Economic Brief No. (EB-7) 4 pp

March 2006

Economic Well-Being of Farm Households

Farm subsidy programs were introduced in the 1930s largely due to concern for chronically low, and highly variable, incomes of US farm households. Today commodity-based support programs are still prominent, though income and wealth of the average farm household now exceed that of the average nonfarm households - by a large margin. Farm income continues to be highly variable, but the small set of farm households most at risk for income variability - because farm income represents more than one-third of household income - are those operating large farms. And they have substantial net worth, which cushions uncertain farm income.

Keywords: Farm households, household income, household wealth, household net worth, living expenses, joint income-wealth indicator, economic well-being, financial well-being, Off-farm employment, Income variability

In this publication...