WIC Participant and Program Characteristics 2016, 2018, and 2020

Project Overview

The goal of this 5-year study is to collect and compile data on participant and program characteristics to support the management, evaluation, and improvement of the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). WIC provides supplemental nutritious foods, nutrition education, and breastfeeding promotion and support, as well as referrals to other services, for low-income, nutritionally at-risk pregnant, breastfeeding, and postpartum women; infants; and children up to age 5.

The study includes three key components:

  1. Collect, evaluate, clean, and compile data generated from state WIC Management Information Systems.
  2. Create a nationally descriptive data file on a census of WIC participants from the 90 WIC state agencies, which represent the 50 states, the District of Columbia, 5 territories, and 34 Indian Tribal Organizations.
  3. Analyze data and produce summary reports of participant characteristics and food packages.

WIC Participant and Program Characteristics (PC) 2016, 2018, and 2020 will continue the compilation of WIC PC data that began in 1984 and became biennial starting in 1988, making these the latest such reports to help the Food and Nutrition Service address the need for program information on WIC. These reports are based on a complete census of all individuals certified to participate in WIC during April of the reference year. Major topics addressed in the reports are the demographic, income, and nutritional risk characteristics of WIC participants; national estimates of breastfeeding initiation and duration for infants; and food package data.

WIC PC data and analyses help inform budget estimation, research needs, and reporting requirements; help drive policy and procedural changes over time; and are used by researchers and policymakers addressing the needs of women, infants, and children under WIC.

Core Activities

Data Collection; Complex Data Analysis; Database Development; Public Use Files; Report Development and Presentation


  • Report on WIC participant and program characteristics (expected October 2017, October 2019, and October 2021)
  • Report on WIC food packages (expected December 2017, December 2019, and December 2021)
  • Set of data analysis files (expected August 2017, August 2019, and August 2021)