Agricultural Employment

OWID presents work from many different people and organizations. When citing this entry, please also cite the original data source. This entry can be cited as:

Max Roser (2016) – ‘Agricultural Employment’. Published online at OurWorldInData.org. Retrieved from: https://ourworldindata.org/agricultural-employment/ [Online Resource]

As countries develop, the share of the population working in agriculture is declining. While more than 2/3 of the population in poor countries work in agriculture, less than 5% of the population does in rich countries. It is predominantly the huge productivity increase that makes this reduction in labor possible.

Similarly the productivity increase makes it possible to reduce the agricultural land needed to feed a given number of people.

# Empirical View

# Long-Run Perspective: 1300 to Today

# Share of the labor force working in agriculture, 1300-2012 – Max Roser1

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# Absolute size and share of the agricultural labor force in England, the Netherlands, and France, 1500-2000 – Simon (1996)2

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# Absolute size and share of the agricultural labor force in the USA, 1800-2000 – Simon (1996)3

Absolute-size-and-share-of-the-agricultural-labor-force-of-the-USA-1800-2000-Simon-1996.png

# Recent Decades

# World maps of employment in agriculture as share of total employment, 1980-2012 – Max Roser4

# Agricultural labor force and rural population by continent, 1960-2005 – World Development Report (2008)5

Agricultural labor force and rural population by Continent (1960-2005) – World Development Report (2008)0

 

# Correlates, Determinants & Consequences

# GDP

# The shares of GDP and labor in agriculture decline as countries develop – Todaro & Smith (2011)6
The Shares of GDP and Labor in Agriculture decline as Countries develop – Todaro & Smith (2011)0

# Labor Productivity

# Labor productivity in European countries, 1961-2002 – Alston, Babcock, and Pardey [eds.] (2010)7

Labor productivity in European Countries (1961-2002) – Alston, Babcock, and Pardey [eds.] (2010)0

 

# Data Quality & Definition

Labor requirements are considerably higher for vegetables than for cereals, as shown in the graph below.

# Average number of labor days per hectare for cereals and vegetables – World Development Report (2008)8

Average number of labor days per hectare – World Development Report (2008)

# Data Sources

# World Bank – World Development Indicators
  • Data: ‘Employment in agriculture (% of total employment)’ – women only, men only, total.
  • Geographical coverage: Global – by country and world region.
  • Time span: Since 1980
  • Available at: World Bank website – ‘Employment in agriculture (% of total employment)’ is here.
  •  Szirmai (2005) publishes data on the agricultural labor force for some countries for the time 1950 to 2000 on his website. These data are also taken from (older publications of) the World Bank.

# International Labour Organization (ILO)
  • Data: Agriculture workers as % of labor force
  • Geographical coverage: Global
  • Time span: Since 1980
  • Available at: The website of the ILO – and in a ready to use format on Gapminder here.