Forty-two percent of Louisiana households cannot afford their basic needs, according to a report from United Way.

The report finds 23 percent of those live above the poverty level but are considered Asset Limited Income Constrained Employed, or ALICE. President of the Louisiana Association of United Ways, Sarah Berthelot says that’s a 2 percent increase from their first report.

“ALICE families live paycheck to paycheck, most often with nothing left to navigate unexpected events such as an illness, car care, or job loss,” Berthelot said.

Dr. Stephanie Hoopes of Rutgers University authored the report. She says we’re seeing an increase in ALICE families in Louisiana because the cost of living is going up, but inflation is not. She says this means affording basic needs is becoming more of a challenge.

“We saw that increase from 2007 to 2014 increase by 27 percent. The rate of inflation at that time was 14 percent,” Hoopes said.

The report finds households living below the ALICE threshold make up at least 25 percent of the population in every parish. In New Orleans, Baton Rouge, and Shreveport, more than 49 percent of households struggle to make ends meet. Berthelot hopes these findings can lead to change.

“We believe the ALICE report can inspire the right kind of conversations in nonprofits, churches, businesses, municipal and state government offices, even around dinner tables in homes,” Berthelot said.

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