Forty percent of Louisiana’s families can’t afford the basic cost of living, according to a new report from the Louisiana Association of United Ways.

The Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed Report, known as ALICE, places a spotlight on a large population of hardworking residents who are struggling to make ends meet, according to the association. These families have little or no savings and are just one emergency away from falling into poverty.

In Louisiana, 695,719 households aren’t earning enough to get by, the report says. In East Baton Rouge Parish, 35 percent of families fall into the ALICE and poverty levels; in Orleans Parish, 48 percent; in Jefferson Parish, 41 percent; in Lafayette Parish, 32 percent.

The report shows how many Louisiana workers struggle financially and why.

“We believe this report could be placed in the center of tables across Louisiana to inspire the right kind of conversations — in non-profits, churches, businesses, municipal and state government offices, even on the dinner table in homes,” said Sarah Berthelot, president and chief executive officer of the Louisiana Association of United Ways.

Although there is no single fix for the problem, the report’s information can help everyone make more informed decisions to create policies, programs and priorities to improve the lives of the working poor, Berthelot said.

The 263-page report includes parish-by-parish and town-level data. To download the report, go to