Friday, April 9, 2010

WIC Eligibility by State: A New Interactive Report

This year Congress will reauthorize the Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act, which authorizes all of the federal school meal and child nutrition programs. These programs provide the funding necessary to ensure that low-income children have access to healthy and nutritious foods. One of the components of this act, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Woman, Infants, and Children (WIC) provides nutritious foods, health care referrals, and education about nutrition to families with incomes under 185 percent of the federal poverty level and who are found to be at nutritional risk.

A new interactive report by the Urban Institute shows the number and portion of children by state (and congressional district) who are eligible for WIC based on their family’s income. This is a great tool for policymakers to see how many children in their states are growing up in low-income families and who are potentially at nutritional risk. The report also serves as a useful tool for policymakers as they consider the importance of policies that contribute to the healthy development of children in their states. According to the report, in 14 states 45-54 percent of children ages 0-4 were income-eligible for WIC. In another 19 states 37-44 percent of children were income-eligible. These numbers do not include children who are adjunct-eligible (eligible automatically through TANF, SNAP or Medicaid), therefore, the Urban Institute estimates the number of eligible children would actually increase by approximately 2.8 million children if those who were adjunct-eligible were included in the report.

To see the Urban Institutes full interactive report.

For policies to ensure that Children are Healthy and Prepared to Succeed in School.