The Exceptional One Percent: U.S. Farmworker and Business Owner
This paper documents the exceptional confluence between employment as a U.S. farmworker and business owner. Hispanics compose the overall majority (79.7%) of U.S. farmworkers, with two-thirds (66.6%) of all farmworkers identifying as Mexican. Utilizing the National Agricultural Workers Survey conducted annually by the U.S. Department of Labor from 1989 to 2009, we explore the characteristics and determinants of these unique farmworker/business owners. Approximately 1% (or about 10,000) U.S. farmworkers are business owners either in the U.S. or in their native homeland. Both Hispanics (53.0%) and non-Hispanics (47.0%) form this unique subset, although Hispanic farmworkers are underrepresented in this business owner subset given that they make up a relatively high proportion of all U.S. farmworkers. Implications for business growth, entrepreneurship, and economic development abound; even in the most trying of occupations entrepreneurial outcomes may emerge. Two case studies outline possible pathways to business formation for agricultural workers.
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