The latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau includes some good and bad news for Louisiana. A new chartbook from the Louisiana Budget Project analyzes the data and explains why it matters.

Louisiana’s official poverty rate decreased slightly in 2022, but still remains the second highest in the nation. The state’s uninsured rate fell to another record low and income inequality decreased slightly. But the state’s median household income, after accounting for inflation, also fell. And the national child poverty rate more than doubled last year, when taking non-cash benefits into account.

“While the latest Census data paints a somewhat complex picture, the policy conclusion is clear:  A strong federal safety net improves lives,” said Christina LeBlanc, LBP’s economic opportunity policy analyst who is the report’s primary author. “Pandemic-era Medicaid enrollment protections drove down Louisiana’s uninsured rate, but people are now losing coverage as those protections expire. And the historic reduction in child poverty in 2021 was completely reversed after Congress failed to renew the enhanced Child Tax Credit.” 

The chartbook analyzes data from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS) and the Current Population Survey (CPS), conducted each year by the Census Bureau and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Together, they provide detailed information about the economic well-being of Louisiana households, and how we compare with other states. 

“This data only adds to what we have known for years: that far too many Louisianans struggle to afford basic necessities,” LeBlanc said. “But we also know that our state government can play a critical role in lifting up struggling families by making sure everyone has access to great schools, safe communities and an adequate safety net for when they fall on hard times.”