United Way, Data Center launch Prosperity Dashboard

Data visualization tool depicts regional poverty, stability; Presents initial release of LDOC data on returning citizens by parish

NEW ORLEANS – United Way of Southeast Louisiana (UWSELA), in partnership with The Data Center, launched Thursday the United Way Prosperity Dashboard – an online data visualization tool which presents community indicators of poverty across UWSELA’s seven-parish service area, including Jefferson, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa and Washington parishes. 

“We’re excited to partner with the most trusted resource for data about Southeast Louisiana to provide a new tool for the public to understand the stability of our region,” said Michael Williamson, UWSELA President and CEO. “The Prosperity Dashboard depicts a clear picture of which communities are struggling in Southeast Louisiana and the necessary data to inform a path forward toward a more resilient, prosperous and equitable region.”
To stabilize communities in Southeast Louisiana, all households need the skills, resources and opportunities to meet basic needs; the social, educational and financial assets to create a better future; a high quality of life; and safe, thriving, equitable communities.
The Dashboard includes multiple datasets, sourced and analyzed by The Data Center, in four categories that address the needs listed above and outlined by UWSELA’s Blueprint for Prosperity.
  • Stability Today: employment rates, poverty rates, child poverty rates, percent of households earning below a living wage and industry employment and wages
  • Prosperity Tomorrow: homeownership rates, percent of babies born with low birth weight, achievement level of third graders in English language arts (ELA) and high school graduation rates
  • Personal Wellness: percent of the population under 65 without health insurance, percent of individuals who report frequent mental distress and percent of vulnerable populations receiving high-quality care
  • Vibrant Communities: number of people released from Louisiana prisons by parish of conviction, number of individuals experiencing severe housing problems and voter turnout rates
Users can examine each dataset, comparing it to regional and state averages, by selecting a single indicator or viewing the individual parish pages. The Dashboard applies an equity lens with data disaggregated by race, gender and age, as available.

“When we developed the Blueprint in 2014, we knew we wanted to provide a data tool to inform the community about the issues of poverty,” said Mary Ambrose, UWSELA Chief Impact Officer. “Today we’re thrilled to see the Prosperity Dashboard come to life as a free resource for the public that offers equitable access to data which, in some cases, has been historically difficult to obtain.”

The data from the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections on returning citizens are publically available for the first time since the 2017 implementation of the bipartisan 10-bill package aimed at reducing the number of incarcerated individuals and reforming the criminal justice system in Louisiana.  
Examples of additional data sources include the American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau, Center for Disease Control, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, County Health Rankings and Roadmaps, and Louisiana Department of Education.
“For 20 years, United Way of Southeast Louisiana has been an ally to The Data Center in our mission to democratize data, and we are proud today to further that mission by animating UWSELA’s Blueprint for Prosperity with the rigorous data and analysis in the Prosperity Dashboard,” said Lamar Gardere, The Data Center Executive Director. “Decision-makers need reliable and objective data in order to lead our region toward greater prosperity, and we expect the Prosperity Dashboard to be a tool for good decisionmaking for years to come.”
UWSELA and The Data Center selected indicators that can be collected and displayed on the parish level, are actionable and have an impact on the prosperity of our region. The Prosperity Dashboard has also been designed to be easily and quickly updated as new data becomes available.
“We’re looking forward to employing the Prosperity Dashboard with our community partners, especially in the reentry space, to create collaborative strategies for eradicating poverty – United Way’s vision for Southeast Louisiana,” said Ed Krause, UWSELA Chief Technology Officer. “And we encourage all service providers, policymakers and leaders to utilize its data to inform strategic, programmatic and financial decisions so they can accelerate their impact and help us create a more stable, more prosperous region for all.”
About United Way of Southeast Louisiana
For 95 years, United Way of Southeast Louisiana has been a leader and trusted partner in improving lives and making a lasting difference. We fight to eradicate poverty by preparing people for quality jobs, growing incomes, and affording better health and education opportunities throughout Jefferson, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, and Washington parishes. We have a bold vision of equitable communities where all individuals are healthy, educated, and financially stable - and we have a plan. United Way of Southeast Louisiana's Blueprint for Prosperity guides all strategic investments in programs, initiatives, collaborations, volunteerism, and advocacy aimed at tackling poverty. For more information, please visit UnitedWaySELA.org. Find us on social: @UnitedWaySELA. 
About The Data Center
The Data Center is the most trusted resource for data about greater New Orleans and Southeast Louisiana. Since 1997, The Data Center has been an objective partner in bringing reliable, thoroughly researched data to conversations about building a more prosperous, inclusive, and sustainable region. The Data Center became the local authority for tracking post-Katrina recovery with The New Orleans Index, developed in partnership with the Brookings Institution, and has continued to be a leading neutral and independent voice on the issues that are most pressing to greater New Orleans and Southeast Louisiana.