The number of Iowa residents taking part in the federal nutrition program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) declined 8.5 percent from fiscal years 2015 to 2019, the U.S. Food and Nutrition Service reported.

The participants receiving supplemental nutritional benefits numbered 63,481 in FY 2015, compared to 58,064 in FY 2019, a drop of 5,417. As a percentage of population, the decrease in Iowa was the second smallest 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.

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WIC Participation Rates, State by State

State / Indian TribeFY 2015FY 2016FY 2017FY 2018FY 2019 (Preliminary)Participation Decrease, FY 2015 to FY 2019% Decrease, FY 2015 to FY 2019% Decrease Rank
Wyoming10,99510,78310,1599,0627,9613,03427.6%1
New Mexico55,23451,90249,97546,18740,48714,74726.7%2
California1,265,0051,174,8751,080,2411,009,492929,173335,83226.5%3
Illinois247,594225,159211,367199,360182,34165,25326.4%4
South Carolina114,562107,25799,33292,15384,59629,96626.2%5
Utah58,99556,58453,74848,98943,64615,34926.0%6
Tennessee150,116143,730136,303127,814112,15537,96125.3%7
Idaho40,50639,01036,52633,71731,0009,50623.5%8
Georgia264,299253,653237,224217,695202,91561,38423.2%9
Washington176,133168,878157,453145,015135,29740,83623.2%10
Texas886,409859,819821,873746,246681,555204,85423.1%11
Kansas62,85058,95554,13550,68148,53614,31422.8%12
West Virginia41,70140,39138,31535,41232,6749,02721.6%13
Virginia139,632132,404122,185113,952109,46930,16321.6%14
Ohio244,201234,719221,746208,955192,57451,62721.1%15
Missouri134,780127,551119,620114,323106,73328,04720.8%16
Arkansas84,22080,55576,51973,60767,23116,98920.2%17
Louisiana128,935127,387119,747112,362103,17025,76520.0%18
Maine21,78120,80619,36418,32017,4754,30619.8%19
New York471,869459,101435,382416,173378,94692,92319.7%20
Nevada73,14470,46766,62562,53158,74414,40019.7%21
Hawaii31,61630,11726,85626,11525,4156,20119.6%22
Kentucky116,179111,926107,885101,74394,29621,88318.8%23
Alaska19,68219,12118,18817,09215,9783,70418.8%24
Oklahoma112,892110,725105,84698,55191,65021,24218.8%25
District of Columbia14,52614,36313,58012,46611,8442,68218.5%26
Pennsylvania245,979237,205226,060218,188202,16743,81217.8%27
Vermont13,73312,75611,55811,42711,3212,41217.6%28
Oregon98,30492,79289,53485,77481,22617,07817.4%29
New Hampshire14,70514,12113,06412,33212,1632,54217.3%30
Wisconsin105,504100,15295,95892,48787,66617,83816.9%31
North Carolina248,860241,288230,660221,719207,35141,50916.7%32
New Jersey161,664155,285147,937141,568134,93626,72816.5%33
Minnesota119,403116,031111,121105,961100,12319,28016.1%34
Michigan244,829234,546224,106213,964205,36439,46516.1%35
Arizona167,072163,998153,510149,513141,95925,11315.0%36
Montana18,47618,29617,44516,68215,7542,72214.7%37
Maryland142,841139,576132,843128,542122,56920,27214.2%38
South Dakota19,47419,12018,36717,66716,7302,74414.1%39
Delaware18,99818,09717,16216,79716,3582,64013.9%40
Rhode Island20,72820,37519,50118,95017,9622,76613.3%41
Alabama132,133129,160123,993120,605115,41016,72312.7%42
Mississippi89,44984,86783,85785,44979,10610,34311.6%43
Florida483,811481,520468,867450,624429,37854,43311.3%44
Connecticut51,29549,15547,83047,29745,7675,52810.8%45
Indiana154,485147,906143,975143,730138,61115,87410.3%46
Colorado90,95486,99984,58285,25881,9069,0489.9%47
Nebraska37,60138,12537,44035,83333,9893,6129.6%48
Massachusetts113,262114,419112,763108,593103,3159,9478.8%49
Iowa63,48161,16361,99660,24958,0645,4178.5%50
North Dakota12,41512,88412,72912,31311,4051,0108.1%51
TOTAL8,023,7427,696,4397,286,1616,870,1286,400,2381,623,50420.2%--

Source: U.S. Food and Nutrition Service