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National and State Level Estimates of WIC Eligibility and Program Reach in 2019

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Participation Characteristics
Participation Rates
Program Access
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PDF Icon Summary (347.39 KB)

This report, the latest in a series of annual reports on WIC eligibility, presents 2019 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

  • The average monthly WIC-eligible population totaled 10.99 million in 2019, a decrease from the estimate of 11.99 million in 2018.
  • In the average month of 2019, WIC served an estimated 57.4 percent of those eligible for WIC, an increase from the estimate for 2018 (56.3 percent).
  • Consistent with the results from the past decade, the coverage rates for WIC-eligible infants and non-breastfeeding postpartum women were highest among WIC participant subgroups in 2019, while the coverage rate for WIC-eligible children continued to lag behind other groups.
  • Coverage rates were highest for Hispanic (67 percent) and non-Hispanic Black (62 percent) WIC-eligible individuals and lowest for non-Hispanic White WIC-eligible individuals (46 percent).

In March 2022, the report volumes were updated with improved national-level standard errors and margins of errors in some report and appendix tables. None of the point estimates for the number of eligible individuals or coverage rates required revision; only some standard errors and margins of error were revised.

Page updated: May 07, 2024