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Earnings, Wages, and Poverty Outcomes of US Farm and Low‐Skill Workers

Bradford L. Barham, Ana P. Melo and Thomas Hertz

Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy, 2020, vol. 42, issue 2, 307-334

Abstract: The American Community Survey supports rich comparisons of welfare outcomes across low‐skill workers, including the native‐born and immigrants, in farm and nonfarm occupations. Evidence from 2016–17 suggests that farm and nonfarm labor markets are integrated, especially for immigrants. Although US‐born workers typically earn higher wages than immigrants, in some occupations, immigrants have higher wages and/or earnings. Immigrant farmworkers receive somewhat lower wages than citizens do but work more hours and generate similar earnings. Household poverty rates are above the national average for an array of low‐skill workers, especially among immigrants. The most substantial welfare difference is in health insurance access, where coverage is much higher for US‐born workers. Labor market and social policy implications of these findings are explored.

Date: 2020
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Handle: RePEc:wly:apecpp:v:42:y:2020:i:2:p:307-334