tural Workers Survey indicate a trend towards an increased percentage of hired farmworkers who are between 14 and 17 years old: This age group now makes up 7 percent of all hired farmworkers working on crops (U.S. General Accounting Office, 1998). The Bureau of Census's Current Population Report indicates that there were 923,000 children younger than 15 years and 346,000 children between the ages of 15 and 19 residing on U.S. farms and ranches in 1991 (Dacquel and Dahmann, 1993). There are no data on the number or proportion of children and adolescents residing on farms who are directly involved with agriculture as paid or unpaid workers. Nor are there good data on how many children of paid farmworkers work with their parents in the field.

Three somewhat distinct groups of young people work on farms: children living and working on their parents' farms, adolescents who are hired to work on farms not owned or operated by their parents and whose parents are not so employed, and children who accompany their migrant farmworker parents. No data adequately documents the numbers of any of these groups. In 1996 about 300,000 young people between the ages of 15 and 17 worked in agriculture according to Current Population Survey data (U.S. General Accounting Office, 1998). About 75 percent of them were paid farmworkers, 15 percent were self-employed, and 10 percent were unpaid family workers. From National Agricultural Workers Survey data for 1993–1996, it is estimated that there were an average each year of 128,500 hired agricultural workers between the ages of 14 and 17 (U.S. General Accounting Office, 1998). Almost one-half of those 14-to 17-year-olds were living on their own, away from their parents (Mines et al., 1997).

The Current Population Survey, which is a household sample, may be likely to miss populations who do not have a stable residence, such as migrant agricultural workers. The National Agricultural Workers Survey includes only hired farmworkers 14 years of age or older; self-employed and unpaid family farm workers are excluded. Therefore, both of these surveys are likely to undercount the actual number of children and adolescents working in agriculture (Arroyo and Kurre, 1997; U.S. General Accounting Office, 1998). There is anecdotal evidence of very young children, usually children of migrant farmworkers, working in the fields but they are



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