Farm population estimates

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Material Information

Title:
Farm population estimates
Series Title:
AMS
Physical Description:
v. : ; 26 cm.
Language:
English
Creator:
United States -- Dept. of Agriculture. -- Economic Research Service. -- Economic Development Division
United States -- Agricultural Marketing Service
United States -- Dept. of Agriculture. -- Economic Research Service
United States -- Dept. of Agriculture. -- Farm Population Branch
United States -- Dept. of Agriculture. -- Economic Research Service. -- Human Resources Branch
Publisher:
U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, Economic Development Division.
Place of Publication:
Washington
Creation Date:
1939
Frequency:
annual
regular

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Farmers -- Statistics -- United States   ( lcsh )
Population, Rural -- Statistics -- United States   ( lcsh )
Genre:
serial   ( sobekcm )
federal government publication   ( marcgt )

Notes

Issuing Body:
Issued --1950-59 by U.S. Agricultural Marketing Service; 1910-62 by U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Economic Research Service; 1963-64 by the Economic Research Service, Farm Population Branch; 1965-72 by the Economic Research Service, Human Resources Branch.
General Note:
Issues for --1950-59 are U.S. Agricultural Marketing Service AMS 80; 1910-62--1973 are U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Economic Research Service. ERS 130 etc.; 1974- are Agricultural economic report no. 319, etc.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
aleph - 004703719
oclc - 02977293
Classification:
lcc - HB2385 .A42
System ID:
AA00009497:00002


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C. V. Noble

4. r3 Released June 22, 1939




UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Bureau of Agricultural Economics
Washington


FARM POPULATION ESTIMATES
January 1, 1939


The farm population on January 1, 1939, was close to the largest

on record. The total was 32,059,000 persons. This compares with 31,819,000

on January 1, 1938, and with the all-time high record of 32,077,000 on Janu-

ary 1, 1910. From 1910 to 1927 there was a decline of almost 2,000,000 per-

sons in the farm population. Since 1927 there has been an increase of about

2,000,000.

Estimates by the Bureau of Agricultural Economics show that the in-

crease in farm population during 1938 was 240,000 persons, or three-fourths

of 1 percent. This is the largest increase reported since 1932. The total

increase since the beginning of 1933 has been less than 400,000 persons.

As in the five preceding years, more persons moved from farms to

villages, towns, and cities than moved to farms during 1938. It is esti-

mated that 1,025,000 persons loft farms and that 823,000 persons moved to

farms. The net loss by migration was 202,000 persons. But this was more

than offset by the surplus of births over deaths in the farm population.

The number of births was 747,000; the number of deaths, 305,000.

The Bureau's estimates are based upon reports from 22,116 farmers in

all parts of tho country, supplying information for 126,529 farms.









-2 -


Factors accounting for farm population changes

Reduced migration from the drought areas, the generally low level
of industrial employment, and continued expansion of farm mechanization
appear to be major factors accounting for the changes in farm population
during the past year.

Decreases in farm population had been common in the Great Plains
since the severe drought of 1934, but during 1938 the movement from farms
in that area was considerably slowed down. Losses in farm population woro
less than in other recent years and in some States the farm population in-
creased for the first time since 1933. In the West North Central States,
from Minnesota and North Dakota south to Kansas and Missouri, the number
of people living on farms at the beginning of 1939 was nearly the same as
in 1938. Thus, the decline which had reduced the number of persons on
farms from 5,162,000 to 4,821,000, from the beginning of 1934 to the end of
1937, appears to have been stopped.

