ALICE study reveals increase in percent of Louisiana households struggling to afford basics

ALICE study reveals increase in percent of Louisiana households struggling to afford basics

Updated United Way ALICE Report details size and scope of financial hardship in Louisiana


Baton Rouge, Louisiana – 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.”

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.

“The Louisiana Association of United Ways is grateful for Entergy’s continued corporate support, which makes this project possible for Louisiana,” said Berthelot. 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.

“Entergy is committed to giving back to the community, 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 ALICE Project is a road map to stronger communities and economic development. We will use this report to do our part, knowing it will take everyone working together to create a brighter future for all Louisianians."

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.

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.


Quotes from Louisiana regional United Way CEOs (also available for interviews):

Capital Area United Way
George Bell, President & CEO
Media contact: Ashley Montagnino
700 Laurel Street, Baton Rouge, LA 70802
Phone: 225-382-3502

“Now more than ever, it is critical that the ALICE population in our community has the resources they need to continue to rebuild from the flood. Our impact programs and initiatives are targeted to not only help the current ALICE population, but to prevent people who are one crisis away from becoming ALICE fall between the cracks.”


St. Landry-Evangeline United Way
Ginger LeCompte, Executive Director
311 W. Vine, Opelousas, Louisiana 70570
Phone: 337-290-2798/

“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 jumpstarted real conversations and solutions. This tool serves as the catalyst for collaboration.”


United Way of Acadiana
Margaret H. Trahan, President and CEO
Media Contact: Lisa Blackburn -  
Phone: 337-706-1230 (Lisa)

“Staying current on the status of ALICE in Louisiana is important to us at United Way of Acadiana as we sharpen our focus on removing barriers to financial success for the hardworking people of our region. Empowerment of ALICE families, including their children, is a key component to creating brighter futures and re-vitalizing our economy.”


United Way of Central Louisiana
David Britt, CEO
Phone: 318-308-0897

“Poverty rates are no longer the best measure of need. The United Way ALICE study shows that 4 out of 10 Louisianans are struggling or failing to make ends meet.”


United Way of Iberia
Corleen Aucoin Rouly, Executive Director
449 E. St. Peter Street, New Iberia, LA 70560
Phone: 337-364-0424

“The new information the updated ALICE Report contains continues the call for endless possibilities in our work, as we strive to facilitate effective changes in the lives of those we serve through our collective and individual community agendas.”


United Way of Northeast Louisiana
Janet S. Durden, President
Media Contact: Amy Scott
Phone: 318-998-9205

“The updated ALICE Report for Louisiana provides critical data about our communities and the people we serve. This expert knowledge in the ALICE Report will be used to accompany public knowledge collected during United Way of Northeast Louisiana’s 2017 Community Listening Tour, designed to gather a broad range of perspectives to identify what local people aspire for our community.”


United Way Northwest Louisiana
Bruce Willson, CEO
Phone: 318-677-2504

“The ALICE report was very well received by our governmental, business and educational sectors throughout our ten-parish service area. ALICE has given us the opportunity to put a ‘face’ on who we are focused on helping.”


United Way United Way of Southeast Louisiana
Michael Williamson, CEO
Media Contact: Missy Romagosa
Phone: 504-827-6897 (Missy)

“ALICE represents our relatives, our friends, our co-workers and people we count on everyday who strive to make ends meet. This updated report continues to shows us the harsh realities that face so many throughout Southeast Louisiana and our entire state. I hope and dream that we continue to work toward changing the future narrative and offer a hand up to ALICE. While it takes great strength and courage to do so, many hands make light work. I ask all to join us as we unite against poverty and rally to the aid of the working poor.”


United Way of Southwest Louisiana
Denise Durel, CEO
Media Contact: Taylor Henry
Phone: 337-433-1088

“The ALICE Report has provided for us a new perspective on our community. We are thrilled to continue this partnership with our colleagues across the state. Together, we can continue to put a spotlight on the families who are employed but still struggling to make ends meet.”  


St John United Way
John Olynick, Executive Director
Phone: 985-651-9118

“In this most recent ALICE report, we find that here in St. John Parish, we have 2 percent fewer ALICE households than were documented in last year’s report — unfortunately, those households did not move up out of the ALICE threshold, they have fallen into poverty. In St. John Parish, 76 percent of single female-led households and 73 percent of single male-led households are either ALICE or in poverty.”