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Childhood Agricultural Injury Survey (CAIS) Results

Technical Information

Data Source & Case Definitions
Data SourceSample DesignCase Definitions 
Demographic EstimatesInjury EstimatesWeighting 
Data Elements
AgeBody Part AffectedFarm TypeInjury Type
OIICS Event CodeOIICS Source CodeRegionRelationship to Farm
SexType of YouthWork StatusYouth
Data Limitations

Data Source & Case Definitions

Data Source

CAIS data were collected through an interagency agreement between the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). NIOSH collaborated with NASS to collect data for youth injuries occurring on U.S. operated farms.

Sample Design

CAIS was based on a simple random sample of 50,000 U.S. farm operations using the list frame from the Census of Agriculture. CAIS collected data on U.S. farm operations that included information on farm characteristics, household demographics, and injuries to youth less than 20 years of age living on, working on, and visiting the farm. In addition to the total number of injuries, detailed injury information was collected for the four most recent injury events that occurred on each farm.

Case Definitions

Farm - any crop and/or livestock operation with $1,000 or more of gross agricultural production within a calendar year.

Injury - any traumatic event occurring on the farm operation resulting in at least 4 hours of restricted activity, or requiring professional medical treatment.

Work-injury - any injury that occurred while performing work or chores on the farm that was associated with the farm business, regardless of whether the work was performed for pay.


Demographic Estimates

CAIS is designed to produce national and regional estimates of the number of youth less than 20 years of age on U.S. operated farms by various demographic characteristics. Youth estimates include household youth, hired youth, and visiting youth for the years 2001, 2004, 2006, 2009, and 2012. Additional demographic data are available for household and hired youth (e.g., age, sex).

Injury Estimates

CAIS is designed to produce national and regional estimates of the number of youth less than 20 years of age on U.S. operated farms by various injury characteristics. Injury information was collected for all youth less than 20 years of age on farms for the years 2001, 2004, 2006, 2009, and 2012. This includes youth living on, working on, or visiting the farm. Injury data include information on whether an injury was work-related or not, the nature of the injury, the source of injury, the type of injury event, and the body part injured. Demographic information for all injured youth was also collected.


Sampling weights for CAIS were calculated based on the total number of farms responding by geographical region and the number of farms reported by NASS in the appropriate year for each region. The nine geographical regions used are those defined by the U.S. Bureau of the Census. Finally, weights were adjusted based on three farm value of sales categories (< $10,000, $10,000 - $99,999, > $99,999). All estimates for both the injury and demographic data were obtained using the SAS SurveyMeans procedure for a stratified equal probability sample.

Data Elements


Age, in years, as of the last birthday.

Notes - Age groups are inclusive of the years listed in the range. For injury estimates, age is available for all types of injured youth. For demographic estimates age is only available for household and hired youth.

Body Part Affected

The region or part of the body injured.

Farm Type

The type of production indicated for the respondent which represents the largest proportion of gross income for the farm operation.

Injury Type

Respondent-report of the type or nature of injury that occurred (e.g., burn, fracture).

OIICS Event Code

The manner in which the injury was produced or inflicted as coded in the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Injury and Illness Classification System (OIICS version 1). The OIICS coding manual is available online from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Notes - The event or exposure is classified in a hierarchical structure with general divisions: contact with objects; falls; bodily reaction and exertion; exposure to harmful substances or environments; transportation accidents; fires and explosions; assaults and violent acts; other events or exposures; and non-classifiable. Each case is coded to the most significant level of detail permitted by using the information abstracted from a narrative.

OIICS Source Code

The object, substance, bodily motion, or exposure which directly produced or inflicted the injury or illness as coded in the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Injury and Illness Classification System (OIICS version 1).

Notes - The source is classified in a hierarchical structure with general divisions: chemicals and chemical products; containers; furniture and fixtures; machinery; parts and materials; persons, plants, animals, and minerals; structures and surfaces; tools, instruments, and equipment; vehicles; other sources; and non-classifiable. The injury source is coded in a similar fashion and level of detail as the injury event. However, there are more codes available for source than event because of the diversity of items that could produce an injury.


Geographic regions as defined by the U.S. Bureau of the Census.

Note - A Census regional map is available at:

Relationship to Farm

The distinction between various relationship(s) an injured person could have to a farm operator. The relationship(s) are grouped as:

  • Household: a member of the farm operator’s household (farm operator, his/her spouse, child/step child).
  • Visitor: a visiting relative to the farm operation or a non-relative visitor.
  • Hired: a paid worker or laborer hired directly by the farm operator.

Note - See also Type of Youth


The distinction between male and female.

Type Of Youth

Identification of whether the youth lived on, worked on, or was a visitor to the farm. In all cases youth are defined as being less than 20 years of age.

  • All Youth: the sum of all youth categories in the survey (i.e., household youth, hired youth, relatives and non-relatives (e.g., visitors)).
  • All Working Youth: combination of working household, working relatives, and hired youth.
  • Household Youth: a member of the farm operator's household.
  • Working Household Youth: a member of the farm operator's household who performed work or chores on the farm (regardless of pay). This is a subset of household youth.
  • Hired Youth: youth hired directly by the farm operator and paid for work performed on the farm. These exclude working household youth and contract laborers.

Note - See also Relationship to Farm

Work Status

Whether or not the injury occurred while completing work or chores on the farm.


Any person under the age of 20 years.

Data Limitations


Although NIOSH extends considerable effort to insure reasonable data quality for CAIS estimates, there are no warranties expressed or implied with these data. The objective of CAIS is to provide public access to population, injury, and health information for youth on U.S. farms for use in farm safety and injury prevention activities where understanding the general magnitude of these characteristics are important. Use of these data for other purposes should be done with caution.


There are several limitations to the estimates derived from CAIS. First, the recall period for an injury was up to 15 months. While the definition of injury excluded minor injuries, which may be forgotten, there is still the possibility that a reportable injury was not remembered by a respondent. A second limitation is that most of the respondents were the female head of household, which may have resulted in an under reporting of hired youth injuries, especially for larger farming operations with many employees. Third, there was no way to verify the accuracy or completeness of the responses, which could impart some measurement error into the overall results. Fourth, the survey did not capture injuries that occurred to young contract farm workers. A final limitation is the possibility of a non-response bias. Due to the survey design, it was not possible to make a second contact to farm operators who refused to participate in the survey. This did not allow for a followback questionnaire to assess these refusals.

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  • Page last reviewed: May 29, 2013
  • Page last updated: April 7, 2014 The U.S. Government's Official Web PortalDepartment of Health and Human Services
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