Nearly 80,000 less people are receiving Women, Infants and Children (WIC) benefits in California, according to the most recent federal data through November 2016.
That's a decrease of almost seven percent compared to November 2015. Low-income pregnant women, new mothers and children under 5 are eligible for WIC benefits.
Marianne Page, Deputy Director of the Center for Poverty Research at University of California, Davis said a slight decline in the state's unemployment rate may have something to do with lower WIC enrollment.
"If there’s more work opportunities, that’s going to increase independence," Page said.
The state's unemployment rate is 5.2 percent as of December 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. It was 5.8 percent in December 2015.
The state's Department of Public Health notes that there are a variety of factors behind the WIC decline.
The department cites the recent decline and leveling off in the birth rate -- especially among Hispanics -- and the fact that more women are waiting to have children at an older age.