State Maps: Lowering Area Eligibility from 50 Percent to 40 Percent

Some of the federal nutrition programs – afterschool, summer and child care food – use an overly restrictive area eligibility test in order to provide reimbursements to serve snacks and meals. That test defines a low-income area as one where more than 50 percent of children are eligible for free or reduced-price school meals.

This 50 percent area eligibility test is the most restrictive test these programs have ever had. Prior to 1981, for example, the threshold for an area participating in Summer Food was 33 percent. It’s particularly hard for rural and suburban areas to meet this 50 percent requirement since poverty is less concentrated in these areas.

If Congress lowered this threshold to 40 percent, millions of low-income children would gain access to afterschool, summer, and child care food.

Below are links to maps (pdf files) FRAC has prepared to show what areas would become eligible if the area eligibility test was lowered from 50 percent to 40 percent. We hope you will use them in your advocacy efforts.

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