CHANGES IN THE FARM POPULATION 1996-2000
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This article analyses changes in the size and economic activity of the farm population in 1996-2000. The analysis is based on the results of two agricultural censuses carried out at that time. The former one was a general census and the latter one was a representative census. The following major changes were detected. The number of farms (with an agricultural area of over one hectare) diminished by 8% and their average area increased from 7.0 hectares to 7.2 hectares in the period between the two censuses. The population diminished at a steeper rate than the number of farms. This can largely be attributed to the drop in average number of farmer family members and especially in the number of children. Analysis of the structure of the adult population by economic activity revealed three major types of change: a drop in the proportion of the population working exclusively or mainly on the farm from about 60% to about 52%; stabilisation of the proportion of the population working exclusively or mainly elsewhere (off their own farms) at about 22%; increase of the proportion of the non-working population from about 17% to about 24% (data for farms larger than one hectare). The last part of the article analyses the determinants of the changes in economic activity of the farming population, with special emphasis on the effect of educational development, the situation on the labour market and factors relating to the retirement of farmers.
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