The Land Lords: Some Facts

 

Central America

Less than one percent of the farms occupy almost 40 percent of the farmland; seven percent of the farms occupy three quarters of the farmland; the smallest 25 percent of farms together have less than one percent of the farmland (Barry, Tom and Deb Preusch, Central America Fact Book, Grove Press, 1986, p. 135).

In Brazil, two percent of the farms occupy 54 percent of the land (Americas Watch, Rural Violence in Brazil, New York: Human Rights Watch, 1991).

In El Salvador, six out of ten rural residents are landless; most of the farmland is held by Los Catorce (the 14 families) (Barry, Central America Fact Book, pp. 135, 140).

In Honduras, two-thirds of the arable land is owned by five percent of the farm owners; 65 percent of this land is used to graze cattle for beef exports (Barry, Central America Fact Book, 1986, p. 135).

 

United States

Ten percent of the U.S. population owns 82 percent of the real estate (and 81 percent of the stock and 88 percent of the bonds) (Federal Reserve Bank data in Left Business Observer, April 3, 1996, p. 5).

The top five percent of landowners [not five percent of the total population] own 75 percent of the land (Geisler, Rural Sociology 1993, 58(4): 532-546).

 

Appalachia

72 percent of the 13 million acres studied by the Appalachian Land Ownership Tax Force were owned by absentee owners. One percent of the owners held 44 percent of the land. Nine corporations controlled 34 percent of the land and 80 percent of the coal, but paid only four percent of the property taxes. (ALOTF, Who Owns Appalachia? University Press of Kentucky, 1983).

 

California

In 1970, 58 percent of the farmland was held by 25 owners (Fellmuth, 1970, Power and Land in California).

 

Europe

1,252 landowners own two-thirds of the 16,000,000 acres of private rural land in Scotland. (Andy Wightman with Democratic Left Scotland, Scotland: Land and Power, The Agenda for Land Reform (Luath Press Ltd, Edinburgh, 1999).