Abel Valenzuela, Jr.

Chair, Professor of Chicana/o Studies and Urban Planning

AValenzuela Portrait7365 Bunche
(310) 206-8224


Ph.D., Urban and Regional Studies, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1993. 
MC.P., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1988.
B.A., Social Science Major, University of California at Berkeley, 1986. 
Dissertation: Immigrants, Minority Workers, and Job Competition: A Comparative Analysis of New York and Los Angeles, 1970-1980.

Areas of Interest

Immigration and labor markets, poverty and inequality, immigration settlement patterns.

Professional Experience

Professor Valenzuela is the current chair of the UCLA César E. Chávez Department for Chicana/o Studies and holds joint appointment in the Department of Urban Planning.  His research is primarily concerned with the issues faced by minorities and immigrants in the U.S.  His work focuses on three key interrelated areas: 1) immigration and labor markets, 2) poverty and inequality, and 3) immigrant settlement patterns.  His work combines ethnographic, in-depth interviews, participant observation, and quantitative methods to document and explain the processes that govern the incorporation of immigrants to the U.S. Professor Valenzuela is currently working on further publishing articles and completing a manuscript on day labor in a national context. His groundbreaking work on day labor continues to drive his primary research agenda. In addition, Professor Valenzuela is undertaking research on non-union supermarket janitors (subcontractors), immigrant-serving community based organizations, and the organizing campaigns of security guards and car wash attendants.

At UCLA, Professor Valenzuela directs the Center for the Study of Urban Poverty, teaches courses on labor and employment, immigration and U.S. society, urban poverty and public policy, and planning issues in minority communities. He is also the Chair of the University of California Committee on Latino Research. He was born and raised in Los Angeles and lives in Venice with his wife and two sons.

Selected Publications

BC ImmigrationCrimeValenzuela, Jr. Abel, Nik Theodore, Edwin Melendez, and Ana Luz Gonzalez. 2006. “On the Corner: Day Labor in the United States.” Technical Report, UCLA Center for the Study of Urban Poverty.

Martinez, Jr., Ramiro and Abel Valenzuela Jr. (eds.) 2006. Immigration and Crime: Ethnicity, Race, and Violence. New York: New York University Press.

Valenzuela, Jr. Abel, Lisa Schweitzer, and Adriele Robles. 2005. “Camionetas: Informal Travel Among Immigrants.” Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice . Vol. 39, Issue 10: 895-911.

BC Prismatic Metropolis

Valenzuela, Jr. Abel and Darnell Hunt. 2004. “Labor and Spanish-Language Broadcasters: Top Ratings,

Second-Class Status.” Working USA: The Journal of Labor and Society. 7(4):78-102.

Valenzuela, Jr. Abel. 2003. “Day-Labor Work.” Annual Review of Sociology . 29(1):307-333.

Bobo, Lawrence, James Johnson, Jr., Melvin Oliver, and Abel Valenzuela, Jr. (eds.), 2000. Prismatic Metropolis: Inequality in Los Angeles. Russell Sage Foundation. New York, NY.


  • Chicano Studies 10B, "Introduction to Chicana/Chicano Studies: Social Structure and Contemporary Conditions." (Winter 2001, Winter 2003, Winter 2007)
  • Chicano Studies 19-2, "Fiat Lux Freshman Seminars Chicano Studies 19, Seminar 2: On the Corner: Searching for and Working Day Labor." (Fall 2006)
  • Chicano Studies 19-3, "Variable Topics Research Seminars: Chicana and Chicano Studies Chicano Studies 191, Seminar 3: Low-Wage and Immigrant Workers." (Fall 2009, Winter 2009)
  • Chicano Studies 101, "Theoretical Concepts in Chicana and Chicano Studies." (Winter 2002)
  • Chicano Studies 120, "Immigration and the Chicano Community." (Fall 1999, Fall 2000, Spring 2006)
  • Chicano Studies 122, "Planning Issues in Latina/Latino Communities." (Winter 2000, Spring 2001)
  • Chicano Studies M121, "Issues in Latina/Latino Poverty ." (Fall 2008, Spring 2010)
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