FACT SHEET ON FARMWORKERS


There are up to 2.5 million hired farmworkers nationwide. Adult migrant farmworkers on average have completed eight or fewer years of formal education.

Estimated farm labor force in the El Paso-Juárez region: 12,000. The majority are legal immigrants from México and the rest are American born citizens of Mexican origin. Women and children are part of the farm labor force.

The average farmworker is employed about 25 weeks a year, and few earn more than $6,000 a year.

Four of five farmworkers do not have employer-provided health insurance.

Fewer than 15 per cent of the nation's migrant farmworkers received medical services provided by Migrant Health Program's rural health clinics.

Poor and uninsured farmworkers had little access to physician care and hospital services.

A U.S. General Accounting Office report estimates that each year farmworkers suffer up to 300, 000 acute illnesses and injuries from exposure to pesticides.

In some hired farmworkers families, children as young as 10 must works in the fields to contribute to the family income. The Nation Child Labor Committee estimates that each year there are a least 100,000 minors illegally working on farms and 1 million child-labor violations.

A 1990 study of children hired to do farm work reveals that one- third of them were injured while working the previous year.

Hired farmworkers are more likely to receive less benefits than they should because their employers do not report all their earnings to the Social Security Administration.

Numerous studies tell of migrant farmworkers living in shacks, barns, old school buses and other seriously substandard dwellings. A family may have to sleep on a dirt floor in a one- room house with no furniture, running water or electricity.

Workers who don't get drinking water may suffer dehydration, heatstroke or other heat-related conditions.

The absence of hand-washing facilities contributes to the spread of diseases and the retention of pesticide residue on workers' skin.

Most farmworkers are young, married, foreign-born males, and more than two-thirds are Hispanic.

Some of the information is from Fields of Misery, special supplement of the El Paso Herald- Post, Saturday, October 22, 1994


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