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Portrait of Louisiana: Study Shines Light on Racial, Economic Disparities

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Louisiana1976 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-24-09 10:19 PM
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Portrait of Louisiana: Study Shines Light on Racial, Economic Disparities
A new study uses post-Katrina data to examine the wide and stark disparities in the life expectancy, educational attainment, and incomes of African Americans and whites in Louisiana. The report reveals that Louisiana, which ranks 49th among U.S. states on the American Human Development Index, has a population that experiences health, education, and income levels that the rest of the country surpassed three to five decades ago.

"A Portrait of Louisiana: Louisiana Human Development Report 2009," is the first-ever assessment that examines disparities by parish, race, and gender in Louisiana, and calls for action and policy change to address the acute human vulnerability that persists today. The report also underscores that while the state's pronounced social and economic gaps left African Americans particularly vulnerable during Hurricane Katrina and in its aftermath, those widespread vulnerabilities remain in place today.

As the report's authors point out at the Huffington Post:

Although improved disaster preparedness makes a replay of the worst aspects of Katrina unlikely, were a similar storm to hit the Gulf coast today, African Americans would again disproportionately lack the resources - from good health to sturdy housing to a financial cushion - to weather the crisis. People whose heads are barely above water in good times have little to draw on in an emergency.


What can address these disparities? The report notes that "recovery funds coupled with stimulus monies are providing unprecedented levels of resources that, if invested in building people's capabilities, can serve to expand the choices and opportunities of current and future generations of Louisianans." But according to the report's authors, these recovery funds must be directed in a way that targets the most vulnerable.


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