Lucile Packard Foundation for Children's Health      

kidsdata advisory

The Lucile Packard Foundation for Children's Health | July 30, 2013

Nearly 60% of California Students Eligible for Free/Reduced Price School Meals

As California communities struggle to effectively help alleviate "summer hunger" among low-income children, new data show that nearly 60% of California children in public schools are eligible for free or reduced price school meals – almost 3.5 million children in 2012. See the numbers for your county or school district>>

The percentage of California public school students eligible for subsidized meals rose from 51% in 2007 to 57.5% in 2012, according to newly posted data on Nationwide, the percentage of public school students eligible for these meals increased from 42% in 2007 to 49% in 2011 (latest data available).

Student eligibility for free or reduced price meals often is used as a proxy measure for child poverty. Family income eligibility for these programs goes up to 185% of the federal poverty level (about $41,000 for a family of four in 2011-2012).

"Summer hunger" programs can help fill the food gap for children who receive subsidized meals during the school year, but with budget-driven cutbacks in summer school, fewer students are taking advantage of them.

Free or reduced price school meal programs provide a safety net to help ensure that low-income students get adequate nutrition. These programs help to address food insecurity among low-income students, and can improve students’ physical health, behavior, school performance and cognitive development, research suggests.

Read more about subsidized school meal eligibility, including policy implications>>

See Free/Reduced Fee Lunch Eligibility and Nutrition Data in California

Student Eligibility to Receive Free or Reduced Price School Meals

Students Who Ate Breakfast in Past Day, by Grade Level
by Gender and Grade Level
by Race/Ethnicity

Helpful Links

California Food Policy Advocates

California Healthy Kids Resource Center

Child Trends: Children in Poverty

Food Research and Action Center (FRAC)

National Center for Children in Poverty

USDA Food and Nutrition Service: School Meals

Kidsdata Tip

You can find subsidized school meal eligibility data for individual school districts in addition to countywide data. From this page, click on “Choose Counties and School Districts” right above the table. Then click on the "+" sign next to the county you're interested in (as shown here) and a list of school districts will pop up.

Screen shot illustration of customizing for your school district Mascot
Get customized e-alerts Get custom data alerts
Join the conversation (Facebook) Join the conversation
Find a fact of the day (Twitter) Keep current on kids
Read our blog posts Read our blog posts

Motion Chart with data about free/reduced price school meals

This interactive motion chart shows the rise in student eligibility for free or reduced price school meals in California and selected counties. Mascots is a program of the Lucile Packard Foundation of Children's Health, which uses data to promote the health and well being of children.
Email not displaying correctly? Click here to view it in your browser. Subscribe Unsubscribe
This email was sent by: %%Member_Busname%%
%%Member_Addr%% %%Member_City%%, %%Member_State%%, %%Member_PostalCode%%, %%Member_Country%%