Food Assistance & Nutrition Research Program No. (FANRR-34-3) 2 pp

July 2003

Food Assistance Research Brief-Estimating Eligibility and Participation in WIC

The number of participants in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) has increased dramatically since the program began in 1974. The increase in the number of participants has been largely the result of increased congressional funding as well as cost-containment measures. USDA's annual estimates of the number of people eligible to participate in the WIC program are used to develop budget requests for WIC. Estimation of eligibility and participation is a complex process, due to data limitations, varying State program eligibility criteria, and alternate definitions of key variables.

Keywords: WIC, Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, food assistance programs, nutrition, food security, child nutrition, eligibility, program participation, poor families

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Last updated: Tuesday, July 15, 2003

For more information, contact: Victor Oliveira and James R. Blaylock