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National- and State-Level Estimates of WIC Eligibility and WIC Program Reach in 2017

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Participation Characteristics
Participation Rates
Program Access
Resource Materials

​​This report, the latest in a series of annual reports on WIC eligibility, presents 2017 national and state estimates of the number of people eligible for WIC benefits and the percents of the eligible population and the US population covered by the program, including estimates by participant category.

The report also provides estimates by region, state, U.S. territory, and race and ethnicity.

Key findings include:

  • The average monthly WIC-eligible population totaled 14.1 million in 2017, a statistically significant decrease from the estimate of 15.1 million in 2015.
  • In the average month of 2017, WIC served an estimated 51.1 percent of those eligible for WIC, a statistically significant decrease from the 52.7 percent coverage rate for 2015.
  • Consistent with the results from the past decade, the coverage rates for WIC-eligible infants (79 percent) and non-breastfeeding postpartum women (96 percent) were highest among WIC participant subgroups in 2017, while the coverage rate for WIC-eligible children (42 percent) continued to lag behind other groups.
Page updated: May 07, 2024