The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) provides supplemental nutritious foods, nutrition education (including breastfeeding promotion and support), and referrals to health care and other social services at no charge. WIC serves low-income pregnant, postpartum, and breastfeeding women, infants, and children up to age 5 who are at nutritional risk. Because WIC is a Federal grant program for which Congress authorizes a specific amount of funds each year, the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) requires estimates of the total number of individuals eligible for the program to anticipate funding needs.
This report provides estimates of the population that met WIC eligibility criteria in 2011. National eligibility is shown for each categorical subpopulation: infants, children age 1 through 4 by single year of age, pregnant women, postpartum women who are breastfeeding, and postpartum women who are not breastfeeding. The ratio of program participants to eligibles, defined as the coverage rate, is provided for all WIC participants and for these subpopulations. The report also shows trends in the estimated growth in WIC eligible and coverage rates from 2000 through 2011. Estimates of WIC eligibility are provided for the seven FNS regions and each State for 2011.