Census Poverty Data for School Districts

  • Number of subsidized lunches on the rise, By Meranda Watling, November 19, 2009, Lafayette Journal and Courier: “An increased number of Greater Lafayette students are getting lunches on the government’s dime this semester, thanks in large part to the economy, school officials report. Preliminary numbers for this school year show that in Tippecanoe County, only the West Lafayette school district saw fewer students qualifying for free or reduced-price lunches under federal guidelines…”
  • Poverty in CMS hits all-time high: 51 percent, By Ann Doss Helms, November 19, 2009, Charlotte Observer: ” Almost 68,000 students, or 51 percent of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools’ enrollment, get lunch aid for low-income families this year – an all-time high. The numbers announced Wednesday, while hardly unexpected, are bound to fan talk about middle-class flight and the growing swath of urban schools abandoned by affluent families. The school system nudged past the 50-percent poverty mark in the middle of last school year, as the recession worsened and new applications for aid came in…”
  • Number of poor children rose in Tarrant suburbs, census data show, By Eva-Marie Ayala, November 18, 2009, Fort Worth Star Telegram: ” Fort Worth has seen a drop in the number of school-age children living in poverty, while many suburban school districts have seen significant increases, according to 2008 estimates released Wednesday by the U.S. Census Bureau. From 2004 to 2008, the number of such children in Tarrant County school districts grew by 901 to 53,092. The Fort Worth, Lake Worth and Northwest school districts saw decreases, while Kennedale, Grapevine-Colleyville, Crowley and Mansfield had the most significant increases. The shift within the county mirrors housing trends, said Pat Guseman, a demographer who works with Mansfield and other North Texas school districts…”
  • Southern New Jersey school districts see worst of nation’s poverty, By John Froonjian, Diane D’Amico, Trudi Gilfillian, and Edward Van Embden, November 19, 2009, Press of Atlantic City: “Gladys Lauriello didn’t realize her family was poor when she went to school in Wildwood. But now, as Lauriello works as principal in the same building where she attended class, she recognizes the signs of poverty that characterized her youth. She wasn’t surprised to learn that U.S. Census Bureau data released Wednesday show that 36 percent of school-age children in Wildwood live in poverty. That’s the highest percentage among school districts in New Jersey…”

Report: Food Security in the US

  • USDA: Hunger rises in U.S., By Alfred Lubrano, November 17, 2009, Philadelphia Inquirer: “America is hungry and getting hungrier, with 49 million people – 17 million of them children – last year unable to consistently get enough food to eat, according to a report released yesterday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. These figures represent 14.6 percent of all households, a 3.5-percentage-point jump over 2007, and they are the largest recorded since the agency began measuring hunger in 1995. Of those 49 million, 12 million adults and 5.2 million children reported experiencing the country’s most severe hunger, possibly going days without eating. Among the children, nearly half a million in the developmentally critical years under age 6 were going hungry. That’s three times the number in 2006. The study documented both ‘low food security,’ which describes people unable to consistently get enough to eat, and ‘very low food security,’ in which people reported being hungry various times over the year but were unable to eat because there wasn’t enough money for food. The South reported the highest number of households in both categories, at 15.9 percent, followed by the West at 14.5 percent, the Midwest at 14 percent, and the Northeast at 12.8 percent…”
  • Hungry U.S. households increased about 30% last year, By Tony Pugh, November 16, 2009, Cleveland Plain Dealer: “The number of U.S. households that are struggling to feed their members jumped by 4 million to 17 million last year, as recession-driven job losses and increased poverty and unemployment fueled a surge in hunger, a government survey reported Monday. These ‘food insecure’ households represent about 49 million people and make up 14.6 percent, or more than one in seven, of all U.S. households. That’s the highest rate since the U.S. Department of Agriculture began monitoring the issue in 1995. Additionally, more than one-third of these struggling families — some 6.7 million households, or 17.2 million people last year — had ‘very low food security,’ in which food intake was reduced and eating patterns were disrupted for some family members because of a lack of food…”

Report: Food Security in the US

  • Report: More Americans going hungry, By Amy Goldstein, November 16, 2009, Washington Post: “The number of Americans who lack dependable access to adequate food shot up last year to 49 million, the largest number since the government has been keeping track, according to a federal report released Monday that shows particularly steep increases in food scarcity among families with children. In 2008, the report found, nearly 17 million children — more than one in five across the United States — were living in households in which food at times ran short, up from slightly more than 12 million youngsters the year before. And the number of children who sometimes were outright hungry rose from nearly 700,000 to almost 1.1 million…”
  • Hunger in U.S. at a 14-year high, By Jason DeParle, November 16, 2009, New York Times: “The number of Americans who lived in households that lacked consistent access to adequate food soared last year, to 49 million, the highest since the government began tracking what it calls ‘food insecurity’ 14 years ago, the Department of Agriculture reported Monday. The increase, of 13 million Americans, was much larger than even the most pessimistic observers of hunger trends had expected and cast an alarming light on the daily hardships caused by the recession’s punishing effect on jobs and wages. About a third of these struggling households had what the researchers called ‘very low food security,’ meaning lack of money forced members to skip meals, cut portions or otherwise forgo food at some point in the year…”
  • More U.S. households report food shortages, By Scott Kilman, November 16, 2009, Wall Street Journal: “The U.S. Department of Agriculture said Monday that 17 million U.S. households experienced some sort of food shortage in 2008, up 31% from 13 million households in 2007. In 2008, a year marked by rising food costs and recession, the prevalence of ‘food insecurity’ in the U.S. soared to the highest levels in the history of the USDA’s national annual survey, which began in 1995. According to the survey, 14.6% of U.S. households experienced food insecurity at least some time during 2008, up from the 11.1% of U.S. households in 2007 that fell into the USDA’s definition of food insecure…”

