Data Story: School Lunches

Now that schools everywhere are back in full swing, we’ve posted a new featured data story on our Federal Priorities Database. This one looks at two datasets:

  • School Lunch Participation: the number of students eating school lunch during the school year
  • School Lunch Program Expenditures: a US Department of Agriculture grant that provides school lunches to low-income children and subsidizes all other lunches

Over the years, the number of students eating school lunch has increased, reaching nearly 32 million for the school year ending in 2010.

These lunches were subsidized by the National School Lunch Program (NSLP).  Federal assistance for this program, which totaled $9.8 billion In FY 2009, comes in the form of cash reimbursements and "entitlement foods" from the USDA.  These are surplus foods purchased from farmers by the USDA to keep prices stable.

We have participation numbers at the state level and program expenditures at the county level. Below are the FY 2009 school lunch expenditures for Hampshire County, MA, NPP headquarters.  See your state and county here.

MA School Lunch Federal Expenditure FY2009