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Comparative Assessment of Mental Wellbeing, Social Networks, and Earnings of Haitian and Hispanic Farm Workers in Florida

Gulcan Onel
2020 unpublished
Extended Abstract) Background Recent sharp declines in Mexican newcomers have been coupled with steadily increasing Caribbean and Central American migrants. Although most foreign-born farm workers in the United States are still of Mexican origin, this trend is likely to change in the near future as more Mexican immigrants are leaving the country than entering it. (1) Therefore, cross-cultural differences among migrant farm workers will become an important factor in designing effective policies
more » ... effective policies and intervention tools to improve rural livelihoods and workers' health and productivity. The earnings and the mental health status of workers are intrinsically related to the dynamics of the social environment, which differ across ethnic and cultural groups. Specific and recent demographic changes in the migrant farm worker population have prompted this study: 1) the majority of Mexican farm workers have been in the United States for more than 10 years and are aging, 2) the number of Haitian and other non-Hispanic workers in agriculture and other sectors is growing, and 3) the current immigration policy environment and concerns pertaining to legal status have profound impacts on the mental health and economic outcomes of migrant workers. (2,3) In recent decades, there has been a significant rise in the number of immigrants from the Central America and the Caribbean, particularly Haiti. (4,5) Haitian migration into the United States has been triggered by political instability, endemic poverty, and natural disasters (such as the devastating 2010 earthquake). While only 5,000 Haitians lived in the United States in 1960, the population increased to 676,000 by 2015. Most Haitian immigrants arrived more than a decade ago, forming communities in Florida and the upper East Coast. (5) Despite Haitian migrants slowly 3 filling in the void created by fewer Mexican migrant workers, there are limited data on these new migrant worker populations. For continuing viability of U.S. agriculture and improved rural prosperity, it is crucial to understand the differences between these two culturally distinct groups of workers in health behaviors, social support networks, productivity, and earnings. Approach The aim of the study is to assess the impact of key indicators of social networks as well as earnings on the burden of mental disorders (feelings of social isolation, depression, and anxiety disorders) among Haitian and Hispanic farm workers. We develop and use an innovative pilot data that include both Spanish and Haitian Creole versions of a comprehensive three-module questionnaire that measures 1) mental health, 2) social networks, and 3) demographic and occupational backgrounds of the migrant farm workers. In the first module, PHQ-9 Depression Scale, GAD-7
doi:10.22004/ag.econ.304657 fatcat:dytqhcn7jjcv3cwjmhxtq6jpba