A report released Thursday by the LSU/Tulane Early Childhood Policy and Data Center reveals 35 percent of children under five in Louisiana live in parishes with moderate-to-high risk of factors that could impede their development.
The study shows that 55 of Louisiana’s 64 parishes scored high on at least one of the 11 economic, health and education risk factors measured in the study.
Director of the LSU Public Policy Research Lab Kirby Goidel said in a statement that these findings reveal that early childhood risk is widespread. He said the data also shows the nature of risk differs from parish-to-parish.
A majority of the high risk parishes are clustered in the rural northern part of the state, with St. Helena and Tangipahoa parishes as southeastern outliers in the data. East Baton Rouge Parish scored in the low-to-moderate risk area, while Orleans Parish landed in the moderate-to-high risk area.
But it’s not all negative, as the study also found that almost all parishes have identifiable strengths on which to improve, such as publicly funded pre-kindergarten programs, in order to mitigate risk factors.