Special reports from North and South Dakota indicate a reduction in
the movement to other States, and reports from California show that the
number of incoming migrants "in need of manual employment" was less than
d'r-.';! L936 end 1937. During 1938, persons who moved from South Dakota
far.: 3 otner States most frequently selected Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska,
Celif-rnia, and North Dakota, all but one of which are bordering States;
but in 1937 a larger proportion of these migrants out of the State had gone
to tho Pacific Coast YVashington, Oregon, and California being among the
five States most frequently mentioned. Similarly, a larger proportion of
the migrants from North Dakota farms to other States remained in nearby
States, especially Minnesota and Montana, and fewer went to the Pacific
Coast States than in 1937. One result of this change is that the number of
farm residents in the Pacific Coast States increased less than it had in
1936 or 1937.

The relatively low level of industrial employment is reflected in
the reduction in the number of persons moving from farms to towns and
cities, as well as in the smaller net movement away from farms. In the New
Englcrin States and in New York, New Jersey, and Ponnsylvania there was a
net mn--.-nt from twnms and cities to farms. In a number of States, how-
ever, tl? :.ct movement away from farms was considerably loss than it had
been during 1937.

As last year, many correspondents commented on the growing use of
power machinery with the consequent enlargement of farms and the forcing
off the land of tenants who are unable to find other farms. Persons who
are enlarging their own operating units, as well as the victims of this









-3 -


development, comment on it frequently. In many cases farm buildings are
demolished or moved away and the former residents perforce go elsewhere.
Many are unable to obtain other farms which they might operate, and, after
a forced sale of their equipment,nay move to town to attempt to gain a
livelihood through farm labor or other private employment, or the WPA.

Only one correspondent commented that as power machinery became
better adapted to smaller units it was an aid in counteracting the trend
toward large units. The great majority emphasized the other aspects.
Many correspondents say that there "ought to be a law" restricting the
acreage of land one operator might cultivate. Many suggested that public
aid should be made available to help young and older men get a start in
farming.


Changes not uniform throughout the country

The West North Central States reported a slight decrease in farm
population. All other major geographic divisions reported increases. The
reported increases in each of the regions wore smrll the largest being
only 83,000. This was in the East South Central States (Kentucky, Tennessee,
Alabama, and Mississippi), a group generally characterized by high birth
rates. The increase amounted to 1 percent, the same proportion reported
the year before. This group of States includes only one-sixth of the farm
population, but accounts for slightly more than one-fifth of all births.
Compared with the previous year thure was loss not migration from farms and
a greater excess of births over deaths. Simiilarly, in the South Atlantic
States, from Delaware to Florida and including West Virginia, a net increase
occurred in total farm population, although the number leaving farms was
greater than the number moving to farms.

Increases in the other regions occurred as a result of an excess cf
births over deaths with either a not migration to farms, or a virtual
balancrig of the two streams of migration. In the group of States from
Maine to P'. 'p-sylvania, there was a not migration to farms. In the East
North CiI.!:-la States, from Ohio to Wisconsin along the Great Lakes, the
mever..:r:t t farms was about equal to the movement from farms, and the in-
croease was due entirely to the fact that there were nore births than deaths.
In the Pacific Coast States, where birth rates are among the lowest in the
country, the movement between farms and villages, towns, and cities was
equally strong in either direction. There was, however, as there had been
in previous years, a movement from farms in other States to farms in
these States and this accounted for most of the reported increase.








-4-


Some implications of farm population changes

Many of the farmers who supply the information upon which these
estimates are based take time to comment on developments in their com-
munities. Thus, it appears that the growing use of power equipment in
some areas is leading to a larger number of full-time farmers living in
villages. These are the so-called "sidewalk farmers" who enjoy the social
advantages and services of village life while devoting full attention to
their farming operations. The automobile, the tractor, and other machinery
make this arrangement possible especially in the Winter Wheat Area.

