CFNLA recently released Community Counts 2022, a data report for the Shreveport-Bossier MSA examining socioeconomic factors including- Population, Economic Well-Being, Human Capital, Health, Social Environment, and Physical Environment. Data collected is ranked in comparison to 9 peer communities, plus the Monroe MSA. CFNLA uses Community Counts to monitor trends in key economic and social indicators, to assess the impact of programs and funding, and identify areas of need in the community. The author, Dr. Dave Norris, Louisiana Tech’s Chief Research and Innovation Officer, presented the data to CFNLA board members and supporters, community members, and nonprofit representatives at Ochsner LSU Health St. Mary Medical Center on October 20, 2022.
This year’s data reveals some bright spots in our MSA’s economic output and improvements over time on other indicators. The findings include continued growth and high performance in the MSA’s per capita income and per capita real GDP, indicating a strong workforce and productivity in our regional economy. Ten-year comparisons show significant increases in the Cohort High School Graduation Rate and the percent of 3- and 4-year-olds enrolled in school. These indicators play a critical role in our community’s long-term health and success and provide a strong foundation to build upon.
Poverty continues to be the MSA’s greatest area of concern. Of all peer communities, Shreveport-Bossier holds the highest rates in every indicator assessing poverty. It is especially dire for families with small children and for the Black and African American community. Other significant areas of concern are in educational attainment and proficiency, kindergarten readiness, and physical health, all of which have strong association to the high rates of poverty. Children in poverty are at higher risks for poor academic and health outcomes. Consequently, approximately 75% of adults in poverty in the MSA have low educational attainment.
To specifically address negative data, CFNLA has taken a strategic approach to address poverty and reduce barriers to success through educational initiatives for children starting as early as birth. In 2018, CFNLA committed $1.25 million over 5 years to the SPARK Education Fund. Grants from this fund have enabled the expansion of the VOA’s Communities in Schools program to ten Caddo Parish Schools. Through CIS, 608 children have received intensive case management services focused on academics, behavior and attendance, while 5,000 students have received school-wide services. CFNLA also raised over $2 million in 2021 for the Early Childhood Education Initiative which has resulted in 224 children receiving scholarships to attend Type III early childcare education centers. By investing in early brain development, quality early education to prepare children for kindergarten, and in-school supportive services for students at risk of academic failure, CFNLA aims to interrupt the cycle of poverty in our community.
The Community Counts Executive Summary and full report are available at cfnla.org/data.