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Barrios to BurbsThe Making of the Mexican American Middle Class$
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Jody Vallejo

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780804781398

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804781398.001.0001

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Barrios to Burbs: Divergent Class Backgrounds and Pathways into the Middle Class

Barrios to Burbs: Divergent Class Backgrounds and Pathways into the Middle Class

(p.43) 3 Barrios to Burbs: Divergent Class Backgrounds and Pathways into the Middle Class
Barrios to Burbs
Stanford University Press

Mexican Americans who belong to the middle class appear to have similar middle-class attributes, but differ in their class backgrounds. Growing up middle class has several advantages, such as living in middle-class neighborhoods and attending middle-class schools, which enable young people to have higher educational attainment. The parents' legal status is the underlying mechanism that makes it possible for some immigrant families to gain a foothold in the middle class. Most Mexican Americans grow up in poverty but attain social mobility through higher education, while others move up the corporate ladder despite the lack of a college degree. There are also Mexican Americans who achieve middle-class status through entrepreneurship. In general, the social mobility of middle-class Mexican Americans challenges the widespread notion that every Mexican American will follow a pathway of downward, or stagnated, assimilation.

Keywords:   Mexican Americans, middle class, social mobility, higher education, educational attainment, entrepreneurship, assimilation, parents

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