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 2018, 50% of students in Berks County were eligible for free or reduced price lunch, a 27 percentage point increase since 2000. In 2018, 46% of students in Pennsylvania were eligible for free or reduced price lunch, a 17 percentage point increase since 2000. Half of students in the U.S. were eligible in 2017, with a similar increase from 2000 as the state.

In 2018, eligibility for free or reduced price lunch varied widely among local school districts. The lowest proportions were in Boyertown (23%), Daniel Boone (25%), and Oley Valley (27%). The highest proportion was in Reading, at 93%, followed by Muhlenberg (54%) and Wilson (46%).

Berks rate was higher than surrounding counties, especially Chester (20%) and Montgomery (27%).

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
2000200120022003200420052006200720082009201020112012201320142015201620172018
Pennsylvania29%28%28%29%28%28%31%30%31%33%38%39%40%41%44%46%47%43%46%
Berks County23%22%24%26%24%24%30%29%33%35%40%41%42%43%46%49%51%49%50%
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%19%20%
Lancaster County21%21%22%22%21%21%27%27%28%30%33%35%36%39%40%45%47%46%46%
Lebanon County20%20%21%21%20%21%26%25%28%29%33%33%36%39%42%42%48%46%47%
Lehigh County26%29%25%29%26%28%34%36%38%39%37%44%42%43%46%41%44%49%51%
Montgomery County12%11%11%11%10%10%12%13%13%15%18%19%21%22%24%27%25%27%27%
Schuylkill County28%28%29%30%28%30%32%33%34%37%40%41%42%46%47%49%50%46%54%
School Districts
Hamburg Area School District10%9%9%11%9%11%20%22%25%27%31%31%35%37%38%39%42%39%42%
Conrad Weiser Area School District11%11%8%13%8%12%16%18%19%24%24%25%28%30%34%33%29%34%34%
Wilson School District18%16%16%15%17%15%20%21%24%24%29%31%33%38%41%47%48%47%46%
Schuylkill Valley School District7%7%10%11%10%11%16%16%21%22%18%19%19%21%20%24%29%32%32%
Fleetwood Area School District9%10%10%11%9%10%13%14%16%17%17%19%19%19%18%28%27%30%28%
Kutztown Area School District8%9%10%10%10%10%14%15%17%18%20%18%21%23%23%24%29%29%28%
Boyertown Area School District8%7%9%7%9%7%11%9%12%13%14%15%17%19%20%21%24%23%23%
Wyomissing Area School District10%8%10%10%10%10%18%17%19%19%20%23%25%29%28%29%30%32%35%
Tulpehocken Area School District13%14%15%16%16%16%20%23%28%29%29%31%34%37%39%38%40%37%36%
Muhlenberg School District12%12%14%16%14%15%20%21%26%31%37%40%44%45%50%48%53%55%54%
Daniel Boone Area School District13%11%11%11%10%10%13%11%14%13%16%14%19%20%22%25%26%22%25%
Governor Mifflin School District6%7%9%10%9%10%14%15%17%20%23%23%30%32%36%39%38%39%38%
Brandywine Heights Area School District9%8%8%11%8%11%9%5%8%10%18%19%19%19%23%25%28%29%31%
Twin Valley School District10%9%12%11%12%11%15%15%16%19%20%22%23%23%23%25%30%28%30%
Antietam School District11%11%16%18%15%17%24%28%31%33%34%38%37%42%46%47%48%58%43%
Reading School District65%62%64%67%63%64%76%70%78%80%92%91%90%89%94%100%100%96%93%
Exeter Township School District10%12%10%11%10%10%12%13%14%15%17%17%17%24%26%26%31%28%30%
Oley Valley School District4%3%3%5%3%5%5%8%10%16%19%18%20%23%24%26%28%27%

Source: National Center for Education Statistics




Number of Students Eligible for Free/Reduced Price Lunch
2000200120022003200420052006200720082009201020112012201320142015201620172018
Pennsylvania521,009510,121517,587528,011511,940516,075574,951556,645560,384591,250662,900686,641696,531720,937756,241786,304802,045747,349795,337
Berks County14,47113,97415,74015,85815,03416,03620,47320,31422,31823,63326,93027,44328,39728,72730,44532,14633,10131,86832,873
Berks County Regions
Central
Northeast
South
Southeast
West
Reading city
Berks County Peers
Chester County6,9777,2027,1887,9257,5707,4728,9939,3039,4449,86915,44417,68420,56923,18424,38418,87017,06315,15816,327
Lancaster County14,19614,64614,75915,53914,49614,80018,70819,04819,23520,49422,22023,43724,24426,46126,82430,02031,32730,82030,885
Lebanon County3,6223,5593,7523,8783,7523,8784,9514,9525,1865,5646,1286,2496,7127,4287,8768,0929,2078,8199,262
Lehigh County11,53013,33811,75314,29712,98614,29717,64019,95620,20820,77920,28424,46322,18622,39224,27121,67223,01426,49427,674
Montgomery County11,38111,10811,21211,43511,23011,23313,53114,25714,98416,05819,03320,72422,61824,65126,59429,51429,87630,96631,207
Schuylkill County5,9695,6445,6595,9465,5705,9466,4286,8316,5387,2087,8527,9098,0438,7388,9269,1119,2658,62310,055
School Districts
Hamburg Area School District259238240300240300537584634679787770836876857868904847892
Conrad Weiser Area School District290306222347222347490548594704710712771807926886773926906
Wilson School District4263723763333763334594785375546476827288419011,0161,0261,0461,035
Schuylkill Valley School District137138192218192218316322432435369378373409395469584650656
Fleetwood Area School District203236251272251272355391446467458521500495480730695751697
Kutztown Area School District145167180181180181249249284306326278309342321321394383365
Boyertown Area School District5214856374806374807706538588929541,0361,1981,3241,4281,4541,6461,6141,591
Wyomissing Area School District172142187189187189334313355354378425471554538558582616686
Tulpehocken Area School District227248265273265273332379453455441481504544564531559526527
Muhlenberg School District3463574224704224706476868871,0641,2881,4181,5681,5761,7411,7181,8922,0232,036
Daniel Boone Area School District373334357361357361486443533487647565720755790878877747849
Governor Mifflin School District2612773584013584015846397418329669611,2561,3551,4631,5791,5411,5961,564
Brandywine Heights Area School District182162164210164210167104146172318336322305360369412415425
Twin Valley School District2982813753443753444955295716376837327717877988301,009951982
Antietam School District113118164193164193271313341350358396385443470495491612495
Reading School District10,0699,56110,75310,84610,42110,84613,26612,52513,64714,24416,36116,48416,25415,60516,19617,15317,20816,77916,523
Exeter Township School District3684694094364094365295556086767437457139951,0471,0571,2321,1041,180
Oley Valley School District77637410174101108170201305362323353399400426479444

Source: National Center for Education Statistics




INDICATORS TREND | BERKS COUNTY