Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Mexican-American Professionals: An Oxymoronic Concept or New Reality?
by Reynoso, Edelmira, Ph.D., State University of New York at Albany, 2017, 296; 10276822
Abstract (Summary)

This dissertation is a socio-demographic analysis of the Mexican-American professional population. Scholars argue the Mexican-American population represent a unique case (Bean and Stevens 2003; Portes and Rumbaut 2001), and their lived experiences are distinct from many of the other Latino groups studied. The Mexican-American population interconnects with new and old waves of migration. Missing from the literature is the impact Mexican-Americans professionals have in the United States’ economy.

It is not enough that we have a profound understanding of the labor market outcomes of recent Mexican immigrant working-class. Absent from the investigations are the rest of the Mexican-origin population, those who make up a percentage of higher-status, higher-paid occupations. As one of the fastest-growing populations in the United States, Mexican Americans who hold a professional status have the potential to exert influence in our nation’s social, political and economic arenas. Mexican-origin professional—in this study is defined as a well-educated individual who is Mexican American, part of the 1.5 generation, or a Mexican immigrant who holds a post-secondary degree, and is of working age.

This quantitative study uses data from the Integrated Public Use Microdata Series (IPUMS-USA) to explain the socio-demographic and racial identity characteristics of all professionals that comprise of Mexican Americans, the 1.5 generation, Mexican immigrants and compare them to non-Hispanic whites. The data is from the 5 percent sample of 1980, 1990, 2000 and the 2010 American Community Survey IPUMS database. Focusing on the “New and Emerging Mexican” (N.E.M.) challenges stereotypes, assumptions, and the deficit model approach.

The findings of this study indicate that Mexican Americans, the 1.5 generation, and even the Mexican-immigrant population are steadily entering the professional ranks which enhance their prospects of joining the middle class. Within the last 2010 census year, all groups had increased their percentage in the most prominent occupational categories. The disaggregation of the data further illustrates that gender dynamics are at play and women are outpacing men because they have a higher degree attainment. In sum, socio-historical accounts prove how their disadvantaged position in society came as a result of obstacles which impeded their progress. Given the adversities many face to break into the professional ranks of the American occupational structure they are proving they are far from being oxymoronic.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Horton, Hayward D.
Commitee: Bose, Christine E., Denton, Nancy A.
School: State University of New York at Albany
Department: Sociology
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-A 78/10(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Sociology
Keywords: 1.5 generation, Demography, Mexican americans, Mexican-origin, Middle class, Professionals
Publication Number: 10276822
ISBN: 978-1-369-81406-4
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