ALICE report (2019) graph 1

Our Views: Only a few bills from disaster, working families hurting in Louisiana

Your editorial ("Working families hurting in Louisiana") highlights the valuable contribution of the United Way's report on financial hardship in Louisiana. As you point out, this research shows that high percentages of poor and low-income households are pervasive in parishes throughout the state. The United Way report also shows that ALICE ("Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed") families occur across racial-ethnic lines with, for example, 411,556 Louisiana white families below the ALICE threshold and 350,118 black families below the threshold.

High incidences of poverty and low incomes are associated with heightened serious negative health outcomes, impair quality of life, and drive-up health care costs.

Higher wages for current low-wage workers and policies such as paid family and medical leave can bolster family incomes and lead to better social and health conditions.

Phyllis Raabe

adjunct professor, Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine

New Orleans