Education
Students Eligible for Free/Reduced Price Lunch


Students Eligible for Free/Reduced Price Lunch

What does this measure?

The number of students eligible for free or reduced price lunch as a percentage of total K-12 enrollment. Students are eligible for free lunch if their family's income is at or below 130% of the federal poverty threshold and for reduced price lunch if income is 130-185% of that threshold.

Why is this important?

This measure not only shows the proportion of low-income students and families in an area, it is also an indication of the potential challenges facing schools as they work to educate children who have fewer resources at home.

How is our county performing?

In 2016, 51% of students in Berks County were eligible for free or reduced price lunch, a 28 percentage point increase since 2000. In 2016, 47% of students in Pennsylvania were eligible for free or reduced price lunch, an 18 percentage point increase since 2000. Half of students in the U.S. were eligible in 2016, with a similar increase from 2000 as the state.

In 2016, eligibility for free or reduced price lunch varied widely among local school districts. The lowest proportions were in Boyertown (24%), Oley Valley and Daniel Boone (26% each), and Fleetwood (27%). The highest proportion was in Reading, at 100%, followed by Muhlenberg (53%) and Antietam and Wilson (48% each).

Berks' rate was higher than surrounding counties, especially Chester (21%) and Montgomery (25%).

Notes about the data

Data are from the National Center for Education Statistics. With the passage of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, the National School Lunch Program now includes a "Community Eligibility" provision allowing districts with at least 40% of students qualifying for free meals to serve free meals to all enrolled students.

There may be additional research available on this topic. Click on Reports and Resources to learn more.

Students Eligible for Free/Reduced Price Lunch
20002001200220032004200520062007200820092010201120122013201420152016
Pennsylvania29%28%28%29%28%28%31%30%31%33%38%39%40%41%44%46%47%
Berks County23%22%24%26%24%24%30%29%33%35%40%41%42%43%46%49%51%
Berks County Regions
Central
Northeast
South
Southeast
West
Reading city
Berks County Peers
Chester County11%11%11%11%11%10%12%12%12%12%19%21%23%26%27%23%21%
Lancaster County21%21%22%22%21%21%27%27%28%30%33%35%36%39%40%45%47%
Lebanon County20%20%21%21%20%21%26%25%28%29%33%33%36%39%42%42%48%
Lehigh County26%29%25%29%26%28%34%36%38%39%37%44%42%43%46%41%44%
Montgomery County12%11%11%11%10%10%12%13%13%15%18%19%21%22%24%27%25%
Schuylkill County28%28%29%30%28%30%32%33%34%37%40%41%42%46%47%49%50%
School Districts
Tulpehocken Area School District13%14%15%16%16%16%20%23%28%29%29%31%34%37%39%38%40%
Brandywine Heights Area School District9%8%8%11%8%11%9%5%8%10%18%19%19%19%23%25%28%
Oley Valley School District4%3%3%5%3%5%5%8%10%16%19%18%20%23%24%26%
Reading School District65%62%64%67%63%64%76%70%78%80%92%91%90%89%94%100%100%
Exeter Township School District10%12%10%11%10%10%12%13%14%15%17%17%17%24%26%26%31%
Kutztown Area School District8%9%10%10%10%10%14%15%17%18%20%18%21%23%23%24%29%
Wyomissing Area School District10%8%10%10%10%10%18%17%19%19%20%23%25%29%28%29%30%
Daniel Boone Area School District13%11%11%11%10%10%13%11%14%13%16%14%19%20%22%25%26%
Twin Valley School District10%9%12%11%12%11%15%15%16%19%20%22%23%23%23%25%30%
Governor Mifflin School District6%7%9%10%9%10%14%15%17%20%23%23%30%32%36%39%38%
Schuylkill Valley School District7%7%10%11%10%11%16%16%21%22%18%19%19%21%20%24%29%
Conrad Weiser Area School District11%11%8%13%8%12%16%18%19%24%24%25%28%30%34%33%29%
Fleetwood Area School District9%10%10%11%9%10%13%14%16%17%17%19%19%19%18%28%27%
Boyertown Area School District8%7%9%7%9%7%11%9%12%13%14%15%17%19%20%21%24%
Muhlenberg School District12%12%14%16%14%15%20%21%26%31%37%40%44%45%50%48%53%
Antietam School District11%11%16%18%15%17%24%28%31%33%34%38%37%42%46%47%48%
Wilson School District18%16%16%15%17%15%20%21%24%24%29%31%33%38%41%47%48%
Hamburg Area School District10%9%9%11%9%11%20%22%25%27%31%31%35%37%38%39%42%

Source: National Center for Education Statistics




Number of Students Eligible for Free/Reduced Price Lunch
20002001200220032004200520062007200820092010201120122013201420152016
Pennsylvania521,009510,121517,587528,011511,940516,075574,951556,645560,384591,250662,900686,641696,531720,937756,241786,304802,045
Berks County14,47113,97415,74015,85815,03416,03620,47320,31422,31823,63326,93027,44328,39728,72730,44532,14633,101
Berks County Regions
Central
Northeast
South
Southeast
West
Reading city
Berks County Peers
Chester County6,9777,2027,1887,9257,5707,4728,9939,3039,4449,86915,44417,68420,56923,18424,38418,87017,063
Lancaster County14,19614,64614,75915,53914,49614,80018,70819,04819,23520,49422,22023,43724,24426,46126,82430,02031,327
Lebanon County3,6223,5593,7523,8783,7523,8784,9514,9525,1865,5646,1286,2496,7127,4287,8768,0929,207
Lehigh County11,53013,33811,75314,29712,98614,29717,64019,95620,20820,77920,28424,46322,18622,39224,27121,67223,014
Montgomery County11,38111,10811,21211,43511,23011,23313,53114,25714,98416,05819,03320,72422,61824,65126,59429,51429,876
Schuylkill County5,9695,6445,6595,9465,5705,9466,4286,8316,5387,2087,8527,9098,0438,7388,9269,1119,265
School Districts
Tulpehocken Area School District227248265273265273332379453455441481504544564531559
Brandywine Heights Area School District182162164210164210167104146172318336322305360369412
Oley Valley School District77637410174101108170201305362323353399400426
Reading School District10,0699,56110,75310,84610,42110,84613,26612,52513,64714,24416,36116,48416,25415,60516,19617,15317,208
Exeter Township School District3684694094364094365295556086767437457139951,0471,0571,232
Kutztown Area School District145167180181180181249249284306326278309342321321394
Wyomissing Area School District172142187189187189334313355354378425471554538558582
Daniel Boone Area School District373334357361357361486443533487647565720755790878877
Twin Valley School District2982813753443753444955295716376837327717877988301,009
Governor Mifflin School District2612773584013584015846397418329669611,2561,3551,4631,5791,541
Schuylkill Valley School District137138192218192218316322432435369378373409395469584
Conrad Weiser Area School District290306222347222347490548594704710712771807926886773
Fleetwood Area School District203236251272251272355391446467458521500495480730695
Boyertown Area School District5214856374806374807706538588929541,0361,1981,3241,4281,4541,646
Muhlenberg School District3463574224704224706476868871,0641,2881,4181,5681,5761,7411,7181,892
Antietam School District113118164193164193271313341350358396385443470495491
Wilson School District4263723763333763334594785375546476827288419011,0161,026
Hamburg Area School District259238240300240300537584634679787770836876857868904

Source: National Center for Education Statistics




INDICATORS TREND | BERKS COUNTY