Left Out: Trust and Social Capital Among Migrant Seasonal Farmworkers

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Objectives. We analyze the levels of trust and social capital among an understudied group: migrant seasonal farmworkers (MSFW). MSFWs of today are likely to become the "Hispanics" of tomorrow, which means that understanding what affects the development of social capital of this group is critical to understanding how these individuals are incorporated—or not—into the U.S. polity. Methods. We utilize logistic regression analysis and ordered logit analysis to analyze a data set of 555 MSFWs and comments from four focus groups in Idaho. Results. We find that MSFWs have lower levels of generalized trust than do Hispanics nationally. We also find that MSFWs have low levels of trust toward whites and Mexican Americans. Conclusions. We argue that an ethnic community’s subgroups must be incorporated into our analysis of social capital, especially when these individuals are likely to become U.S. permanent residents or citizens.