Adolescent work patterns and work-related injury incidence in rural Minnesota


  • Institution at which the work was performed: Minnesota Department of Health, Minneapolis.



Although there have been many studies on working youth in the United States, we have noted none which have provided a broad picture of adolescent work practices in a rural community.


Six high schools in rural Minnesota were evaluated for adolescent work practices. Schools ranged in size from 173 to 525 students in grades 9 through 12. A 20 page self-administered survey examining work practices was administered to students.


A total of 2,250 students completed the survey, representing 92% of the student body. Twenty-eight percent of students lived on a farm. Approximately 45% of the male students and slightly more than 21% of the females were involved in farm work. Only 2.6% of students were injured during this 8-month time period in farm-related activities, and 5.1% were injured doing non-farm work. Many students reported working long hours.


Work represents a serious problem for rural youth. These data are significant in the context of national policy discussion concerning the failure of the Fair Labor Standards Act to regulate the agricultural environment. Am. J. Ind. Med. 42:134–141, 2002. © 2002 Wiley-Liss, Inc.