The Louisiana Health Equity Atlas is a data resource to track, measure, and make the case for health equity in the state, particularly the Shreveport, Baton Rouge, and New Orleans metro areas. The Atlas examines how much we stand to gain by addressing racial inequities and how we are currently faring on key indicators of racial economic inclusion, which are critical arenas for promoting good health. It also shares local strategies and solutions — such as freeing our cities and parishes to raise their own minimum wages, which the state currently bans them from doing — to improve our performance on these indicators and achieve health equity.
Choose a geography (default geography is the State of Louisiana):
Louisiana has been consistently growing more diverse in the last two decades.
Louisiana is undergoing a dramatic transformation that will lead to people of color becoming the majority population in the state in the coming decades. As people of color continue to grow as a share of the workforce and population, their social and economic well-being will determine the region’s success and prosperity.
All Louisianans should have access to quality, affordable homes.
Quality, stable, and affordable housing is critical for health and economic security. Living in a stable environment creates peace of mind that allows people to focus their energy on work and school. And living in places that are free of lead, asbestos, and other toxins contributes to good health.
As the single largest expense for most households, housing is also linked with economic security. Rising costs and stagnant wages mean that many are paying too much for housing, particularly low-income households and households of color. High housing costs decimate family budgets, making it difficult for people to pay for even basic necessities, put money away to prepare for emergencies, and make long-term investments. When families are forced to spend most of their income on housing, it becomes difficult to access preventative health-care services and take proper care of their health.
No Louisianan should live in poverty.
Having access to jobs that pay a living wage allows Louisianans to meet basic human needs, such as housing and food. Fair pay also allows people to save from their paychecks to put toward health care costs. With more disposable income, people can pay for childcare, buy healthy foods, and afford education for their children. For many people, a job that pays fairly also provides access to health insurance and paid sick leave.
Racial differences in employment result from differences in education, training, and experience, as well as barriers to employment for workers of color, such as English language ability, immigration status, criminal records, lack of transportation access, and racial discrimination and bias among employers and institutions. And as the low-wage sector has grown, the share of adults who are working full-time jobs but still cannot make ends meet has increased, particularly among Latinos and other workers of color. The problem of stagnant wages for low-wage workers must be addressed through multiple approaches but giving local officials the freedom to set their own local wage floors is key to that effort.
All Louisianans should be able to live in inclusive communities that value diversity and equity.
Inclusive communities present fair opportunities to all residents, regardless of race, gender, socio-economic status, or other individual factors. Diversity and equitable access to resources promote positive health and economic outcomes for all people. But due to systemic exclusion rooted in a history of racism and classicism, Louisiana is highly segregated by race and income. The state is a patchwork of concentrated advantage and disadvantage, with some neighborhoods home to good schools, bustling commercial districts, parks, and other crucial ingredients for economic mobility and health, while others have few of these elements.
- Expand access to opportunity through strategies that leverage diversity and inclusivity as assets
- Foster racial inclusion in governance
- Build multiracial alliances, coalitions, and movements that center organizations and advocates of color to advance policy change
- Dismantle barriers and build pathways to economic opportunity for boys and men of color
- Include immigrants by ensuring access to health care, driver’s licenses, and municipal ID cards regardless of immigration status; increasing language access; facilitating naturalization; and limiting the participation of local law enforcement with Immigration and Customs Enforcement
- Strengthen democracy by increasing participation of marginalized groups, expanding voting rights (and preventing rollback), and building leadership development pipelines
- Enact equitable redistricting to ensure that there is fair representation in governance
- Implement policies that ensure affordable housing for all
- Raise funds to increase the supply of affordable homes through housing trust funds and housing bonds
- Require or incentivize the inclusion of affordable housing within new developments using inclusionary zoning, community benefits agreements, density bonuses, or other tools
- Preserve affordable rental housing, particularly apartments located near job centers, public transit, and services
- Ensure strong tenant protections such as “just cause” eviction ordinances, anti-harassment policies, and rent control to prevent displacement
- Implement a renters' tax credit to help reduce rents for low-income families
- Foster equitable economic growth that lifts all Louisianans out of poverty
- Shift the state's regressive tax structure so that higher income earners and corporations pay their fair share
- Pass equal pay policies
- Repeal the state ban on local authority over worker protection policies, such as setting local wage floors and standards for vacation, sick leave, and fair scheduling
- Enact a statewide $15 minimum wage
- End wage theft and strengthen workers’ rights to organize
- Reduce employment barriers for people with records by "banning the box" asking about conviction history on job applications
- Implement equitable economic development and community wealth-building strategies such as creating new, good jobs through smart investments in infrastructure projects, investing in high-opportunity industries, helping entrepreneurs of color start and scale-up their businesses, and bringing business opportunities to residents of high-poverty neighborhoods.
- Reform the criminal fines and fees system so that we don't fund our court system by over-penalizing and unnecessarily criminalizing poor people and people of color
- Connect unemployed workers to the jobs created by new development through targeted hiring, local hiring, community workforce agreements, and community benefits agreements
- Expand the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Child Tax Credit (CTC), which are responsible for lifting millions of families and children out of poverty each year
- Provide high-quality preschool for low-income children and increase access to affordable childcare
- Develop comprehensive youth employment systems across the education, juvenile justice, and child welfare systems
Power Coalition Voting Atlas
This interactive map shows the voter registration rates for each parish, and a detailed breakdown of the turnout rates of Louisiana's most recent statewide elections. Find out how your parish votes or explore the rest of the state.
The Power Coalition and our partner organizations propose that this is a moment of opportunity—a time to become intentional and strategic, to set forth an agenda that addresses the needs of all residents using innovative policy, civic engagement, and adequate resources. The Power Coalition and its partners are seizing this moment and mobilizing over 30,000 New Orleanians around the People’s Agenda before the local elections. With that in mind, the Power Coalition seeks a commitment to the issues contained within the People’s Agenda from every candidate asking for our vote in the upcoming local elections.
This toolkit is designed for nonprofit organizations that want to educate and encourage their members about getting involved in civic and policy activities to increase organizational capacity and impact. This has been adapted from Foundations for Civic Impact: Advocacy and Civic Engagement Toolkit for Private Foundations. This toolkit also contains excerpts from the Legal Resource Guide in Innovations Best Practices from the State Voices Network.
The Louisiana Health Equity Atlas is powered by the National Equity Atlas team and produced in partnership with PolicyLink, the Program for Environmental and Regional Equity at the University of Southern California, and Louisiana community leaders.