Northwest Louisiana ranks higher than state average of households struggling to make ends meet



Shreveport– 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 partnership with Louisiana United Ways. In Northwest Louisiana, 28 percent of households are ALICE and 23 percent live in poverty as defined by the Federal Poverty guidelines.

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.

“More than half of people living in Northwest Louisiana are in poverty or considered ALICE, which is above the state average,” said Dr. Bruce Willson, UWNWLA President/CEO. “Our hardworking families are faced withchallenges and financial hardship because they can’t afford their basic needs. That’s why this updated ALICE report is a crucial tool to gauge where the work and services are needed most.”

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 andhope,” said Sarah Berthelot, President/CEO of Louisiana Association of United Ways. “However, without theability to get ahead, they are vulnerable — one setback, 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.”

United Way of Northwest Louisiana operates a dozen programs in-house to improve ALICE families and individuals in the areas of health, education, financial stability and essential needs. The agency helps families save money on prescription medications through FamilyWize, issues free books monthly to children under five through Imagination Library, offers a confidential 24/7 help line to get connected to local and government resources known as 2-1-1, and offers tools to become more financially stable.

“Our financial stability efforts are critical components to better serve ALICE in our local communities,’ saidRashida Dawson, Vice President of Financial Stability at United Way of Northwest Louisiana. “We’ve done that by offering free tax preparation services, education on the eligibility requirements for the earned income tax credit (EITC), free financial counseling and connecting residents to safe and affordable bank accounts through the Bank On Northwest Louisiana initiative. In return, these programs have saved residents $579,600 in tax preparation fees and resulted over $4 million in federal refunds in 2018. Additionally, more than 4,000 residents have opened a safe and affordable bank account with local banks and credit unions since theprogram’s inception.”

The 240-page updated ALICE Report for Louisiana reveals many points of data, including:

 As per the update, 52 percent of households struggle to afford the basic necessities across Northwest Louisiana. The 2016 data shows the number of ALICE households in the ten parish region at 28 percent while the percentage of poverty is at 23 percent.

 ALICE households earn above the poverty level but below the Household Survival Budget, created forALICE. Childcare, representing a Louisiana family’s greatest expense, averaged $975 per month for two children in licensed and accredited childcare centers in the region.

 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.)

 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.

 Parish-by-parish and town-level data, and analysis of how many households are struggling.

 The newest ALICE data provides information for various family types for all 64 parishes, including married couples, single adult/one child, two adults/two school-aged children, etc. For all Louisiana ALICE data, visit:

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, ensures each ALICE Report presents unbiased data that is replicable and sensitive to local context. Working closely with United Ways, the ALICE Project seeks to equip communities with information to create innovative solutions.

14 thoughts on “Northwest Louisiana ranks higher than state average of households struggling to make ends meet

  1. The top 1% pay 46% of ALL taxes into the US Treasury. The top 5% pay 80% of all taxes paid. You’re right Holly Stave, we need fairness in taxing. The top 1% should pay 1%, not 46%.

