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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Why Do Fewer Agricultural Workers Migrate Now?


The share of agricultural workers who migrate within the United States has fallen by approximately 60% since the late 1990s. To explain this decline in the migration rate, we estimate annual migration - choice models using data from the National Agricultural Workers Survey for 1989 – 2009. On average over the last decade of the sample, one - third of the fall in the migration rate was due to changes in the demographic composition of the workforce, while two - thirds was due to changes in coefficients (“structural” change). In some years, demographic changes were responsible for half of the overall change.

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