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SPM unit's school lunch value


This is a 4-digit numeric variable.


SPMLUNCH records the dollar value of school lunch program benefits received by members of the Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM) family. This is used in the construction of the SPM.

SPMLUNCH is expressed in dollars of the survey year; users can adjust for inflation with Consumer Price Index adjustment factors.


Aside from the effects of inflation, SPMLUNCH is comparable from 2010 to 2018.

In 2019, the Census Bureau implemented a new processing system to accommodate survey changes. These changes affect income and relationship variables, making poverty measurements before and after 2019 incomparable. For more information on this overhaul, see our guide to the 2019 ASEC updates.

To account for the impact of COVID-19-related school closures during 2020, an alternative method was used to calculate the value of school lunch program benefits received by members of the SPM unit in the 2021 ASEC data. This new method contains three phases. For January- mid March, this value was calculated as it had been the previous year. For mid March-the end of the 2019-2020 school year, those who received free or reduced lunches but did not receive SNAP benefits were assigned a value of $313.50 and all others had a value of $0. In the fall of 2020, "traditional" calculated values were multiplied by the state average number of open school days. For more details on this updated method, see Em, 2021 Users should note that "traditional" school lunch value calculations are available for the Census Bureau family unit in SCHLLUNCH in the 2021 ASEC.


  • All persons.


Years Jan Feb ASEC Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2010 – 2021 - - X - - - - - - - - -


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