Method and apparatus for congestion control in a wireless communication system. In one embodiment, the status of a congestion bit indicates the type of adjustment, such as increase or decrease, to be performed at an access terminal to determine the next data rate for transmissions on the reverse link. The status of the congestion bit is determined by comparing a congestion parameter to a predetermined threshold. One embodiment implements an outerloop threshold having a margin with respect to the desired congestion metric threshold. The outerloop threshold is adjusted in response to comparing a measured congestion metric to the desired threshold. The outerloop threshold adjustment maintains the congestion metric to within a predetermined probability of exceeding the desired threshold.