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Nutrition programs projected to account for 80 percent of outlays under the Agricultural Act of 2014

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The new U.S. farm bill, the Agricultural Act of 2014, was signed on February 7, 2014 and will remain in force through 2018. The 2014 Act makes major changes in commodity programs, adds new crop insurance options, streamlines conservation programs, modifies provisions of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and expands programs for specialty crops, organic farmers, bioenergy, rural development, and beginning farmers and ranchers. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projects that 80 percent of outlays under the 2014 Farm Act will fund nutrition programs, 8 percent will fund crop insurance programs, 6 percent will fund conservation programs, 5 percent will fund commodity programs, and the remaining 1 percent will fund all other programs, including trade, credit, rural development, research and extension, forestry, energy, horticulture, and miscellaneous programs. Find this chart and additional information on the new U.S. farm bill on the Farm Bill Resources pages.

Fewer women, infants, and children are participating in USDA's WIC program

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

USDA’s Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) provides eligible low-income women, infants, and children up to age 5 with free supplemental foods, nutrition education, and health care referrals. In fiscal 2013, an average of 8.7 million people per month participated in the program—3 percent less than the previous year and the largest 1-year decrease since the program began in 1974. Reflecting the continued decrease in U.S. births that began in 2008, the number of infants and women in the program each fell by 2 percent, and the number of children fell by 4 percent. This marked the third consecutive year—and only the third time in the program’s history—that participation for all three groups fell. Fiscal 2013 spending on the program totaled $6.4 billion—a 6-percent decrease from the previous fiscal year. This chart appears in ERS’s The Food Assistance Landscape, FY 2013 Annual Report released on February 20, 2014.

WIC program benefits from large rebates on infant formula

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

USDA’s Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) provides eligible low-income women, infants, and children with supplemental foods, nutrition education, and referrals for health care and other social services. Fiscal year 2013 expenditures for WIC totaled $6.4 billion and 8.7 million individuals (including 2 million infants) were served. To reduce costs, Federal law requires that WIC State agencies enter into cost-containment contracts with infant formula manufacturers. Typically, a manufacturer is given the exclusive right to provide its formula to WIC participants in the State in exchange for a rebate for each can of formula purchased through the program. These rebates are large; for milk-based powder—the predominant type of formula used in WIC—the average rebate was 92 percent of the manufacturer’s wholesale price for contracts in place in February 2013. Twenty States and the District of Columbia received rebates of 95 percent or more. The statistics in this chart are from the ERS report, Trends in Infant Formula Rebate Contracts: Implications for the WIC Program, December 2013.

Number of WIC participants fell in 2011 and program costs rose

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Federal spending for USDA's Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) totaled $7.2 billion in fiscal 2011-8 percent more than in the previous year. WIC helps safeguard the health of low-income pregnant, breastfeeding, and postpartum women, and infants and children up to age 5 who are at nutritional risk, by providing a package of supplemental foods, nutrition education, and health care referrals. Fifty-three percent of 2011 participants were children, 23 percent were infants, and 23 percent were women. Reflecting the continued decline in U.S. births in recent years, participation by all three groups decreased by 2 to 3 percent in fiscal 2011. The decrease in the number of participants was more than offset by a 13-percent increase in per person food costs. This chart appears in The Food Assistance Landscape, FY 2011 Annual Report, EIB-93, March 2012.

Rebates allow more people to participate in WIC

Monday, September 12, 2011

USDA's Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) is the largest purchaser of infant formula in the U.S. Each State awards a sole-source contract to a formula manufacturer to provide its product to WIC participants. In exchange, the manufacturer provides the State with a large rebate (averaging about 85 percent of the wholesale price) for each can of formula purchased through the program. In fiscal year 2009, WIC received $1.9 billion in rebates from formula manufacturers, supporting almost 25 percent of the WIC caseload that year. This chart is from the September 2011 issue of Amber Waves magazine.

Number of infants and women participating in WIC falls

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) helps safeguard the health of low-income pregnant, breastfeeding, and postpartum women as well as infants and children up to age 5 who are at nutritional risk, by providing a package of supplemental foods, nutrition education, and health care referrals. During fiscal 2010, spending for WIC totaled $6.8 billion or 4 percent more than in fiscal 2009. An average 9.2 million people per month participated in the program, or 1 percent more than in the previous fiscal year. The number of children participating increased 3 percent, while the number of women and infants each decreased 2 percent from the previous year, reflecting the decrease in U.S. births in 2009. Monthly per person food costs averaged $41.55 after rebates or 2 percent less than the previous fiscal year. This chart was originally published in The Food Assistance Landscape, FY 2010, EIB-6-8, March 2011.

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