Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

WIC Participant and Program Characteristics 2020

Resource type
Research
Research type
Participation Characteristics
Resource Materials
PDF Icon Summary (207.16 KB)
PDF Icon Final Report (21.72 MB)
PDF Icon Appendices (6.81 MB)

Since 1988, FNS has produced biennial reports on WIC participant and program characteristics (PC) for use in program monitoring and managing WIC information needs. The PC 2020 report summarizes demographic, income and health-related characteristics and behaviors of participants certified to receive WIC benefits in April 2020.

The data for this report are based on WIC administrative records collected from all 89 WIC state agencies (50 states, the District of Columbia, five U.S. territories, and 33 Indian Tribal Organizations). PC 2020 represents information on a census of WIC participants with active certifications during April 2020. As a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, FNS replicated the PC 2020 data collection methods to capture active certifications in November 2020 among a convenience sample of nine large state agencies across the FNS regions.

Key Findings:
  • Seven million women, infants and children were certified to receive WIC benefits in April 2020, a decline of 10.2 percent from April 2018.
  • In 2020, the percent of infant participants breastfed after birth was 71.6 percent; 22.1 percent were breastfed at age 6 months.
  • More than half (64.3 percent) of participants reported an income below 100 percent of the Federal Poverty Guideline in 2020 compared to 69.5 percent in 2018.
  • Rates of low hemoglobin or hematocrit among children declined with age and were consistently highest among African American children.
  • Between April 2020 and November 2020, the number of individuals certified to receive WIC benefits across nine state agencies decreased by 2.3 percent. However, in seven of the nine states, the total number of children participating increased.
WIC Interactive Graphics
WIC Participation, 1992–2020
Participant household income as a percentage of federal poverty guidelines, 2020
Broad Categories of Assigned Nutritional Risks, 2020
WIC Participation, 1992–2020Participant household income as a percentage of federal poverty guidelines, 2020Broad Categories of Assigned Nutritional Risks, 2020
 
Breastfeeding Initiation Rates by State, 2004-2020
Rates of Obesity Among 2- to 4-year-old Children by State, 1992-2020
 
 Breastfeeding Initiation Rates by State, 2004-2020Rates of Obesity Among
2- to 4-year-old Children by State, 1992-2020
 

 

Page updated: November 01, 2023