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Area Eligibility Using Census Data

Use census data to determine area eligibility in the Child and Adult Care Food Census Eligibility Map for CACFPProgram (CACFP), Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), Summer Seamless Option (SSO) and Afterschool Care Program (ASCP). Census data may be used to determine area eligibility for CACFP day care homes and certain SFSP, SSO, and ASCP sites. Eligibility is established when census data indicates that at least 50 percent of the children residing in the area are members of households that meet the income standards for free or reduced-price meals.

CACFP day care homes and SFSP, SSO, and ASCP sites may be determined area eligible using either Census Block Groups (CBGs) or Census Tracts. Census Tracts are geographical units that consist of one or more CBGs. Additionally, based on analysis of the proposed location, and with Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) approval, up to two adjacent CBGs may be averaged with the CBG of the day care home or site location, using a weighted average, to determine eligibility. 

Therefore, CACFP day care homes and SFSP, SSO, and ASCP sites are considered area eligible if:

  • 50 percent or more of the children in a CBG are eligible for free or reduced-price school meals; 
  • 50 percent or more of the children in a Census Tract are eligible for free or reduced-price school meals; or
  • The percentage of children eligible for free or reduced-price meals in the "referent" CBG and up to two adjacent CBGs, when averaged, is 50 percent or more, provided that at least 40 percent of children in each of the individual CBGs are eligible for free or reduced-price meals, as described above.

Area eligibility determinations based on census data are effective for five years.

How to Use Census Data to Determine Eligibility

Click here for instructions for determining eligibility using census data. The instructions offer two different tools to determine eligibility: the FNS Area Eligibility Mapper and a map developed by the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC). The FRAC map is constructed from the same data files and also may be used to determine eligibility. You will also find in the Instructions guidance for submitting requests to TDA when combining CBGs to determine eligibility.

If you need assistance, please contact TDA at (877) TEX-MEAL (877-839-6325).

Assistance available in English and Spanish. Please call 877-TEX-MEAL (877-839-6325) for help.

In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA.

Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.), should contact the Agency (State or local) where they applied for benefits. Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.

To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027) found online at: How to File a Complaint, and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by:

U.S. Department of Agriculture
Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20250-9410
Fax: (202) 690-7442; or
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Texas Department of Agriculture Logo

Texas Department of Agriculture

Commissioner Sid Miller

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