On October 10th, the Community Foundation presented its 11th annual data report, Community Counts, to a packed house of civic leaders, nonprofit representatives, and engaged citizens. Each year data for the Shreveport-Bossier Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) is collected and tracked in six categories – Population, Economics, Human Capital, Health, Social Environment, and Physical Environment – and then measured against 10 comparative communities. Here are some key takeaways:
- Population – From 2007 to 2017 the Shreveport-Bossier MSA saw a 14.4% growth in population.
- Economics – While the Shreveport-Bossier MSA saw growth in median household income from 2006 to 2015, that trend reversed in 2016 and 2017. In 2007 the median household income was $38,975 and ended slightly lower in 2017 at $38,627.
- Poverty – The percent of families below the poverty line dropped from 21% in 2007 to 18.6% in 2017. However, in 2017 still more than one third (36.7%) of families with children under 5 were living in poverty. Children in poverty are at a greater risk of poor academic performance, dropping out of school, behavioral or physical problems, and developmental delays. Thus, programs that assist in removing the barriers to educational success that exist for children in poverty are a funding priority for CFNLA.
- Education – In 2015, 39.8% of 3- and 4-year-old children were enrolled in school. That number increased significantly to 49.7% in 2016 and then to 59.1% in 2017. As 90% of a child’s brain develops before age 5, early childhood learning has lifelong positive impacts, including allowing children to begin school “kindergarten ready,” which in turn increases their likelihood for educational success and high school graduation. This increase in preschool enrollment is a promising sign for the future of Shreveport-Bossier.
- Health – The percent of uninsured citizens in Shreveport-Bossier is at a record low of 7.3% (2017), down from 17.1% ten years prior. Health insurance is the first step toward better health outcomes in North Louisiana.
Low birthweight is the percentage of live births in which an infant weighs less than 5 pounds, 8 ounces. The overall low birth rate in Louisiana of 10.9% is one of the highest in the nation. The Shreveport-Bossier MSA’s rate in 2017 was even higher at 13.3%. Low birthweight can result in cognitive development problems and even an overall shorter lifespan. This is a preventable health crisis that should be addressed as a high community priority.
Accurate data is essential to help our community set priorities, track progress, formulate policy, and allocate resources. To view the executive summary and full report, visit cfnla.org/data.