Mexican Americans’ Lucky Few and Baby Boom Cohorts: How Is Relative Cohort Size Related to the Likelihood of Being Out-of-Poverty?

Carlos Siordia, University of Pittsburgh
Ophra Leyser-Whalen, University of Texas at El Paso


Generational cohorts influence individuals’ economic life chances. Retrospective analysis has found that the “Lucky Few” generation had better life chances than previous generations. We focus on Mexican Americans in the United States and offer a prospective analysis to explore how relative cohort size plays a role in the odds of their being out-of-poverty. Using Public Use Microdata Sample files from 1990, 2000, and 2010, we test the hypothesis by comparing Early Baby Boom (those born between 1946 and 1955) and Late Baby Boom (those born between 1956 and 1965) cohorts to the Lucky Few (born between 1936 and 1945) cohort. Models predicting the odds of being out-of-poverty during the peak wage-earning years indicate that belonging to the Lucky Few cohort affords Mexican Americans no economic advantage. Our findings demonstrate that the relative cohort size hypothesis may not always be generalized to Mexican American minority samples.