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. Additional translations services available as well.

In accordance with federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex (including gender identity and sexual orientation), disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity.

Program information may be made available in languages other than English. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication to obtain program information (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language), should contact the responsible state or local agency that administers the program or USDA’s TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TTY) or contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339.

To file a program discrimination complaint, a Complainant should complete a Form AD-3027, USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form which can be obtained online at:, from any USDA office, by calling (866) 632-9992, or by writing a letter addressed to USDA. The letter must contain the complainant’s name, address, telephone number, and a written description of the alleged discriminatory action in sufficient detail to inform the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights (ASCR) about the nature and date of an alleged civil rights violation. The completed AD-3027 form or letter must be submitted to USDA by:

1. Mail:
U.S. Department of Agriculture
Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20250-9410; or
2. Fax: (833) 256-1665 or (202) 690-7442; or
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