Economic Research Report No. (ERR-60) 65 pp

July 2008

Profile of Hired Farmworkers, A 2008 Update

Hired farmworkers make up a third of the total agricultural labor force and are critical to U.S. agricultural production, particularly in labor-intensive sectors such as fruits and vegetables. The hired farmworker labor market is unique because it includes a large population of relatively disadvantaged and often unauthorized workers, a portion of whom migrate to, and within, the United States. Recent economic and demographic trends, such as changing agricultural production methods that permit year-round employment, expanding immigrant populations in nonmetropolitan counties, and growing concerns over U.S. immigration policies, have elicited increased interest in hired farmworkers. This 2008 profile serves as an update to the 2000 Economic Research Service analysis of the 1998 Current Population Survey using current data with expanded sections on legal status, poverty, housing, and use of social services.

Keywords: Farmworkers, farm labor, hired farmworkers, agriculture, employment, wage and salary workers, immigration, farm labor, agriculture, migrant, immigrant, farm structure, demography, legal status, employment, poverty, housing, social services, health

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