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The National Agricultural Workers Survey

Findings from the National Agricultural Workers Survey (NAWS) 2001 - 2002
A Demographic and Employment Profile of United States Farm Workers

Chapter 6: Income, Assets, and Use of Public Programs

INDIVIDUAL and FAMILY INCOME; ASSETS in the UNITED STATES and FOREIGN COUNTRY; PAYMENTS from CONTRIBUTION-BASED PROGRAMS; ASSISTANCE from NEEDS-BASED PROGRAMS

Summary of Findings

  • Thirty percent of all farm workers had family incomes below the poverty guidelines.
  • Twenty percent of all farm workers either owned or were buying a home in the United States.
  • Twenty-two percent of all farm workers said that they or someone in their household had received some form of public assistance in the previous two years.

Income

NAWS respondents are asked three questions about U.S. income in the previous calendar year: what their individual income was from all sources; how much they made from farm work; and what the total family income was. For each question, the respondent is asked to indicate the range category that includes his/her income, rather than provide a specific sum. As such, average and median income ranges are reported.

For the two calendar-year period 2000-2001,[37] the average individual income range from all sources, as well as from farm work only, was $10,000 - $12,499 (fig. 6.1). The average total family income range was $15,000 - $17,499.[38] Based on the poverty guidelines that are issued each February by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and which are based on family size, 30 percent of all farm workers had total family incomes that were below the poverty guidelines.[39]

Figure 6.1  U.S. Individual Income from All Sources.  Note:  Sum of portions does not equal 100 percent because of rounding.

Income Range

$0 - $9999 equals 2 percent
$1,000 - $2,499 equals 4 percent
$2,500 - $4,999 equals 7 percent
$5,000 - $7,499 equals 11 percent
$7,500 - $9,999 equals 14 percent
$10,000 - $12,499 equals 19 percent
$12,500 - $14,999 equals 15 percent
$15,000 - $17,499 equals 9 percent
$17,500 - $19,999 equals 7 percent
$20,000 - $24,999 equals 6 percent
$25,000 - $29,999 equals 4 percent
$30,000 plus equals 3 percent

Figure 6.1 U.S. Individual Income from All Sources.
Note: Sum of portions does not equal 100 percent because of rounding.

In families of three or more, the likelihood of total family income being below the poverty guidelines increased with family size. Families of six were more than twice as likely to be living in poverty (50%) than were families of three (22%) (table 6.1). Married crop workers without children were less likely (14%) to be living in poverty than were parents (36%) or single workers (29%).

Table 6.1 Family Incomes Below Poverty, By Family Size

Family Size

 

Percent of Workers in Sample*

 

Percent of Family
Type in Poverty

Total

 

100%

 

( )

1

 

25%

 

26%

2

 

17%

 

16%

3

 

18%

 

22%

4

 

19%

 

39%

5

 

11%

 

37%

6

 

5%

 

50%

7+

 

4%

 

61%

*Note: Sum of portions does not equal 100 percent because of rounding.

Assets

NAWS respondents are asked about assets they own or are buying in the United States and, if foreign-born, in their home country. In 2001-2002, nearly three quarters (74%) of all farm workers stated that they owned or were buying at least one asset either in the United States or in their home country. The most commonly held asset in the United States was a car or truck (49%), followed by a home (17%), land (4%), and mobile home (3%). U.S.-born workers were more likely (38%) to own or be buying a home in the United States than were foreign-born workers (11%) (fig. 6.2).

Figure 6.2  Farm Workers' Assets in the United States.

Asset

Foreign-born
Mobile home equals 2 percent
Land equals 2 percent
Home equals 11 percent
Car or Truck equals 41 percent

U.S.- born
Mobile home equals 6 percent
Land equals 11 percent
Home equals 38 percent
Car or Truck equals 75 percent

All Workers
Mobile Home equals 3 percent
Land equals 4 percent
Home equals 17 percent
Car or Truck equals 49 percent

Figure 6.2 Farm Workers' Assets in the United States.

Foreign-born workers were more likely to own or be buying a home (43%) than either land (7%) or a car or truck (3%) in their native country (fig. 6.3). As a group, foreign-born international shuttle and international follow-the-crop migrants, i.e., those who traveled back and forth between the United States and a foreign country in the previous twelve months, were more likely to own or be buying land in their native country (22%) than were the foreign-born newcomers (5%) or foreign-born settled workers (6%).[40]

Figure 6.3  Foreign-born Workers' Assets in Foreign Country.

Asset

Newcomer
Mobile Home equals 0 percent
Land equals 5 percent
Home equals 52 percent
Car or Truck equals 1 percent

Intrernational (back-and-forth) Migrant
Mobile Home equals 2 percent
Land equals 22 percent
Home equals 54 percent
Car or Truck equals 11 percent

Settled
Mobile Home equals 1 percent
Land equals 6 percent
Home equals 33 percent
Car or Truck equals 2 percent

All Foreign-born
Mobile Home equals 0 percent
Land equals 7 percent
Home equals 43 percent
Car or Truck equals 3 percent

Figure 6.3 Foreign-born Workers' Assets in Foreign Country.

Contribution- and Needs-Based Programs

NAWS respondents are asked if they or anyone in their household received benefits from either contribution- or needs-based programs in the two-year period preceding the interview. Twenty-four percent of the crop workers reported that their household had received a benefit from a contribution-based program. The most common contribution-based benefit was unemployment insurance (21%), followed by social security (2%), and disability insurance (1%) (table 6.2).

Table 6.2 Households Receiving Payments from Contribution-Based Programs

             

Contribution-Based

 

Percent of Farm Worker Households

Program

 

Receiving Payments

Unemployment Insurance

 

21%

Social Security

 

2%

Disability Insurance

 

1%

Needs-based benefits include financial assistance through programs such as temporary assistance to needy families (TANF), general assistance or welfare, and publicly provided housing or medical and nutritional assistance, such as Medicaid, Women, Infants and Children (WIC), and Food Stamps. In 2001-2002, 22 percent of the respondents said that they or someone in their household had used at least one type of public assistance program in the previous two years. The most common was Medicaid (15%), followed by WIC (11%) and Food Stamps (8%) (table 6.3). Less than one percent reported that they or someone in their family had received general assistance or TANF.

Table 6.3 Households Receiving Benefits from Needs-Based Programs

           

Needs-Based
Program

Percent of Farm Worker Households
Receiving Benefits

Medicaid

 

15%

WIC

 

11%

Food Stamps

 

8%

Public Housing

 

1%


Chapter 5

Table of Contents

Appendix A
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