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Findings from the National Agricultural Workers Survey (NAWS) 2019-2020: A Demographic and Employment Profile of United States Farmworkers (Research Report No. 16)

Release Date

Jun 03, 2022

Publication Author(s)

  • Employment and Training Administration
  • JBS International, Inc.
  • Amanda Gold
  • Susan Gabbard
  • Wenson Fung
  • U.S. Department of Labor
  • Daniel Carroll

Research Methodology

  • Quantitative Analysis

Populations

  • Adult
  • Farm Workers
  • National Farmworker Jobs Program
  • Wagner-Peyser/Employment Service (ES) Program

States & Territories

  • All 50 states and three territories

Abstract

This report is the sixteenth in a series on hired crop workers' demographic and employment characteristics. Its findings are based on 2,172 interviews that were conducted in fiscal years 2019 and 2020. The report's nine chapters summarize national-level findings on key characteristics, including place of birth and legal status; education and language skills; housing and transportation; job characteristics and employment experience; income and assets; and health insurance coverage.

Most hired crop workers are foreign-born. In 2019-2020, 63 percent of crop workers were born in Mexico, 30 percent in the United States or Puerto Rico, 5 percent in Central America, and 2 percent in other regions. Fifty-six percent of hired crop workers had authorization to work in the United States, compared to 63 percent in 2017-2018.

The NAWS portrays a crop labor force that is aging and settling in one place with families that include U.S.-born children. In 2019-2020, the average age of crop workers was 41 and 19 percent were 55 or older. Only 15 percent of crop workers had migrated (traveled more than 75 miles between jobs or between their residence and a job) sometime in the year prior to their interview. Among all crop workers, 57 percent were married and 50 percent had children.

Crop workers were employed, on average, 39 weeks in farm jobs in the previous 12 months. They worked an average of 46 hours in the previous week at their current farm job. The majority were paid by the hour at their current farm job (82%) and averaged $13.59 per hour. Mean and median personal incomes the previous year were $20,000 to $24,999, while mean and median total family incomes were $25,000 to $29,999. A fifth of crop workers had below-poverty-level incomes (20%), and less than half had health insurance (48%).

The NAWS portrays a farm labor market characterized by an experienced labor force that largely intends to continue working in agriculture. In 2019-2020, only 1 percent of crop workers were foreign-born newcomers in their first year of U.S. farm work. Eighty-three percent of crop workers worked for only 1 farm employer in the previous 12 months, 11 percent worked for 2 employers, and 6 percent had 3 or more employers. On average, crop workers had been with their current employer 8 years. The majority of crop workers expected to continue doing farm work for more than 5 years (79%).

Final Report