Document Type


Date of Original Version



Sociology and Anthropology


This article reports on findings from “Puerto Rican Girls Speak!,” an ethnographic research project carried out during the Spring of 2010 in Hartford, Connecticut, with 18 third-generation Puerto Rican girls ranging in age from 14 to 18 years old. Using mixed ethnographic methods, we examined the ways in which low-income, urban Puerto Rican girls defined success in their lives. For the girls who participated in this study, success is a multidimensional phenomena that includes happiness, wellbeing, life satisfaction, economic independence and stability, and fulfilling social relationships. We explored the role of family, reciprocity, and formal education networks in shaping the girls’ beliefs about success, as well as their effect on the girls’ ability to achieve success in life. Urban minority girls often struggle to balance the multiple domains of life that comprise success.