Reports from farmers in all parts of the country indicate a contin-
ued demand for small tracts for subsistence farming, and, in some cases,
for a limited production of cash crops. This movement seoms to be strong-
est near small towns and cities and generally near hard surfaced roads
which provide ready access to sources of industrial and other employment
not connected with farming. In many areas the lower costs for housing in
the open country have resulted in a demand for farm houses solely for resi-
dential purposes. In such cases the land is rented separately, possibly to
a nearby farmer who is enlarging his operating unit. Reports from some
areas point out that families on WPA or on relief are finding houses at
very low rent by going out to farms where buildings have become vacant as
a result of the increasing size of farms. Reports from other areas indi-
cate that the families displaced by machinery are finding it increasingly
difficult to locate a house in the open country in which they will be
permitted to live.

The reports for 1938 and for other years since 1930 make it clear
that, except in the drought area, farm population is increasing more rapid-
ly in the so-called problem areas than in the better-farming areas. Land
resources in these areas arc severely limited, agricultural incomes are low,
and educational and other social services are meager. Nevertheless, it is
in those areas that the ratio of maturing farm youth to older workers is
especially high.

To start farming in these areas is essentially easier than in the
better-farming areas, since land values are low and almost no capital e-
quipment is required. The returns which may be expected under such condi-
tions are, of course, very low and may be insufficient to maintain health
and efficiency. Nonetheless, this is the choice of many whose background
and education have not provided the knowledge and skills to enable them to
compete successfully in better-land areas or for urban employment.

Between 1920 and 1929 the net migration from farms to towns and
cities was about 6,000,000 persons, but during the decade ending in 1939







-5 -


this movement will hardly total more than 2,250,000 persons. During the
1920's approximately two-fifths of all persons between the ages of 10 and
19 who had lived on farms in 1920, moved off the farms. While complete
information about the ages of migrants to and from f.rms is not available,
it is safe to conclude that far loss than two-fifths of the 7,000,000
10 19 year old farm boys and girls in 1930 will have left the fam by
1940. These young people on farms who have reached their 20th birthdays
during the present decade have faced restricted opportunities both in in-
dustry and in commercial agriculture. Many have remained in farming areas.
This is especially true of the poorest farming areas where birth rates have
been high. But in areas whore conrercial agriculture is predoninant, farm
population has been either decreasing cr increasing only sl,.wly.





-6-
Tables

Note: The estimates given below are based upon the returns from questionnaires
mailed to farmers and are adjusted to Census figures. Because of difficulties
in beginning the series, the figures for the years 1920-1923 are considered less
reliable than those for later years.

Table 1. Farm Population in the United States



Year Number of persons Year : Number of persons
o: n farms January 1 : : on Farms January 1

1910 : 1 32,076,960 : 1930 / 30,169,000
1920 : 31,614,269 1931 30,497,000
1921 : 31,763,000 : 1932 : 30,971,000
1922 : 31,749,000 : 1933 : 31,693,000
1923 : 31,130,000 : 1934 : 31,770,000
1924 : 30,817,000 : 1935 : /2 31,800,907
1925 : 30,830,000 : 1936 : 31,809,000
1926 :30,619,000 : 1937 : 31,729,000
1927 :30,170,000 : 1938 : 31,819,000
1928 : 30,188,000 : 1939 :32,059,000
1929 : 30,220,000

/1 Estimated, U. S. Bureau of the Census
2 Enumerated, U. S. Bureau of the Census
/3 Estimated, based on Census enumeration of April 1, 1930


Table 2. Recent Losses and Gains in the Farm
Population of the United States

: Net loss of : Net gain in
During period or calendar year : farm population farm population


