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Farm Labor & Rural Migration News Blogs

Development and the Migration Hump

April 22, 2021

Development is a term applied to countries to assess their socio-economic well-being and to measure changes in well-being over time. The major indicator of development is the level and change in a country’s per capita income; other indicators include average life expectancy and average years of schooling.

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UN: 281 million migrants in 2020

April 22, 2021

The UN estimated that there were 281 million international migrants in 2020, making migrants 3.6 percent of the world’s 7.7 billion people. International migrants are persons outside their country of birth for a year or more.

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Lessons from Guest Worker Programs

April 22, 2021

Guest worker programs aim to add workers temporarily to the labor force without adding permanent residents to the population. Most countries have hire-local-workers-first policies, so they limit foreign workers to jobs that cannot be filled by local workers. Most 20th century programs were begun as temporary bridges to a future when guest workers would no longer be needed, as with Mexican Braceros in the US during WWII or Gastarbeiter in Germany in the 1960s.

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Migration and Development: The 3 R’s

April 22, 2021

Economic development, defined as increasing the standard of living for most individuals in a community and measured by a country’s average per capita income, ranged from under $500 per person in Burundi and Sudan to over $185,000 per person in Monaco in 2019, according to the World Bank. US per capita income was $65,000, and Mexico’s per capita income was $9,800.

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California: $50 billion farm sales in 2019

April 22, 2021

California’s 70,000 farms sold farm commodities worth $50 billion in 2019, almost twice the $28 billion in farm sales of Iowa.

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Labor Standards Enforcement in California Agriculture

March 19, 2021

California has a third of US farm workers and state labor standards laws that provide more protection for farm workers than federal laws. An analysis of 787 state labor law compliance investigations of California farms between 2016 and 2019 found that three-fourths of the farms owed back wages to their employees, and that most did not pay the back wages that were assessed by 2019.

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The Farm Workforce Modernization Act

March 19, 2021

The Farm Workforce Modernization Act (HR 1603) was re-introduced in March 2021 by Representatives Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) and Dan Newhouse (R-WA). The previous version of the FWMA, HR 5038, was introduced in October 2019 and approved by the House on a 260-165 vote in December 2019. Most farm organizations and worker advocates endorse the FWMA.

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Farm Labor and the Prosperity Paradox

March 19, 2021

Most of the world’s workers were employed in agriculture until the 20th century, when economic development in industrial countries pushed and pulled farmers and farm workers into nonfarm jobs, where wages are generally higher and most jobs offer benefits that range from health insurance to pensions. Youth growing up on farms are often attracted to the bright lights of cities for opportunity, explaining why there is far more rural-urban than international migration.

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Farm earnings over three decades

March 19, 2021

Between 1989 and 2019, the real hourly earnings of nonsupervisory US farm workers rose by 40 percent, twice as fast as the inflation-adjusted average hourly earnings of nonfarm production workers. Farm worker earnings data are collected by USDA’s Farm Labor Survey, and nonfarm production worker earnings by the BLS Current Employment Statistics program.

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International Migration in 2020

March 19, 2021

The UN defines international migrants as persons who cross national borders and stay outside their country of birth a year or more. The 281 million international migrants in 2020 were 3.6 percent of the world’s 7.7 billion people.

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