The Great Depression and the Dust Bowl (a period of drought that destroyed millions of acres of farmland) forced white farmers to sell their farms and become migrant workers who traveled from farm to farm to pick fruit and other crops at starvation wages.
Why was there a need for migrant workers?
Many countries rely on migrant workers to help them plug their labour shortfalls, while migrants’ remittances provide a vital source of finance and foreign exchange for households and governments in their countries of origin. But the life of a migrant worker is often a harsh and isolated one.
Why did people migrate in the 1930s?
The one-two punch of economic depression and bad weather put many farmers out of business. In the early 1930s, thousands of Dust Bowl refugees — mainly from Oklahoma, Texas, Colorado, Kansas, and New Mexico — packed up their families and migrated west, hoping to find work.
Where did migrant workers go for work in the 1930s?
Many migrants set up camp along the irrigation ditches of the farms they were working, which led to overcrowding and poor sanitary conditions. They lived in tents and out of the backs of cars and trucks. The working hours were long, and many children worked in the fields with their parents.
How did migrant workers affect the Great Depression?
How did the Great Depression effect the migrant worker? … Migrant workers were subjected to harsher working conditions and lower wages because people were desperate for work. Workers were replaceable. Too many people looking for work reduced living conditions.
Why did immigration to the US decline in the 1930s?
During the 1930s, immigration to America declined, because of harsh and restrictive laws set in by the Americans, because of factors like the Great Depression and the war looming in Europe.
What was California like in the 1930s?
California was hit hard by the economic collapse of the 1930s. Businesses failed, workers lost their jobs, and families fell into poverty. While the political response to the depression often was confused and ineffective, social messiahs offered alluring panaceas promising relief and recovery.
What did migrant workers eat in the 1930s?
Migrant families primarily subsisted on starch-based foods like potatoes, biscuits, and fried dough that would fill them up enough to complete a day’s work in the fields. The estimated annual income of agricultural workers was $450 per family.
What were typical salaries for migrant workers in the 1930s?
Migrant workers in California who had been making 35 cents per hour in 1928 made only 14 cents per hour in 1933. Sugar beet workers in Colorado saw their wages decrease from $27 an acre in 1930 to $12.37 an acre three years later. As a result, wages throughout the nation fell during the Depression.
How many migrant workers were there in the 1930s?
The exact number of Dust Bowl refugees remains a matter of controversy, but by some estimates, as many as 400,000 migrants headed west to California during the 1930s, according to Christy Gavin and Garth Milam, writing in California State University, Bakersfield’s Dust Bowl Migration Archives.