Participation in federal nutrition program in Texas drops 23.1% over 5 years

The number of Texas residents taking part in the federal nutrition program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) declined 23.1 percent from fiscal years 2015 to 2019, the U.S. Food and Nutrition Service reported.

The participants receiving supplemental nutritional benefits numbered 886,409 in FY 2015, compared to 681,555 in FY 2019, a drop of 204,854. As a percentage of population, the decrease in Texas was the 11th largest among the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

To qualify for WIC, pregnant or breastfeeding women, as well as infants and children up to 5 years old, must not come from households whose incomes exceed 185 percent of the U.S. poverty threshold. For a family of four, a household cannot earn more than $47,638 annually to take part in the program.

Participants also must be deemed at “nutritional risk.” The risk may involve medical conditions such as being underweight or having anemia, or they can result from poor diet, according to the Food and Nutrition Service.

Nationwide, WIC participation declined 20.2 percent over the five-year period, from just over 8 million in FY 2015 to 6.4 million in FY 2019. That’s a drop of more than 1.6 million participants, according to federal data released in January.


WIC Participation Rates, State by State

State / Indian Tribe FY 2015 FY 2016 FY 2017 FY 2018 FY 2019 (Preliminary) Participation Decrease, FY 2015 to FY 2019 % Decrease, FY 2015 to FY 2019 % Decrease Rank
Wyoming 10,995 10,783 10,159 9,062 7,961 3,034 27.6% 1
New Mexico 55,234 51,902 49,975 46,187 40,487 14,747 26.7% 2
California 1,265,005 1,174,875 1,080,241 1,009,492 929,173 335,832 26.5% 3
Illinois 247,594 225,159 211,367 199,360 182,341 65,253 26.4% 4
South Carolina 114,562 107,257 99,332 92,153 84,596 29,966 26.2% 5
Utah 58,995 56,584 53,748 48,989 43,646 15,349 26.0% 6
Tennessee 150,116 143,730 136,303 127,814 112,155 37,961 25.3% 7
Idaho 40,506 39,010 36,526 33,717 31,000 9,506 23.5% 8
Georgia 264,299 253,653 237,224 217,695 202,915 61,384 23.2% 9
Washington 176,133 168,878 157,453 145,015 135,297 40,836 23.2% 10
Texas 886,409 859,819 821,873 746,246 681,555 204,854 23.1% 11
Kansas 62,850 58,955 54,135 50,681 48,536 14,314 22.8% 12
West Virginia 41,701 40,391 38,315 35,412 32,674 9,027 21.6% 13
Virginia 139,632 132,404 122,185 113,952 109,469 30,163 21.6% 14
Ohio 244,201 234,719 221,746 208,955 192,574 51,627 21.1% 15
Missouri 134,780 127,551 119,620 114,323 106,733 28,047 20.8% 16
Arkansas 84,220 80,555 76,519 73,607 67,231 16,989 20.2% 17
Louisiana 128,935 127,387 119,747 112,362 103,170 25,765 20.0% 18
Maine 21,781 20,806 19,364 18,320 17,475 4,306 19.8% 19
New York 471,869 459,101 435,382 416,173 378,946 92,923 19.7% 20
Nevada 73,144 70,467 66,625 62,531 58,744 14,400 19.7% 21
Hawaii 31,616 30,117 26,856 26,115 25,415 6,201 19.6% 22
Kentucky 116,179 111,926 107,885 101,743 94,296 21,883 18.8% 23
Alaska 19,682 19,121 18,188 17,092 15,978 3,704 18.8% 24
Oklahoma 112,892 110,725 105,846 98,551 91,650 21,242 18.8% 25
District of Columbia 14,526 14,363 13,580 12,466 11,844 2,682 18.5% 26
Pennsylvania 245,979 237,205 226,060 218,188 202,167 43,812 17.8% 27
Vermont 13,733 12,756 11,558 11,427 11,321 2,412 17.6% 28
Oregon 98,304 92,792 89,534 85,774 81,226 17,078 17.4% 29
New Hampshire 14,705 14,121 13,064 12,332 12,163 2,542 17.3% 30
Wisconsin 105,504 100,152 95,958 92,487 87,666 17,838 16.9% 31
North Carolina 248,860 241,288 230,660 221,719 207,351 41,509 16.7% 32
New Jersey 161,664 155,285 147,937 141,568 134,936 26,728 16.5% 33
Minnesota 119,403 116,031 111,121 105,961 100,123 19,280 16.1% 34
Michigan 244,829 234,546 224,106 213,964 205,364 39,465 16.1% 35
Arizona 167,072 163,998 153,510 149,513 141,959 25,113 15.0% 36
Montana 18,476 18,296 17,445 16,682 15,754 2,722 14.7% 37
Maryland 142,841 139,576 132,843 128,542 122,569 20,272 14.2% 38
South Dakota 19,474 19,120 18,367 17,667 16,730 2,744 14.1% 39
Delaware 18,998 18,097 17,162 16,797 16,358 2,640 13.9% 40
Rhode Island 20,728 20,375 19,501 18,950 17,962 2,766 13.3% 41
Alabama 132,133 129,160 123,993 120,605 115,410 16,723 12.7% 42
Mississippi 89,449 84,867 83,857 85,449 79,106 10,343 11.6% 43
Florida 483,811 481,520 468,867 450,624 429,378 54,433 11.3% 44
Connecticut 51,295 49,155 47,830 47,297 45,767 5,528 10.8% 45
Indiana 154,485 147,906 143,975 143,730 138,611 15,874 10.3% 46
Colorado 90,954 86,999 84,582 85,258 81,906 9,048 9.9% 47
Nebraska 37,601 38,125 37,440 35,833 33,989 3,612 9.6% 48
Massachusetts 113,262 114,419 112,763 108,593 103,315 9,947 8.8% 49
Iowa 63,481 61,163 61,996 60,249 58,064 5,417 8.5% 50
North Dakota 12,415 12,884 12,729 12,313 11,405 1,010 8.1% 51
TOTAL 8,023,742 7,696,439 7,286,161 6,870,128 6,400,238 1,623,504 20.2%

Source: U.S. Food and Nutrition Service

This article was first published by The Center Square.



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