Quantity of agricultural laborers in Brazil is on the decline

A chart showing the hired and family male-equivalent laborers, years 1985 to 2006.

The Brazilian agricultural sector has shed a significant portion of its labor over the previous 20 years, reflecting a rural-to-urban migration, improved agricultural productivity, increased agricultural output, and a transition to more capital intensive agricultural production. Agricultural labor counts are recorded in Brazil's censuses as either family or hired labor, and each category has declined over the last three census periods. Between 1985 and 2006, hired labor counts declined by 26 percent, as did family labor, which is noteworthy given the large number of family laborers in Brazilian agriculture relative to hired laborers and implies a substantially greater absolute decline in family laborers. In 1985, family and hired labor accounted for 16.7 million and 4.8 million laborers, respectively. By 2006, family labor had fallen to 12.4 million laborers and hired labor to 3.6 million laborers. This chart comes from Policy, Technology, and Efficiency of Brazilian Agriculture, ERR-137, July 2012.

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