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Housing Quality Among North Carolina Farmworker Families

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health. 13(3): 323-337. (doi: 10.13031/2013.23355) @2007
Authors:   A. L. Gentry, J. G. Grzywacz, S. A. Quandt, S. W. Davis, T. A. Arcury
Keywords:   Environmental health, Farmworkers, Health disparities, Housing quality, Latinos, Minority health, Occupational health

Substandard housing poses risks for health and safety. Few studies have documented the housing conditions experienced by Latino farmworker families in the U.S. The purpose of this analysis is to assess the quality of housing occupied by farmworker families in eastern North Carolina and determine how individual and family characteristics are associated with housing quality. Interviews were completed in six North Carolina counties with 186 Latino farmworker households that included a child under the age of 18 to document respondent, household, and dwelling characteristics. Most households were crowded, with 69.4% having more than one person per room (excluding bathrooms and kitchens). Dwellings were often located adjacent to fields (46.0%), suffered from structural problems (e.g., 18.3% had roof leaks), and lacked facilities and appliances (e.g., 26.9% did not have a working oven). Most farmworker family dwellings did not meet the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's minimum criteria for health and safety. Respondents in their thirties, who lived in North Carolina for less than five years, moved two or more times in the past year to follow crops, and lived in grower-provided housing had the poorest housing quality. These results demonstrate that North Carolina Latino farmworker families lack adequate housing. Further research is needed to evaluate farmworker housing conditions in all areas of the U.S., and to document the relationship of these housing conditions to health outcomes. The collaboration of researchers, advocates, policy makers, housing developers, health care providers, and educators is needed to improve the housing conditions of farmworker families.

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