Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Study reveals family poverty in Louisiana is getting worse

Study reveals family poverty in Louisiana is getting worse
Posted: Apr 9, 2017
Categories: Front Page, Headlines
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BATON ROUGE---New research shows that in Louisiana, 723,077 households – 42 percent – struggled to afford basic household necessities in 2014, according to the United Way ALICE Report for Louisiana released today by Louisiana Association of United Ways.

The new, updated report advances information by one year from the original report released in January 2016, 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 poverty. The United Way ALICE Report is the most comprehensive depiction of financial need in Louisiana to date, using data from a variety of sources, including the U.S. Census.

"Since releasing our first report in 2016, thousands have come to know ALICE. Throughout Louisiana, 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 to present this data and inspire action to help ALICE."

The 150-page updated report reveals:

42 percent of Louisiana households 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 at 19 percent. This percentage represents 27,000 more ALICE households struggling to make ends meet throughout Louisiana.
The average Household Survival Budget 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 poverty level set at $11,490.)
Louisiana's three largest cities — New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Shreveport — have more than 49 percent of households living below the ALICE Threshold.
Households living below the ALICE Threshold make up between 25 and 67 percent of population in every Louisiana parish. Childcare averaged $694 per month for two children in licensed and accredited childcare.

"Even with an improving economy, ALICE households continue to struggle in Louisiana, especially in areas hit by natural disasters," said Stephanie Hoopes, Ph.D., lead researcher and director of the United Way ALICE Project. "Across Louisiana, the cost of household basics continues to increase faster than the rate of inflation, making it difficult for those on a tight budget to catch up, much less get ahead."

Kelsie and Robert Belgard know the difficulties ALICE families face in making ends meet. The couple and their two young daughters live in Pineville. "The tax return this year paid our debt," Kelsie said. "After we get our taxes, we're doing pretty good for a couple of months. Then our bills start getting behind until the next year when we get our taxes again."

The Entergy Corporation serves as lead state sponsor and Louisiana representative on the National ALICE Advisory Council. As a Louisiana Friend of ALICE, JPMorgan Chase also supports this project.

"Entergy is committed to giving back, because we can only be as strong as the communities we serve," said Patty Riddlebarger, Director of Corporate Social Responsibility, Entergy Corporation. "As one of only two Fortune 500 companies headquartered in Louisiana, we take seriously our responsibility to provide continued support to the United Way ALICE 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 report, a team of researchers collaborated with a Research Advisory Committee, composed of 19 representatives from around Louisiana. Louisiana is one of the first ten states in the country to produce an ALICE study.

About Louisiana Association of United Ways
The Louisiana Association of United Ways is an association of seven regional United Ways serving 49 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.

PHOTO:
Kelsie and Robert Belgard, of Pineville, Louisiana, are an ALICE household. They are working hard to make ends meet. 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 poverty.
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