Farmers Health Inequalities: Longitudinal Analysis of Morbidity, Mortality, and Migration Trends.

This study will examine morbidity, mortality, and migration between 1991, 2001, and 2011. Using individual and area level data from the NILS, I plan to compare census derived variables and health outcomes of agricultural workers against other distinct occupations. This study’s target audience will be farmers from different farming sectors and by extension their farming families. This study will analyse sub-groups of agricultural workers, their health circumstances, death rates, and migration trends against other detailed occupations; to examine variations in their demographic, socio-economic and health over time.

Deprivation indicators will be examined using: individual (demographic; socio-economic variables); household (e.g. house prices; number of cars owned; census derived variables) and area level characteristics (e.g. NIMDM) (Allen, 2014; Cummins, 2004). This study will use the minor occupation group “Farmers” as the key comparator alongside eight other specified agricultural occupations; relating to farm managers, horticultural trades, agricultural trades, farm machinery drivers, and fishing. Longitudinal research into agricultural workers’ characteristics and health status changes are essential for providing a portrait of the state of farmers in the NI population. The aim of the proposed study is to extend previous research on morbidity, mortality, and migration.

The project will aim to:

  1. Morbidity: analyse the health trajectories of those from farming families who stay working on-farm with those who move off-farm; for better control over unmeasured confounding variables, I will analyse the health status changes of farmers compared with their siblings working in other occupations off-farm. What is the risk of bad health between different occupational types?
  2. Mortality: compare cause of death trends of agricultural workers against matched non-farming occupational groups to assess if socio-economic factors are associated with these patterns; what is the risk of specific causes of death (e.g. cancers, heart disease, etc.) and all-cause mortality between different occupational types?
  3. Migration: examine the movements of individuals from farming families in NI, at household and ward level, for evidence of selective socio-economic migration between areas; are farmers with more privileged socio-economic factors and good health characteristics significantly linked with higher rates of internal migration.
Research Team: Kelly Trearty, Brendan Bunting, John Mallett
Database: NILS
Project Status: Archived
Organisation(s): University of Ulster