Fiscal Year 2020 marks decade of declining participation in USDA’s Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)

Fiscal Year 2020 marks decade of declining participation in USDA’s Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)

USDA’s Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) provides supplemental food packages, nutrition education, breastfeeding support, and health care referrals at no cost to low-income pregnant and postpartum women, infants, and children up to 5 years of age who are at nutritional risk. Fiscal year (FY) 2020 marked the 10th consecutive fiscal year WIC participation declined. On average, 6.2 million people a month participated in WIC in FY 2020, which ended September 30, 2020, a 2-percent drop from FY 2019 and a 32-percent drop from 2010. About half of all participants in FY 2020 were children 1 through 4 years of age, while women (23 percent) and infants (25 percent) made up the other half of participants. The reduction in participation was more pronounced for women and infants than for children. Participation fell 5 percent for women and 4 percent for infants from the previous fiscal year, whereas the number of children participating fell by 1 percent. This chart is based on data available as of January 2021 that is subject to revision and appears in the USDA, Economic Research Service’s Food and Nutrition Assistance Landscape: Fiscal Year 2020 Annual Report, released in August 2021.


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