Digital Equity in Farmworker Communities

A research project to assess migrant and seasonal farmworkers’ digital literacy and broadband access in North Carolina

There are profound barriers to digital inclusion for farmworkers and their families which limit their civic and economic participation and adversely impact their health and educational attainment.

Farmworkers are an integral part of North Carolina’s economy yet remain an often invisible population. Estimates put North Carolina’s seasonal and migrant farm workforce at between 80,000 and 100,000 workers. Other estimates suggest that North Carolina is sixth in the nation in terms of migrant labor — with families included there are about 150,000 seasonal residents of North Carolina.

Our Goal

Our research has the goal of addressing digital inequity and promoting the ability of agricultural workers and agricultural communities to engage civically and to improve their health, education, and economic status with broadband access. Digital equity in rural agricultural communities may be achieved by improving the information literacy skills of farmworkers and farmers in conjunction with policies that promote access to devices, the internet, and information sources.

Our research will attempt to answer 3 main questions

  1. How accessible is internet for farmworkers?
  2. What are the information literacy levels of farmworkers and farmers?
  3. How well are farmworker communities being served by information-facilitating organizations like libraries and internet service providers?

Research Results

Thumbnail image of the Farmworker Internet SurveyResults of the ECU-NC State Farmworker Internet Survey

During the 2023 growing season, we worked with outreach workers to administer surveys throughout the state to discover farmworker access to internet and technology. In total, 20 outreach workers at 8 sites surveyed 1,034 farmworkers and family members across North Carolina.

Download Survey Results

Descargar resultados en español

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