USDA’s School Breakfast Program served about 63 billion meals from 1975 through 2022

Vertical bar and line chart number of School Breakfast Program meals served between 1975 and 2022 and the percent that were free or reduced price.

The USDA’s School Breakfast Program (SBP) has served about 63 billion meals since it was permanently authorized as a Child Nutrition Program in 1975. Any student in a participating school can get breakfast through the program. Students can receive a free breakfast if their household’s income is at or below 130 percent of the Federal poverty line (FPL), a reduced-price breakfast if their household’s income is between 130 and 185 percent of the FPL, and a full-price breakfast if their household’s income is above 185 percent of the FPL. The number of breakfasts served increased each year from 1982 through fiscal year (FY) 2016, before plateauing at about 2.4 billion meals from FY 2017 through FY 2019. On average, 85 percent of breakfasts were served for free or at a reduced price each year during this period. The onset of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in March 2020 interrupted school operations, including the provision of meals, and the number of breakfasts served through the SBP dropped to about 1.8 billion breakfasts in FY 2020. The decrease reflected the use of USDA pandemic waivers, which allowed schools to serve meals through the Summer Food Service Program. From the end of FY 2021 through FY 2022, schools transitioned to serving meals through the SBP’s Seamless Summer Option. In FY 2022, the SBP provided 2.5 billion breakfasts, similar to prepandemic years. The data for this chart are from the USDA, Economic Research Service’s School Breakfast Program topic page.

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