Information Center

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BCPS Snapshot

Major increase in student poverty in Baltimore County Public Schools: 2023

The statistics for the 2022-2023 school year for BCPS show that 73,677 students now qualify for FARMS (Free/Reduced Price Meals). This means that 66.38%, or two-thirds of all students in BCPS are now living in severe poverty.

Click here to see the statistics for every BCPS school.

The vast majority of these students, more than 70,000, live at 130% of the federal poverty guidelines, which in 2023, for a family of four people, is an annual income limit of no more than $36,075. Read more about Child Nutrition Programs Income Eligibility Guidelines at the USDA Food and Nutrition Service website.

According to the MIT Living Wage Calculator, in Baltimore County the income needed for basic expenses for a family of four people, before taxes, is now $106,000 a year. See the full chart and learn more by visiting the MIT Living Wage Calculator website.

Even though all BCPS students will be eligible to receive free school meals in the 2023-2024 school year, student eligibility for free/reduced price meals remains an essential indicator of poverty which guides our work.


Homelessness: as of late 2022, more than 2,000 students in BCPS were identified as experiencing homelessness.

Read the BCPS document on numbers of students identified as homeless by school.

Looking to educate yourself on the issue of Food Insecurity?

Data from the Youth Risk Behavior Survey shows that 30% of all high school students in Baltimore County experienced food insecurity – higher than the state average.  With the FARMS rate now up to 66% of all BCPS students (an increase from 43.7% of all students in 2018), hunger and food insecurity levels, and the physical and health disparities associated with them as indicated in sections of the report, are higher than ever now.

Read the report summary.

Read a Towson University report on the local economic benefits to increasing funding for food assistance. 



Every picture is worth a thousand words!

The map at left illustrates Baltimore County poverty rates, the concentration of children living in poverty across the county, and the locations of Network schools. Click on the map to enlarge it.

Dramatic Increases in Levels of Need

Poverty levels have been rising for many years in Baltimore County.  For example, in 2006, 14% of all students at Loch Raven High School qualified for FARMS.  Now, 56% of all students at this school qualify for FARMS.

Of the 169 schools reporting FARMS data, there are now only four schools in the entire system with student poverty levels of 10% or less.  More than 100 schools have poverty levels of 50% or higher.

In academic year 2022-23, all schools within the Network experienced increases in the percentages of students qualifying for Free/Reduced Price Meals. The current (as of Spring, 2023) statistics on FARMS eligibility within Network schools are shown below.

Note: the percentage of 100% indicates the school currently offers free breakfast and lunch to all students, implementing the Community Eligibility Provision.

SCHOOL % Students Eligible for FARMS  # Students Eligible for FARMS
Baltimore Highlands Elementary 100% 523
Featherbed Lane Elementary 100% 544
Halstead Academy 100% 515
Mars Estates Elementary 100% 316
Stemmers Run Middle 100% 838
Woodlawn Middle 99% 628
Carney Elementary 97% 507
Woodlawn High 92% 1670
Dundalk High 90% 1977
Loch Raven Academy 89% 696
Owings Mills Elementary 88% 662
Battle Monument School 83% 52
Owings Mills High 65% 788
Parkville High 62% 1373
Loch Raven High 56% 503
Pine Grove Middle 56% 517
Pine Grove Elementary 46% 235
Cockeysville Middle 41% 352
Sheppard Pratt Schools 36% 64
Dumbarton Middle 31% 341