  2. Thank you for your response, Lady Jade. Matt, this is a wealthy state and we can be compared to Texas with our oil and gas supply. Most states do not have our wealthy resources, but yet states such as Arkansas, Mississippi, and others far and near have better highways and infrastructure improvements constantly as we lie stagnant.
    What kind of work force do we have, and who supports it? Why? Where is the money going- even casino money that once went toward education? Does anyone know? Why was part of the gasoline tax being given to state troopers for salaries for years when it was dedicated to highway improvements.
    Do we still pay the sewage/drainage tax that passed years ago? Why does E 5th St. past the hospital still flood with more than a sprinkle of rain?
    Blanchard Road once relieved much traffic. One can hardly travel down it, along with dozens of other roads. Just name it: Education, Highways, Infrastructure, and most anything else- other than the weather designates us a poor state.
    We are a wealthy state. We have been taught to think of ourselves as poor, mediocre, can’t do, won’t do. We can do!. Is it simply our Louisiana politics? Officials simply don’t have the knowledge or educational background? Election of the good ole boy?? Our officials are as smart as those in other cities and states. I don’t have the solutions, but our elected officials should solve them.
    We have a problem keeping our young people with bright minds here for the future. And, people like Lady Jade stated, who want things to remain the same so they can retain the power… a sad and sickening situation; one that eventually will destroy this city and we will become second class.
    We have a goldmine here with more opportunities galore, for development than most cities in the state, but someone won’t allow it. Someone always complains “I don’t want it, I don’t like it.
    I don’t like the STOP signs all over town, but who cares? I don’t like the Christmas Festival beginning before December, but who cares?
    I want industry, companies coming in with high paying jobs attracting professional people, our NSU graduates, and I want this city and parish to grow, but who cares? People rushed to the opening of a new dollar store here in town- is that all we want for Natchitoches? Think about it.
    I’d like to have a “What-A-Burger”, but who cares? Would it be too much competition for another burger place; no more Mexican and chicken places, please. We are saturated– unless you can offer something better than the status quo.
    There is a solution. Take care of it; do it! That’s your job.

  3. Is this really any surprise to anybody? This area can’t attract any industry because, among other factors, the roads are bad and our workforce lacks manufacturing skills. If all we offer young people is a job cutting down trees, driving trucks, or processing chickens, why would they want to put an effort into their education? There are plenty of jobs at grocery stores and restaurants. So why try to do better? You all know where the real power lies in this community, and those people like things just the way they are. Whether young people stay here after graduating from high school or try to make it in Alexandria, Shreveport, or Monroe, the people that control the money and power don’t care. Maybe when there’s no one around to serve them in restaurants, cut their lawns, or harvest their soybeans, cotton, or corn it’ll matter.

  4. And people don’t understand that as long as we allow an influx of cheap labor (illegal aliens) the higher pay that these hard woking citizen’s need will never materialize. Labor is a commodity and its cost is determined by market forces.

    • Maybe illegal aliens are taking jobs from our hard-working citizens. Where are they? I never see any of them working at the stores I patronize. Not at the doctors’ offices I visit. Not at the service station where I put gas in my car. Not even where I work. But I used to see them doing maintenance work at the apartment complex where I used to live. And by the way, their work ethic was far better than the young fellows that replaced them.

      If you think there’s a company here in the parish where a lot of illegals are working, then call them out on it. If you think there’s someone using illegals on their plantation, call them out.

      • Lady Jade is right. And if illegal aliens are taking jobs, the fault lies in employers who hire them because they demand less money. Stop blaming the poor. It’s the greed of the employers that is the problem.

  5. The US needs to model on European countries, where health care is seen as a right and day care is provided free of charge. As far as the above comment–if I read it correctly, Matt is suggesting sex education needs to be taught at home, not school. Studies reveal, however, that states or districts that have serious sex ed programs in school have far lower rates of teen pregnancy and far lower rates of abortion.

    • And how is mandatory health and daycare going to be financed? You do realize that the increased tax burden will fall on those you think you’ll be helping? By the way your European solution will require massive tax increase’s on the middle class because that is where the money resides.

      • The income tax needs to become what it was meant to be, in that the more one makes, the more one pays. In Europe, we do not have the issue of massive numbers of multi-millionaires or billionaires, because the wealthy are taxed at an extremely high rate. That was the situation here before Reagan sanctified greed. Look at the tax rates in this country for the wealthy during the 50’s and 60’s, when the interstate highway system was built, schools were well-funded, and we went to the moon. The top 1% in this country need to pay their fair share–and they pay almost nothing.

  6. Louisiana is a poor state,with mediocre education and hardly and work in state.Most people work off shore ore pipeline,but as far as child care that starts with teen pregnancy and that needs to be taught at home first and not in our schools .

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