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Northeast Louisiana ranks last in the state in quality of life according to new study

Published: Oct. 29, 2020 at 10:54 PM CDT
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OUACHITA PARISH, La. (KNOE) - A new study by the non-profit Measure of America revealed that Northeast Louisiana has the worst quality of life in the state.

The group measures the well-being of certain areas based on health, education and median income.

On a scale of 1 to 10, the state measured at a 4.35. In the NELA area, every parish fell below that number, with East Carroll ranking as the worst in the state with a 1.69.

“This work represents exactly the kind of data analysis necessary to see where our state is improving and where we still need to do work,” Dr. Jenee Slocum said.

Each category showed an even larger gap between white, Latino, Asian and Black communities.

Panelist Ashley Shelton says change starts by elevating the voices in these minority neighborhoods.

“What that means is that we’ve got to keep pushing to build their voices and their powers in their communities so that we can start to fix the systemic ways they are trapped in the never ending cycle of poverty and criminalization,” Shelton said.

Davante Lewis who was also a panelist on the project says we must invest into our young people before we see a shift. Northeast Louisiana currently has the highest youth disconnection and jail admissions rate.

“I think in often times we are really focused on economic development and workforce development, but we don’t actually develop the people who actually build our economy and are essential to workforce development. I think this is what this report is highlighting how we can’t leave people out of policy conversations,” Lewis said.

From there he believes we can retain talent and begin a trend in the right direction.

“When we start talking about our young population, we have to stop the brain drain. We have to stop people from going. So that means investing back into our higher education institutions, and not only investing in that but investing in society. So that’s making our communities more accessible and sustainable so people want to stay here and not leave for an Austin, a Denver or an Atlanta,” Lewis said.

For a full look at the study, click here.

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