The Latino Middle-Class

Barrios to Burbs: The Making of the Mexican-American Middle Class

08.15.2013, by Jody Agius Vallejo and Stephanie Canizales
Photo credit: Stanford University Press
USC Article

Barrios to Burbs: The Making of the Mexican American Middle Class (Stanford University Press).

Too frequently, the media and politicians cast Mexican immigrants as a threat to American society. Given America’s increasing ethnic diversity and the large size of the Mexican-origin population, an investigation of how Mexican immigrants and their descendants achieve upward mobility and enter the middle class is long overdue. Barrios to ‘Burbs offers a new understanding of the Mexican-American experience, examining the pathways that result in upward social mobility and the experiences of Mexican Americans once they join the middle class.

Using in-depth interviews and ethnographic field work, Barrios to Burbs examines the mechanisms that help Mexican Americans enter the middle class, such as parental legal status, educational tracking and middle-class mentors.

Agius Vallejo also explores the challenges that accompany rapid social mobility and examine...more.


The Tomás Rivera Policy Institute, a university research center with the mission to address the challenges and opportunities of demographic diversity in the 21st century global city, has produced these featured digital publications using the USC Media Curator, an online publishing platform designed to bring together innovative research from across the University of Southern California and beyond. This project curates research on the topics of the Latino Middle-Class and Hispanic-Serving Institutions. For additional research conducted by TRPI, including curated research on the topic of naturalization, visit


Panel Discussion

White House Hispanic Leaders’ Forum

08.16.2013, by Jody Agius Vallejo and Stephanie Canizales

The Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC) and the White House co-hosted the first ever Hispanic Business Leaders’ Forum on May 29, 2013. The forum brought 80 of the natio...more.