Despite the benefits associated with the Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), over 1 in 4 eligible infants and 6 in 10 eligible children do not receive WIC. The reasons for these high rates of non-participation are analyzed in this paper through a comparison of the short- and long-run economic health of (a) WIC recipients, (b) persons who have left WIC, and (c) persons who have never entered the program despite being eligible for benefits. Using data from the 1996 panel of the Survey of Income and Program Participation, I find that in both the short- and long-run, infants and children who have left WIC are better-off than those staying on WIC and infants and children who never receive WIC are better off than both those on WIC and those who have left WIC. However, in absolute terms, a large number of non-recipients remain eligible and seemingly in need of WIC. This is especially true for infants who have left WIC- on average, in any month, over 35% have incomes below the poverty line; almost 20% have incomes below 50% of the poverty line; almost a third receive food stamps; and over 80% remain eligible for WIC.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Sociology and Political Science