QuickStats: Percentage* of Children and Adolescents Aged 5–17 Years Who Received Free or Reduced-Cost Meals at School During the Previous 12 Months,† by Race and Hispanic Ethnicity§ and Family Income¶ — National Health Interview Survey, United States, 2021
Weekly / May 19, 2023 / 72(20);566
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Abbreviations: FPL = federal poverty level; NH = non-Hispanic.
* With 95% CIs indicated by error bars.
† Estimates are based on household interviews of a sample of the civilian, noninstitutionalized U.S. population and are derived from the question, “At any time in the last 12 months, did this child receive free or reduced-cost breakfasts or lunches at school?”
§ Children and adolescents categorized as NH Asian, NH Black or African American, and NH White indicated one race only; respondents for children had the option to select more than one racial group. Hispanic or Latino children might be of any race or combination of races. Total includes all children regardless of income or race and ethnicity.
¶ As a percentage of FPL, which is based on family income and family size, using the U.S. Census Bureau’s poverty thresholds. Family income was imputed when missing.
In 2021, 51.6% of all U.S. children and adolescents aged 5–17 years received free or reduced-cost meals at school during the previous 12 months; NH Black or African American (66.2%) and Hispanic or Latino (Hispanic) (64.4%) children and adolescents were more likely to receive free or reduced-cost meals at school than were NH White (42.7%) children and adolescents, with NH Asian (30.9%) children and adolescents having the lowest percentage. The same pattern was observed for children and adolescents in families with income ≥185% of the FPL, but the observed difference in receiving free or reduced-cost meals between Hispanic and NH White children and adolescents was not significant for the lower-income group. Children and adolescents in families with incomes <185% of the FPL were more likely to receive free or reduced-cost meals compared with children and adolescents in families with incomes ≥185% of the FPL (75.9% versus 38.7%).
Source: National Center for Health Statistics, National Health Interview Survey, 2021. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nhis.htm
Reported by: Michael E. Martinez, MPH, MHSA, firstname.lastname@example.org; Jeannine S. Schiller, MPH.
Suggested citation for this article: QuickStats: Percentage of Children and Adolescents Aged 5–17 Years Who Received Free or Reduced-Cost Meals at School During the Previous 12 Months, by Race and Hispanic Ethnicity and Family Income — National Health Interview Survey, United States, 2021. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2023;72:566. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm7220a6.
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