P59: Expanding Horizons

Middle-aged families earning modest to average incomes from blue-collar jobs

Type of Cultural Connections consisting of 1.32% of households and 1.56% of population

Who We Are

  • Aged 36-45
  • Household income $35,000-$49,999
  • 5+ person household
  • Homeowner
  • Very high level of household technology

Key Features

  • Blue-collar jobs
  • Bilingual
  • Style-conscious
  • Budget constraints
  • Preteens and teens
  • Modest educations


Concentrated in cities along the southern US border, seven out of ten households consist of families, typically with teenage children. One-fifth contains multigenerational families often living in crowded conditions. The vast majority of residents have little education—more than half are high school dropouts—and work as poorly paid laborers or service- sector workers. Their household income is $35,000—above the US poverty line by less than $10,000.

Despite their low incomes, nearly 75 percent of Expanding Horizons own their homes. These residences tend to be ranch houses and mobile homes located in downscale, industrial parts of cities. Though most households have at least one car, they tend to be older trucks and subcompacts. Even though these foreign-born people have been at the same residence for more than five years, nearly three quarters say that Spanish is the predominant language spoken at home.

Many households in Expanding Horizons struggle to make ends meet. However, they participate in a wide range of leisure activities available near their neighborhoods. They like to play sports at nearby parks and ball fields: soccer, baseball and basketball are all popular. Many travel to Mexico every few years to visit family and friends, and there’s always cash to buy toys. Many women like the latest fashions, but they stretch their budgets by going to stores like Dollar General and Big Lots. They often lack credit and debit cards and pay for everything with cash.

Expanding Horizons are traditionalists when it comes to media. They like to watch Spanish-language shows on TV. They’re less likely to use the internet, but younger members of these families do go online to visit social networking sites.

Expanding Horizons have strong family values. They’re religious, hard-working and ambitious. Despite the barriers to education, they say that they want to advance to the top of their careers and make a lot of money. They’re not very political— a large percentage is not registered to vote—and their views are mostly moderate.