1910
1920
1925
1930
1910


1919
1924
1929
1934
1934


1930
1931
1932
1933
1934
1935
1936
1937
1938


463,000
784,000
661,000

276,000







80,000


1,632,000


328,000
474,000
722,000
77,000
31,000
8,000

90,000
240,000






-7-


Table 3. Movement To and From Farms


Persons
: arriving at
farms
: from cities,
: towns, and
Villages


Persons
leaving
: farms for
cities,
: towns, and
: villages


: Het movement from


Cities,
towns, and
villages
to
farms


Farms
to cities,
towns,
and
villages


.1920
1921
1922
1923
1924

1925
1926
1927
1928
1929

1930
1931
1932
1933
1934

1935
1936
1937
1938


1920 1924
1925 1929
1930 1934


560,000
759,000
1,115,000
1,355,000
1,581,000

1,336,000
1,427,000
1,705,000
1,698,000
1,604,000

1,611,000
1,546,000
1,777,000
944,000
700,000

825,000
719,000
872,000
823,000

5,370,000
7,770,000
6,578,000


896,000
1,323,000
2,252,000
2,162,000
2,068,000

2,038,000
2,334,000
2,162,000
2,120,000
2,081,000

1,823,000
1,566,000
1,511,000
1,225,000
1,051,000

1,211,000
1,166,000
1,160,000
1,025,000

8,701,000
10,735,000
7,176,000


Year


336,000
564,000
1,137,000
807,000
487,000


266,000

-----


702,000
907,000
457,000
422,000
477,000

212,000
20,000

281,000
351,000

386,000
447,000
288,000
202,000


3,331,000
2,965,000
598,000


--


I-'


-I






-8-


Table 4. Annual estimates of the farm population, births and deaths occurring
in the farm population, and number of persons moving to and from
farms for the United States and major geographic divisions,
1923 1939 /1

Increases in farm : Decreases in farm : Gain or
Farm : population during : population during :loss due to
Division :population : the year due to: : the year due to: :farm-to-farm
and on : Arrivals : Departures : migra-
year : January 1 :Births: from city, :Deaths : for city, : tion /2
: town, or : : town, or
: : : village : : village
000's 000's 000's 000's 000's 000's

UNITED STATES:
1939 32,059
1938 31,819 747 823 305 1,025
1937 31,729 719 872 341 1,160
1936 31,809 716 719 349 1,166
1935 /3 31,801 727 825 333 1,211
1934 31,770 749 700 344 1,051
1933 31,693 721 944 326 1,225
1932 30,971 746 1,777 328 1,511
1931 30,497 741 1,546 334 1,566
1930 /4 30,169 742 1,611 344 1,823 --
1929 30,220 750 1,604 324 2,081
1928 30,188 757 1,698 303 2,120
1927 30,170 763 1,705 288 2,162
1926 30,619 782 1,427 324 2,334
1925 30,830 795 1,336 304 2,038
1924 30,817 801 1,581 301 2,068
1923 31,130 810 1,355 316 2,162 --

New England:
1939 729
1938 722 12 34 9 30 0
1937 709 11 37 9 26 0
1936 708 10 33 9 34 1
1935 /3 712 10 29 8 36 1
1934 713 11 27 8 32 0
1933 698 10 32 8 26 -1
1932 660 10 56 8 33 4
1931 631 11 61 8 47 0
1930 /4 568 10 64 8 50 0
1929 583 10 45 8 62 --
1928 586 10 49 7 55
1927 589 10 55 7 61
1926 604 11 49 8 67
1925 610 11 41 7 51
1924 604 11 49 7 47
1923 608 11 41 7 49





-9-


Table 4. Annual estimates of the farm population, births and deaths
occurring in the farm population, and number of persons
moving to and from farms for the United States and major
geographic divisions, 1923 1939 /, continued.


: : Increases in farm :Decreases in farm : Gain or
:Farm : population during : population during : loss due to
Division :population: the year due to: : the year due to: :farm to farm
and on :: Arrivals ::Departures : migra-
year :January 1 :Births :from city, :Deaths : for city, : tion
:: town, or : town, or : /2
: : : village : : village
000's 000's 000's 000's 000's 000's

