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WIC Racial-Ethnic Group Enrollment Data 2016

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Racial/Ethnic Data Used in the Report

WIC racial/ethnic data was collected as part of the WIC Participant and Program Characteristics (PC) 2016, 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 more than 1,800 WIC local agencies.

The state-reported racial/ethnic PC 2016 data contain WIC enrollment information for the five (5) racial categories required by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The PC 2016 report defines the five categories as: American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian, Black or African American, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, and White. Multiple racial identifications, which are reported as Two or More Races, are permitted. Together, these make up 99.8 percent of enrollment, with the remaining 0.2 percent as Race Not Reported. 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 redeem the food instruments issued during those time periods. Whereas, 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 2016 totaled 8,815,472*.  Of this total, Whites accounted for 5,168,190 (58.63%), Blacks/African Americans 1,829,374 (20.75%), American Indian/Alaskan Natives 906,698 (10.29%), Multiple Race 508,750 (5.77%), Asians 317,604 (3.60%), Hawaiian/Pacific Islanders 69,882 (0.79%). The Race Not Reported category accounted for the remaining 14,974 (0.17%) of enrollment. Total Women enrolled in the WIC Program were 2,058,429 (23.35%), Infants 2,056,848 (23.33%), and Children 4,700,201 (53.32%).

*These data represent nearly complete counts of all Women, Infants, and Children enrolled in the WIC Program as of April 2016. Percents may not add to 100.0% and subtotals may not add to totals due to rounding and to the use of weights in the case of several state agencies that either under or over reported the number of participants. For a more complete discussion of the WIC reporting system and analytic methodology, please see the above report, which is available at:

Updated: 07/18/2019