Health needs of migrant and seasonal farmworkers

J Community Health Nurs. 2008 Jul-Sep;25(3):153-60. doi: 10.1080/07370010802221768.


Migrant and seasonal farmworkers (MSFW) are a vital component of the U.S. agricultural industry. Despite their important contributions, MSFW are known to be a marginalized population who live in poverty and have poor health indicators. The purpose of this study was to gain a fuller understanding of family composition, employment, migration patterns, health issues and service needs of MSFW in 3 counties in northwest Michigan. The participants were mainly migrant (63%), and men (55%) with an average age of 34.4 years. Educational levels of the sample were low, with 56% reporting 6th grade or below, and an additional 7% reporting no formal education. The majority was originally from Mexico (75%), and Spanish was the first language of 79% of the farmworkers represented in the survey. Work-related health problems and chronic illness were the most commonly perceived health problems and the most commonly requested service was dental. This study adds to the body of knowledge related to farm worker health needs and provides direction for the provision of appropriate health care to this population.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Agriculture / statistics & numerical data*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Health Services Accessibility / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Michigan / epidemiology
  • Needs Assessment*
  • Occupational Diseases / epidemiology
  • Occupational Health Services / statistics & numerical data
  • Qualitative Research
  • Sex Distribution
  • Transients and Migrants / statistics & numerical data*