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SPMLUNCH
SPM unit's school lunch value

Codes

This is a 5-digit numeric variable.

Description

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.

Comparability

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 Shrider, 2021. Users should note that "traditional" school lunch value calculations are available for the Census Bureau family unit in SCHLLUNCH in the 2021 ASEC.

Additional COVID-19 related factors resulted in another alternative school lunch value calculation in the 2022 ASEC data. The alternative method is designed to account for school closures during 2021, nearly universal free lunch when schools reopened, and the implementation of the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) program. The 2022 method assigns lunch values depending on whether schools were in-person and whether students were in households that were receiving SNAP or P-EBT. If schools were determined to be operating in person, an in-person lunch value was assigned. If schools were determined not to be in-person, the assigned value depended on benefits received. If neither SNAP nor P-EBT benefits were reported, no value was assigned. If SNAP benefits were reported, no value was also assigned as those with SNAP had P-EBT value added to their SNAP card and were therefore already accounted for. A P-EBT value was assigned if only P-EBT benefits were reported. In-person lunch values were calculated for Fall 2020 and Spring 2021. In Spring 2021 this value was the average state open days multiplied by the school lunch reimbursement rate. In Fall 2020 the reimbursement rates were multiplied by 80 days. The P-EBT rates were included for Spring 2021, Summer 2021, and back pay from Fall 2020 P-EBT benefits that were received in 2021. This value was $375 per child in Summer 2021, and the average closed days multiplied by the P-EBT rate for Fall 2020 and Spring 2021. P-EBT values were assigned based on responses to a new question about receiving P-EBT benefits (UH_HPEBTYN_A1). For more details on this updated method, see Shrider, 2022 Users should note that "traditional" school lunch value calculations are available for the Census Bureau family unit in SCHLLUNCH in the 2022 ASEC.

Universe

  • All persons.

Availability

Years Jan Feb ASEC Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2010 – 2022 - - X - - - - - - - - -

Flags

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