Free and Reduced-price Lunch Program – Wisconsin, Florida

  • State faces explosion of schoolkids qualified for subsidized meals, By Jacob Kushner and Kryssy Pease, September 20, 2009, Wisconsin State Journal: “Nearly four in 10 Wisconsin elementary students qualified for free or reduced-price lunch last school year, and the proportion of such students has climbed every year of this decade, according to state Department of Public Instruction data analyzed by the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism. The center found the proportion of Wisconsin elementary students eligible for subsidized lunches hit 37.6 percent last year, compared with 30.3 percent in 2000…”
  • Green Bay district gains most low-income elementary students in state, By Kelly McBride, September 20, 2009, Green Bay Press-Gazette: “The Green Bay School District has gained more low-income elementary school students than any other district in the state since 2000, a new analysis shows. The district’s low-income population grew by 2,398 elementary school students during that time, more than the Milwaukee, Madison or Kenosha school districts, according to a report released today by the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that produces regular investigative projects…”
  • Economic downturn reflected at Southwest Florida schools, By Christopher O’Donnell, September 21, 2009, Sarasota Herald-Tribune: “Hit hard by layoffs and paycuts, more Florida families than ever are turning to federal aid to feed their children at school. Even in Southwest Florida, long seen as an area of affluence, the number of children qualifying for the federal government’s free or reduced lunch program has risen sharply this year. For the first time, more than half of Manatee County students — some 22,000 children — meet income guidelines that qualify them for government assistance…”

Free and Reduced-price Lunch Program – Mississippi

Free lunch common in some Miss. schools, By Gary Pettus, September 5, 2009, Clarion-Ledger: “In Holmes County, where the poverty rate is three times higher than the country’s, Patricia Jenkins’ children get a free weekday lunch for at least nine months of the year. In fact, practically every one of the 3,300 other students in the Holmes County School District qualifies for the free midday meal, as well as for free breakfasts. ‘For me, being a single parent who’s out of work, the meal program is a big help,’ said Jenkins, 42, of Goodman, who has three children in school, ‘but it’s also a big help for parents who are working and still can’t afford these lunches.’ Based on family income, about 58 percent of Mississippi’s 491,000-plus public-school children qualified for a free lunch during the 2008-09 school year, compared with 46 percent for private-school students…”

School Lunch Programs

  • Stars aligning on school lunches, By Kim Severson, August 18, 2009, New York Times: “Ann Cooper has made a career out of hammering on the poor quality of public school food. The School Nutrition Association, with 55,000 members, represents the people who prepare it. Imagine Ms. Cooper’s surprise when she was invited to the association’s upcoming conference to discuss the Lunch Box, a system she developed to help school districts wean themselves from packaged, heavily processed food and begin cooking mostly local food from scratch…”
  • N.J. schools bag funds with free lunch, By Ashley Milne-Tyte, August 18, 2009, American Public Media: “New Jersey’s formula now works like this: the state provides about $9,700 to educate each child to meet academic standards. But poor students in poor districts can get an extra $5,000 on top of that. That’s where free lunch comes in…”

Subsidized School Meal Programs

Subsidized school meals might skyrocket this year, By Tony Pugh, August 16, 2009, Modesto Bee: “The number of U.S. students who receive free and reduced-cost meals at school could soar to a 41-year high this school year, as record job losses and high unemployment push thousands more children into poverty, many for the first time. According to projections by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, at least 18.5 million low-income students are expected to participate in the National School Lunch Program each day during the 2009-10 school year. More than 8.5 million are expected to take advantage of the federal School Breakfast Program. Both projections are about the same as the record participation levels that each program set last year. If rising family homelessness and steady growth in the food stamp program are any indication, however, enrollment in both student-meal programs could swell well beyond expectations this fall…”

Agriculture Spending Bill and Food Stamp Funding

Senate passes bill to help boost food stamps, By Andrew Taylor (AP), August 5, 2009, Concord Monitor: “The Senate yesterday passed a $124.3 billion agriculture spending bill that pays to add millions of people to the food stamp rolls as rising numbers of the jobless are forced into the program. Money for the federal school lunch program is going up 12 percent as well, while a popular program that gives additional food aid for poor children and pregnant women received a 9 percent increase in funding. The bill passed by a 80-17 vote. As the nation’s unemployment rate nears 10 percent, a record 34.4 million people – or one in nine Americans – were participating in the food stamp program as of May. That’s an increase of 650,000 people from the previous month and up 6 million from the same time last year…”

Food Assistance for Children in the Summer

  • Free lunch?, By Simone Sebastian, July 5, 2009, Columbus Dispatch: “More poor children are eating free at school, but that’s actually a good thing for many districts’ finances. The reason? Federal subsidies increase.  A week rarely went by last school year without a plea for help from another newly poor family in South-Western schools. Parents were losing their jobs and wanted to know how the district could help…”
  • N.J. offering free meals to kids from low-income families throughout summer, By Kristen Alloway, July 8, 2009, Star-Ledger: “Eleven-year-old camper Bryan polished off his baked chicken, vegetables and corn bread and eagerly headed back for seconds.  For Bryan, and more than 40 other children from predominantly low-income families at the Salvation Army in New Brunswick, it was their second free meal of the day — breakfast was pancakes — courtesy of the Community FoodBank of New Jersey and the federal government…”
  • More Wichita kids go hungry, By Roy Wenzl, July 5, 2009, Wichita Eagle: “The recession has hurt Wichita’s poor people and their children much harder and faster than social service agencies predicted when it started last year, food charities say.  Agencies that track poverty are compiling rapidly rising statistics about Wichita children going hungry, prompting the Wichita Community Foundation to call a July 13 summit of local leaders to figure out how to feed them…”