Washington, D.C. — A new report released today by the Center for American Progress Action Fund finds that Louisiana is doing worse than most states in several indicators of poverty, including the overall poverty rate, the child poverty rate, health insurance coverage, and income inequality. The report also ranks Louisiana’s gender wage gap the worst in the nation.
CAP Action’s report outlines several policy recommendations to reduce the poverty rate in Louisiana, including raising the minimum wage and expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.
In 2013, the national poverty rate remained unacceptably high at 14.5 percent, with some 45.3 million Americans living in poverty. In Louisiana, 19.8 percent of people had incomes below the poverty line—$23,834 annually for a family of four—in 2013, ranking the state 49th in the nation.
“Even though our economy is growing again, far too many families are not seeing any benefits. This is especially true for the millions of Louisiana residents living in poverty,” said Melissa Boteach, Vice President of Half in Ten at the Center for American Progress Action Fund. “Through common-sense policies such as raising the minimum wage and expanding Medicaid, Louisiana lawmakers have the power to reduce poverty and provide economic security and opportunity to more Louisiana workers and their families.”
Of the 15 poverty indicators tracked in the report, Louisiana ranked in the bottom half of the country for 12 indicators, including:
- 49th in the nation for income inequality. The share of income going to the top 20 percent of households in Louisiana was 18.5 times that going to the bottom 20 percent of households in 2013.
- 48th in the nation for child poverty rate. More than one in four children younger than age 18 in Louisiana lived below the poverty line in 2013.
- 43rd in the nation for hunger and food insecurity. From 2011 to 2013, an average of 16.5 percent of households in Louisiana were food insecure, meaning that they experienced difficulty providing enough food due to lack of money or resources during some point of the year.
- 32nd in the nation for lack of health insurance coverage. More than one in four people younger than age 65 and below 138 percent of the poverty line in Louisiana did not have health insurance at any time in 2013.
Read the report: State of the States Report 2014: Local Momentum for National Change to Cut Poverty and Inequality by Sarah Baron
Read the Louisiana fact sheet here
Related resources: Building Local Momentum for National Change: Half in Ten Annual Poverty and Inequality Indicators Report by Melissa Boteach, Shawn Fremstad, Erik Stegman, Sarah Baron, and Rebecca Vallas
For more information or to speak to an expert, contact Chelsea Kiene at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202.478.5328.