The health of California's immigrant hired farmworkers

Don Villarejo, Stephen A Mccurdy, Bonnie Bade, Steve Samuels, David Lighthall, Daniel Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


Background: Hispanic immigrant workers dominate California's hired farm workforce. Little is known about their health status; even less is known about those lacking employment authorization. Methods: The California Agricultural Workers Health Survey (CAWHS) was a statewide cross-sectional household survey conducted in 1999. Six hundred fifty-four workers completed in-person interviews, comprehensive physical examinations, and personal risk behavior interviews. Results: The CAWHS PE Sample is comprised mostly of young Mexican men who lack health insurance and present elevated prevalence of indicators of chronic disease: overweight, obesity, high blood pressure, and high serum cholesterol. The self-reported, cumulative, farm work career incidence of paid claims for occupational injury under workers compensation was 27% for males and 11% for females. Conclusions The survey finds elevated prevalence of indicators of chronic disease but lack of health care access. Participants without employment authorization reported a greater prevalence of high-risk behaviors, such as binge drinking, and were less knowledgeable about workplace protections. Am. J. Ind. Med. 53:387-397, 2010.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)387-397
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican Journal of Industrial Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2010


  • Agricultural safety
  • Farm labor
  • Hired workers
  • Immigrants
  • Injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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