Where Did All the Migrant Farm Workers Go?

Maoyong Fan and Jeffrey M. Perloff

from ARE Update Vol. 19, No. 6, Jul/Aug, 2016

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The share of agricultural workers who migrate within the United States has fallen by about 60% since the late 1990s. This reduction in the number of migrant farmworkers increases the risk that fruits and vegetables will not be harvested before they spoil. On average over this period, one-third of the drop in the migration rate was due to changes in the demographic makeup of the workforce, while two-thirds was
due to government and institutional changes in the market. However, in recent years, demographic changes were responsible for nearly half of the overall change.


agricultural labor, immigration, demographics, labor-saving technology, government policies


Maoyong Fan and Jeffrey M. Perloff. 2016. "Where Did All the Migrant Farm Workers Go?" ARE Update 19(6): 5-7. University of California Giannini Foundation of Agricultural Economics.