Farm population of the United States, 1985

Curr Popul Rep Popul Charact. 1986 Jul;(59):i-1-20.


PIP: The number of persons living on farms in rural areas of the US averaged 5,355,000 during 1985. About 1 out of every 45 persons, or 2.2% of the population, lived on a farm. In 1920, when the farm population was first identified as a separate group, 30.2% of the population lived on farms; by 1950, the proportion had fallen to 15.3%. This report presents selected social and economic characteristics of the farm population in 1985. The topics covered include the geographic distribution of farm residents, their race and Spanish origin, age and sex composition, and labor force activities. The 1985 estimate of the farm population is 399,000 less than the estimate of 5,754,000 for 1984. This decline represents the 1st significant year-to-year change in farm population numbers in the 1980s. The farm population is a residential group and thus is not synonymous with farmers and their families. In 1985, only half of all employed farm residents reported agriculture as their main industry. Conversely, many farmers do not live on farms; 30% of farm operators and managers lived off farms in 1985. The farm population has a higher proportion of whites than the nonfarm population and lower proportions of blacks and persons of Spanish origin. The median age of farm residents was 36.5 years in 1985, significantly higher than the median of 31.4 years for the nonfarm population. In 1985, there were 108 males per 100 females living on farms, compared with just 93 males per 100 females in the nonfarm population. About 67% of farm residents were in labor force as compared to 64% of the nonfarm population. Employed farm residents overall were about equally divided between agricultural and nonagricultural jobs. In 1985, farm workers of both sexes were much more likely to be self employed or unpaid family workers than nonfarm residents and less likely to work for wages and salaries.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Agriculture*
  • Americas
  • Developed Countries
  • Developing Countries
  • Economics
  • Employment*
  • Ethnicity
  • Health Workforce*
  • North America
  • Occupations
  • Population Characteristics
  • Sex Factors
  • Social Class
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Statistics as Topic*
  • United States