Latino/Hispanic Farmworkers and Farm Work in the Eastern United States: The Context for Health, Safety, and Justice

  • Thomas A. Arcury
  • Antonio J. Marín


The context in which farmworkers in the eastern United States (US) labor and live affects their health and safety, and the process of achieving justice. This context includes geographic, agricultural, demographic, cultural, and political dimensions, with each of these dimensions experiencing considerable change in the past 50 years. This chapter provides an overview of the context for farmworkers in the eastern US, and defines who is a farmworker for this volume. Although farmworkers in the eastern US became a largely Latino/Hispanic population in the early 1990s, this population continues to be varied in ethnic composition (Latino/Hispanic, Indigenous, non-Latino/Hispanic) and migration status. The information needed to document each dimension of the context for farmworkers in the eastern US is often unavailable. The lack of information makes it difficult to understand who farmworkers are, their number, their personal characteristics, their exposures and health status, and how best to work toward justice for farmworkers and their families. Recommendations to improve health, safety, and justice include more complete and consistent reporting by state agencies of information they collect for farmworkers in their states, and better documentation and reporting of study design by researchers. This information will provide a foundation for understanding diversity in the health and safety of farmworkers, and help direct efforts needed to improve social justice.


Political Organization Farm Work Family Farm Agricultural Commodity North American Free Trade Agreement 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas A. Arcury
    • 1
  • Antonio J. Marín
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Family and Community MedicineWake Forest University School of MedicineUSA
  2. 2.Research Associate in the Department of Family and Community MedicineWake Forest University School of Medicine USA

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