Louisiana Health Equity Atlas

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.

Why health equity matters.

A thriving state begins with healthy residents. Yet not all Louisiana residents enjoy good health, particularly those who have lower incomes, are people of color, or live in disinvested neighborhoods. These health disparities are not natural or inevitable, but stem from inequitable access to opportunities and resources that are proven to promote health, such as safe and affordable housing, good jobs, quality education, and inclusive neighborhoods. Taking action to ensure everyone can access these necessary ingredients for good health is critical for our state’s future. If we can achieve health equity—when everyone has a just and fair opportunity to be as healthy as possible—we can build a stronger, more inclusive, and more prosperous Louisiana for all.

Choose a geography (default geography is the State of Louisiana):

  • Louisiana
  • Shreveport, LA Metro Area
  • Baton Rouge, LA Metro Area
  • New Orleans, LA Metro Area

What is at stake?

The Louisiana economy could have been $45.1 billion larger in 2015 alone if there had been no racial gaps in income.

How did we get here?

Not everyone is benefitting from economic growth.


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.

Inclusive communities

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.

What can we do?

Advance policy strategies to further social and health equity in Louisiana.

  1. Expand access to opportunity through strategies that leverage diversity and inclusivity as assets

  2. Implement policies that ensure affordable housing for all

  3. Foster equitable economic growth that lifts all Louisianans out of poverty

How do we win?

Local coalitions and community advocates will lead the way in creating an equitable Louisiana.

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 People’s Agenda

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.

Advocacy and Civic Engagement Toolkit

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.

Other resource

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.