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WIC Racial-Ethnic Group Enrollment Data 2012

Resource type
Research Data

Racial/Ethnic Data Used in the Report

WIC racial/ethnic data was collected as part of a study, WIC Participant and Program Characteristics 2012, conducted by Insight Policy Research and Abt Associates for the Food and Nutrition Service. Data was reported by 90 WIC State agencies based on reports submitted by 1,850 WIC local agencies.

The State-maintained automated system of racial/ethnicity from the PC 2012 data set contained WIC enrollment information from six (6) categories, which made up 99.2 percent of enrollment. The 6 categories were: American Indian, Asian, Black, Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, White, and Multiple Race. The remaining 0.7 percent was found in the No Race Reported category. Caution should be used in comparing results across groups; missing data must always be considered in gauging differences between, among, or across groups or categories of WIC participants.

Please note that WIC enrollment differs from WIC participation. WIC enrollment is defined as individuals certified to receive WIC benefits for specific time periods, including individuals who did not claim or use the food instruments issued during those time periods. WIC participation is defined in program regulations as the number of individuals who picked up food instruments during the designated time periods.


Enrollment for the WIC Program in April 2012 totaled 9,734,468*. Of this total, Whites accounted for 5,664,332 (58.2%), Blacks 1,927,548 (19.8%), American Indian 1,191,137 (12.2%), Multiple Race 499,196 (5.1%), Asian 297,724 (3.1%), Hawaiian/Pacific Islander 81,735 (0.8%). The Race Not Reported category accounted for the remaining 72,797 (0.7%) of enrollment.

Total Women enrolled in the WIC Program were 2,300,065 (23.6%), Infants 2,240,045 (23.0%), and Children 5,194,358 (53.4%).


Racial/Ethnic Participant Data
Table I - Composition of Racial/Ethnic Participant Enrollment(Excel)(PDF)
Table II - Total Racial/Ethnic Participant Enrollment(Excel)(PDF)
Table III - Composition of Ethnic Participant Enrollment(Excel)(PDF)
Table IV - Total Ethnic Enrollment by Region and State(Excel)(PDF)
Pie Chart of Racial/Ethnic Participant Enrollment (PDF)

* These data represent nearly complete counts of all Women, Infants, and Children participating in the WIC Program as of April 2012. In a small number of cases, analytic weights continue to be needed to achieve accurate representation of each State and local agency caseload. The use of weights may result in individual counts being reported with decimal places. The report only uses whole numbers of individuals. Minor differences (3-6 individuals, depending on the level of aggregation) between counts reported here and counts reported in the WIC Participant and Program Characteristics 2012 are due to rounding. For a more complete discussion of the WIC reporting system and analytic methodology, please see the above report, which is available at:

Page updated: July 09, 2024