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States with fewest participants in School Lunch Program

These states had the fewest students taking part in the federal government's National School Lunch Program.

Millions of students throughout the United States get meals through the National School Lunch Program.

The numbers of students who took part in the program in fiscal 2016 range from more than 3.3 million in Texas to 48,418 in Vermont.

The federally assisted meal program operates in more than 100,000 public and nonā€profit private schools and residential child care institutions, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food and Nutrition Service.

The most recent statistics measuring participation in the program show that in fiscal 2016, 30,389,830 children received meals through the program; that is a slight decrease from the 30,490,032 who received meals in fiscal 2015. (The numbers are based on nine-month averages from September through May, the department says.)

Here are the 10 states with the fewest number of participants in the lunch program.

RankStateParticipants in School Lunch Program, Fiscal 2016Participants in School Lunch Program, Fiscal 2015Percentage change
1Vermont48,41849,159-1.5%
2Wyoming50,87651,854-1.9%
3Alaska52,48053,617-2.1%
4District of Columbia53,88652,6682.3%
5Rhode Island77,88276,2542.1%
6Montana82,74781,8721.1%
7New Hampshire85,94688,737-3.1%
8North Dakota91,37490,3551.1%
9Delaware98,52897,9950.5%
10Maine99,422100,272-0.8%
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