Middle Atlantic:
1939 1,922
1938 1,896 31 69 20 58 4
1937 1,887 26 68 22 68 5
1936 1,900 25 51 23 68 2
1935 /3 1,904 25 61 22 88 20
1934 1,893 25 64 24 58 4
1933 1,850 26 95 24 70 7
1932 1,784 27 139 23 88 1
1931 1,751 28 101 24 90 1
1930 /4 1,692 29 130 24 96 1
1929 1,714 29 112 23 140 -
1928 1,731 30 104 21 130
1927 1,748 30 97 20 124
1926 1,791 31 104 23 155
1925 1,807 31 102 21 128
1924 1,825 31 110 21 138
1923 1,852 32 103 22 140

East North Central:
1939 4,818
1938 4,780 86 143 47 150 -6
1937 4,777 82 142 50 186 15
1936 4,790 80 135 52 187 11
1935 /3 4,769 81 139 51 190 42
1934 4,750 81 112 54 150 30
1933 4,695 83 181 51 188 21
1952 4,583 85 293 52 231 3
1931 4,508 85 236 53 211 2
1930 /4 4,442 86 259 53 246 4
1929 4,429 87 261 50 285 -
1928 4,487 88 214 47 313 -
1927 4,477 88 275 44 309
1926 4,550 90 211 50 324
1925 4,598 92 252 47 345
1924 4,587 93 297 47 332
1923 4,621 94 264 49 343





- 10 -


Table 4. Annual estimates of the farm population, births and deaths occurring -
in the farm population, and number of persons moving to and from
.farms for the United States and major geographic divisions,
1923 1959 /I, continued.


: Increases in farm : Decreases in farm :
Farm : population during : population during : Gain or
Division :population: the year due to: : the year due to: : loss due to
and on : : Arrivals : :Departures :farm to farm
year :January 1 :Births : from city,:Deaths : for city, : migra-
:: : town, or : : town,or a tion
: : : village : : village /2
000's 000's 000's 000's 000's 000's


West North Central:
1939
1938
1937
1936
1935 /3
1934
1933
1932
1931
1930 /4
1929
1928
1927
1926
1925
1924
1923

South Atlantic:
1939
1938
1937
1936
1935 /3
1934
1933
1932
1931
1930 /4
1929
1928
1927
1926
1925
1924
1923


4,823
4,827
4,940
5,041
5,108
5,162
5,149
5,069
5,005
5,030
5,034
5,019
5,055
5,098
5,134
5,133
5,163


6,415
6,376
6,314
6,275
6,204
6,140
6,131
6,038
5,947
5,864
5,900
5,910
5,880
6,013
6,136
6,125
6,242


96
98
102
104
111
109
112
114
116
117
118
119
122
124
125
127



173
168
164
164
169
157
164
159
160
162
163
165
168
171
173
174


110
96
90
108
90
125
306
300
283
294
311
301
249
242
278
238



117
128
98
139
109
138
178
170
172
185
198
215
155
170
219
185


178
231
217
212
204
175
291
298
375
371
373
417
370
361
361
352



168
151
174
162
151
207
180
196
207
315
308
290
388
401
318
410


4
-31
-27
-22
-2
-2
S4
-7
-10











-19
-11
26
2
20
8
-9
0
0
8a

9




-11-


T ble 4. Annual estimates of the farm population, births and deaths occurring
in the farm population, and number of persons moving to and from
farms for the United States and major geographic divisions,
1923 1939 /1 continued.


: ; Increases in farm : Decreases in farm :
: Farm : population during : population during : Gain or
Division :population: the year due toj : the year due to: : loss due to
and on : Arrivals :Departures :farm to farm
year :January 1 :Births : from city,:Deaths : for city, : migra-
:: town, or : : town, or : tion
: : village : village : /2
0001s. 000's 000's 000's 000's 000's

East South Central:
1939 5,588
1938 5,505 159 113 54 121 -14
1937 5,430 152 108 60 134 9
1936 5,377 152 94 59 129 5
1935 /3 5,335 153 109 57 161 2
1934 5,322 154 75 57 142 -12
1933 5,357 147 105 54 193 -17
1932 5,230 153 191 54 159 0
1931 5,136 146 153 55 151 0
1930 /4 5,052 146 169 59 177 0
1929 5,027 148 160 55 228 --
1928 4,992 149 195 52 257
1927 4,979 150 194 50 281
1926 5,057 154 120 55 297
1925 5,089 157 100 52 237
1924 5,088 158 153 52 258
1923 5,135 159 118 54 270

