The share of students who are economically disadvantaged. Economic disadvantage is based on a student's participation in social safety net programs.
This measure not only shows the proportion of students and families with low incomes in an area, it is also an indication of the potential challenges facing schools as they work to educate children who have fewer resources.
In 2023, 47% of students in Essex County were economically disadvantaged, above the statewide rate of 42%. Essex County's rate has increased from 28% in 2015, rising at a similar rate to the state.
Of the 39 school districts and charter schools in Essex County with data in 2023, 19 had economically disadvantaged students make up more than 25% of their student body, and 10 had rates of 50% or more. The Lawrence School District had the highest rate in Essex County at 86%, followed by the Lawrence Family Development Charter at 76%. The Lynn School District and the Community Day Charter Public School-Prospect both had the next highest rates of 74%.
Essex County had an economically disadvantaged rate that was 16 percentage points higher than Middlesex County (31%). Middlesex has increased by 14 percentage points from 2015 to 2023, in comparison to Essex's 19 points.
Data is from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Students are considered economically disadvantaged if they participate in one or more of the following state-administered programs: the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP); the Transitional Assistance for Families with Dependent Children (TAFDC); the Department of Children and Families' (DCF) foster care program; and MassHealth (Medicaid). It is important to note that a lower share of students is identified as economically disadvantaged under this measure than was identified under the previously used free or reduced-price lunch measure. National data is not available for this measure.