Snapshot of Baltimore County Public Schools

2018: Poverty, food insecurity and homelessness in Baltimore County Public Schools

Compiled by Laurie Taylor-Mitchell, President, Student Support Network;  For questions or sources, please email Laurie


Almost 50,000 students (43.7% of all students) qualify for Free and Reduced Price Meals in Baltimore County Public Schools

  • Schools with 50% or more of students in severe poverty: 86 schools
  • Schools with 40-49% of students in severe poverty: 21 schools
  • Schools with 30-39% of students in severe poverty: 18 schools
  • Schools with 20-29% of students in severe poverty: 14 schools
  • Schools with 10-19% of students in severe poverty: 13 schools

Number of schools with less than 10% of students in severe poverty:  13 schools

BCPS statistics only track those students whose families qualify for Free and Reduced Price Meals.

Free Meals: in 2017-2018, income for a family of four cannot exceed $31,980 (130% of Federal Poverty Level, or FPL) – about 43,000 students.

Reduced Price Meals: in 2017-2018, income for a family of four cannot exceed $45,510 (185% of FPL) – about 7,000 students.

Thousands more are poor but their families make too much to qualify for meals. They are invisible in the statistics here.  In Baltimore County, 124,439 families have incomes below the threshold needed to be self-sufficient, or 40% of all families (United Way of Maryland).  In Towson, 36% of all families struggle financially.

Self-sufficient income for a family of four in MD: about $60,000 a year to meet basic needs – no savings possible.

Food insecurity: Defined as “the limited or uncertain access to healthy food” (Maryland Hunger Solutions), affects over 29,000 children, or 16.6% of all children in Baltimore County.

Homelessness: by December of 2017, 2,020 students had already been identified as homeless in BCPS   – this number will increase by the end of the year (last year it was over 2,700) – numbers for all schools available upon request.  A homeless student is identified as one whose living situation is unstable, including those living in hotels or shelters, living with family or friends because of economic hardship, or “couch surfing” – for reasons such as domestic violence, drug abuse, etc.  They are at high risk for hunger, bullying, depression and attempted suicide.   There is no homeless shelter for unaccompanied minors in Baltimore County.

2017-2018 statistics to-date in Network Schools:

                                                                                      #students FARMS             % at school                   Homeless

Loch Raven High School                                            268 students                          31%                                     15

Parkville High School                                                  870 students                          48%                                   120

Pine Grove Middle School                                         361 students                          38%                                     18


Statistics on Students Identified as Homeless in BCPS

By December of 2017, over 2,000 students had been identified as homeless in County public schools.  This number will be higher when the final report on numbers is distributed for the entire school year.  The total number only counts those students as identified by school staff – many others are not identified because students and parents are too embarrassed or ashamed to discuss the loss of housing. For statistics on the number of homeless students by school, Click here

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