West South Central:
1939 5,305
1958 5,291 139 126 47 197 -7
1937 5,282 135 146 56 212 -4
1936 5,344 135 112 56 222 -31
1935 /3 5,388 141 138 51 221 -51
1934 5,415 149 131 53 199 -46
1933 5,464 142 157 52 235 -36
1932 5,299 147 308 52 233 2
1931 5,249 150 305 53 346 -6
1930 /4 5,275 147 264 55 378 -6
1929 5,290 149 281 52 393 --
1928 5,243 150 300 48 355
1927 5,245 151 278 46 385 --
1926 5,343 155 261 52 462
1925 5,302 158 217 49 285
1924 5,305 159 235 48 349 --
1923 5,338 160 209 51 351






-12-


Table 4. Annual estimates of the farm population, births and deaths occurring
in the farm population, and number of persons moving to and from
farms for the United States and major geographic divisions,
1923 1939 /1, continued.


: Increases in farm : Decreases in farm :
Farm : population during : population during : Gain or
Division :population: the year due to: : the year due to: : loss due to
and on :: Arrivals : :Departures:farm to farm
year :January 1 :Births : from city,:Deaths 2. for city,: migra-
: town, or :: town, or : tion
: : : village : : village : 2
000's 000's 000's 000's 000's OOOt

Mountain:
1939 1,141
1938 1,131 29 47 12 60 6
1937 1i143 27 48 12 75 0
1936 1,164 28 42 12 79 0
1935 /3 1,188 30 42 13 81 -2
1934 1,207 30 43 13 72 -7
1933 1,202 29 47 12 69 8
1932 1,183 29 121 12 131 10
1931 1,140 30 97 12 86 9
1930 4 1,122 31 113 13 123 3
1929 1,130 32 130 12 158
1928 1,112 32 164 12 166
1927 1,109 32 143 11 161
1926 1,100 33 137 12 149
1925 1,108 33 106 12 135
1924 1,109 33 134 11 157 --
1923 1,124 34 107 12 144 -

Pacific:
1939 1,318
1938 1,291 22 64 16 63 20
1937 1,247 20 99 15 77 17
1936 1,210 20 64 14 56 23
1935 /3 1,193 19 60 14 60 12
1934 1,168 19 49 13 43 13
1933 1,147 18 64 13 62 12
1932 1;125 19 185 13 165 -8
1931 1,130 18 123 13 141 1
1930 /4 1,124 17 157 13 171 8
1929 1,113 16 136 12 129
1928 1,108 17 163 12 163
1927 1,088 18 147 11 134
1926 1,063 18 141 12 122
1925 1,046 18 106 12 95
1924 1,041 18 106 11 108
1923 1,047 19 90 12 103









- 13 -


/1 The farm population at the beginning of one year is equal to the
farm population at the beginning of the previous year plus the
births and arrivals at farms, minus deaths and departures from
farms, plus or minus the gain or loss due to farm to farm migra-
tion. For the years 1930 to 1934, inclusive, certain allowances
are included, though not shown in the table. These allowances
are due to (a) changes to or from farming without change in resi-
dence and (b) changes in interpretation of Census instructions.
It is not possible to separate the effects of these two factors.

/2 Persons who move from farms in one geographic division to farms
in another division. For the United States total these must bal-
ance. The figures on farm to farm movement wore not tabulated
separately before 1930.

/3 Farm Population January 1, as enumerated by United States Bureau
of the Census.

/4 Farm Population January 1, as estimated on the basis of Ccnsus
enumeration of April 1, 1930.




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