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Rural Migration Blog

May 13, 2021

Top-down Farm Worker Estimates

How many farm workers are there in each state? This is a surprisingly difficult question to answer. A farm worker is usually defined as a person who works for wages on a farm, whether for one day or for 365 days. There are many types of farm workers, from field workers who harvest crops for a few weeks or months to equipment operators and irrigators to supervisors, mechanics, and those who work with animals year-round.

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Farm Worker Wages and Employment: COA and QCEW

The two major sources of data on farm worker employment and wages are the Census of Agriculture and the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages. The COA reported that expenses for farm labor were $39 billion in 2017, while the QCEW reported that wages paid to crop and livestock farm workers (NAICS 111, 112, 1151, and 1152) were $40 billion.

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World wine in 2020

World wine production exceeded wine consumption in 2020, putting downward pressure on wine prices. Global wine production was 260 million hectoliters or 6.9 billion gallons in 2020, while wine consumption was 235 million hectoliters or 6.2 billion gallons (one hectoliter is 26.4 gallons).

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April 22, 2021

Lessons from Guest Worker Programs

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

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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