:
- As per the update, 48 percent of households struggle to afford the basic necessities and live below the ALICE Threshold — Nearly one in three (29 percent) of Louisiana households are ALICE and 19 percent live in poverty. The 2016 data increases the number of ALICE household by 6 percent while the percentage of poverty remains flat at 19 percent. This percentage represents 105,178 more ALICE households struggling to make ends meet throughout the state.
- Households living below the ALICE Threshold make up between 27 percent and 75 percent of the population in every parish in Louisiana. (These households earn above the poverty level but below the Household Survival Budget.)
- The average Household Survival Budget (calculation created for the ALICE report) for a Louisiana family of four increased to $53,988 — significantly higher than the federally recognized family poverty level of $24,300. (Single Household Survival Budget is $19,548 with the poverty level set at $11,880.)
- Childcare, representing a Louisiana family's greatest expense, averaged $996 per month for two children in licensed and accredited childcare — a $302 increase since our 2014 ALICE update, which reported an average cost of $694 for quality childcare for two children. As of this year, technology expenses (smart phones) are included in the ALICE survival budget. This expense was not included in previous ALICE budget calculations.
- The newest ALICE data provides information for various family types for all 64 parishes, including married couple, single adult/one child, two adults/two school-aged children, etc. For all Louisiana ALICE data, visit https://www.launitedway.org/ALICE
"This ALICE Report for Louisiana is made possible by generous corporate support from the Entergy Corporation," said Berthelot. "As our sponsor and as a National ALICE Advisory Council member, Entergy supports ALICE research in our state and around the nation. The Louisiana Association of United Ways is also grateful for the partnership of Louisiana United Ways and the countless governmental, nonprofit and business partners who work to find ways to help ALICE."
"Our team at Entergy is as concerned about keeping power flowing for customers who are struggling financially as we are for those who are without power because of a storm or other issue," said Patty Riddlebarger, Vice President Corporate Social Responsibility, Entergy Corporation. "What that means is a commitment to attack the root causes of poverty, which we took on as a corporate cause with the formation of the low-income customer service initiative."
Stephanie Hoopes, Ph.D., based in New Jersey, is the director of the ALICE Project. She says the 2016 data shows that ALICE households across Louisiana are being squeezed even tighter.
"Despite low unemployment, wages are not keeping pace with the rising cost of necessities, squeezing ALICE households across Louisiana," Hoopes said. "These families are particularly vulnerable to the state's cycle of natural disasters, which continually compromise their economic recovery."
The 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 ALICE Report for Louisiana, a team of researchers for the ALICE Project collaborated with a Research Advisory Committee, composed of 24 representatives from around Louisiana, who advised and contributed to the report. This collaborative model, practiced in each state, ensures each 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 ALICE Project seeks to equip communities with information to create innovative solutions.
About Louisiana Association of United Ways
The Louisiana Association of United Ways is an association of nine regional United Ways serving 53 parishes throughout Louisiana. Our mission is to integrate action and resources for the common good. We work across our communities to tackle challenges that affect individuals, families and whole communities — challenges that are ultimately bigger than any of us and impact our entire state. We are part of a global network of more than 1,800 United Ways, servicing communities in 41 countries.
Quotes from regional CEOs and Research Advisory Committee members are available on request. To arrange an interview, please email Jan Risher at [email protected].
State contact: Sarah Berthelot
Louisiana Association of United Ways
Media contact: Jan Risher 337-230-8214
SOURCE Louisiana Association of United Ways