The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) is a federal grant program that provides access to food, nutrition information, and health care referrals to women and children, from pregnancy through the time the child reaches the age of five years. A woman’s or infant’s eligibility to participate in WIC is based on the caregiver’s income, as well as the child’s medical or dietary status. Participating in WIC is associated with lower levels of infant mortality, better cognitive development for the child as well as more nutritious diets.
The estimates reported in the State of Babies Yearbook: 2022 reflect 2018 data. The USDA changed the way the number of infants eligible for WIC is calculated, so the data presented in the State of Babies Yearbook: 2022 are not directly comparable with the data in previous yearbooks. The source report has recalculated estimates for previous years to facilitate comparisons over time. The estimated coverage rates exceed 100 percent for infants in Alabama, Alaska, Connecticut, Hawaii, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. This is likely a result of sampling variability in the survey data used to estimate the number of eligible individuals in those states (the denominator for the rate).
U.S. Department of Agriculture. Food and Nutrition Service. (2021). About WIC. https://www.fns.usda.gov/wic/about-wic
Black, M. M., Cutts, D. B., Frank, D. A., Geppert, J., Skalicky, A., Levenson, S., Casey, P. H., Berkowitz, C., Zaldivar, N., Cook, J. T., Meyers, A. F., Herren, T., & Children’s Sentinel Nutritional Assessment Program Study Group. F. (2004). Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children participation and infants’ growth and health: A multisite surveillance study. Pediatrics, 114(1), 169-176. https://doi.org/10.1542/peds.114.1.169
Carlson, S., & Neuberger, Z. (2021). WIC works: Addressing the nutrition and health needs of low-income families for more than Four Decades. Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. https://www.cbpp.org/research/food-assistance/wic-works-addressing-the-nutrition-and-health-needs-of-low-income-families
USDA Food and Nutrition Service (2021). WIC eligibility and coverage rates – 2018. https://www.fns.usda.gov/wic/eligibility-and-coverage-rates-2018#5