Manuel Pastor

Manuel Pastor

Distinguished Professor of Sociology and American Studies & Ethnicity and Turpanjian Chair in Civil Society and Social Change, University of Southern California

About Manuel

Pastor’s research has generally focused on issues of the economic, environmental and social conditions facing low-income urban communities – and the social movements seeking to change those realities. He speaks frequently on the changing demographics of the U.S. as well as on the ways in which inequality is corrosive to both our politics and our economy. His research projects are routinely in concert with community organizers seeking to reshape democracy from the ground up, with partner organizations that include Community Coalition, Strategic Concepts in Organizing and Policy Education (SCOPE), the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy (LAANE), the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights, Los Angeles (CHIRLA), and the like. He served as a member of the Commission on Regions appointed by California’s Speaker of the State Assembly, and in January 2002 was awarded a Civic Entrepreneur of the Year award from the California Center for Regional Leadership. In 2012, the Liberty Hill Foundation awarded Pastor the Wally Marks Changemaker Award.


In the News

Opinion: "Why the Environmental Justice Movement Should Support the UAW Organizing Drive," Manuel Pastor, The Nation, March 11, 2024.
Quoted by Harold Meyerson in "Home/Politics," The American Prospect, August 5, 2020.
Opinion: "Op-Ed: Liberals Skeptical of Joe Biden Should Look to the Example of Jerry Brown," Manuel Pastor (with Sara Sadhwani), Los Angeles Times, July 21, 2020.
Research discussed by Eric Pape, in "Debt of a Salesman: Why the Cost of Living is Making Retirement a Mirage," Fast Company, December 3, 2018.
Research discussed by Chad Davis, in "Improved Racial Equity in St. Louis Region Could Boost Economy and Voter Turnout, Says Report," NPR, September 20, 2018.
Opinion: "Who Will Win the War for the Soul of the Democratic Party? Ask California.," Manuel Pastor, The Washington Post, July 19, 2018.
Quoted by Gene Haagenson in "State Assembly Committee Holds Hearing in Fresno on Early Childhood Education," ABC 30, July 11, 2018.
Research discussed by Louis Jacobson, in "No, It's Not Correct That 39% of California Students are Undocumented," PolitiFact, July 5, 2018.
Quoted by Brenda Gazzar and Brian Rokos in "California Starbucks Investigates after Slur Demeaning Mexicans is Printed on Customer’s Coffee Cups," The Mercury News, May 17, 2018.
Research discussed by James Fallows, in "How California Turned into a ‘State of Resistance’," The New York Times, April 23, 2018.
Opinion: "When the Next Generation Looks Racially Different from the Last, Political Tensions Rise," Manuel Pastor, The Converation, February 14, 2018.
Quoted by Anabel Munoz in "Leading Voices in Immigration Convene for California Bold Conference," ABC 7 News, February 7, 2018.
Quoted by Manuela Tobias in "Are 55 Percent of Immigrants in California on Welfare? That's an Exaggeration," Politifact, January 29, 2018.
Quoted by Kim Brunhuber in "'We are in a War Here': Black and Latino Residents Fight Gentrification in LA," CBC News, November 4, 2017.
Opinion: "After Tax Cuts Derailed the ‘California Dream,’ is the State Getting Back on Track?," Manuel Pastor, The Conversation, November 1, 2017.
Guest on USC News, February 22, 2017.
Opinion: "Latinos and the Future of American Politics," Manuel Pastor, The American Prospect, January 17, 2017.
Guest on NPR KPCC, November 26, 2016.
Quoted by Brentin Mock in "The Racial Justice Flaws in California's Climate Bill," CityLab, September 15, 2016.
Opinion: "Embrace Equity to Win on Climate Goals," Manuel Pastor (with Carol Zabin ), San Francisco Chronicle, September 10, 2016.
Opinion: "Sanders Backers Need to Keep Organizing," Manuel Pastor, Sacramento Bee, June 28, 2016.
Quoted by Julia Preston in "More Latinos Seek Citizenship to Vote against Trump," New York Times, March 7, 2016.
Quoted by Alana Semuels in "Budget Woes in One of America's Wealthiest Cities," The Atlantic, February 25, 2016.
Quoted by Leslie Berestein Rojas in "After Decades without a Movie Theater, Compton Could Get One," KPCC, February 10, 2016.
Quoted by Aura Bogado in "Environmental Justice Scores a Win in California Carbon Policy," Grist, December 7, 2015.
Opinion: "2016 and 2020 DAPA-Affected Voters and 2012 Margins of Victory, by State," Manuel Pastor (with Tom Jawetz and Lizet Ocampo), Center for American Progress, November 19, 2015.
Opinion: "DAPA Matters," Manuel Pastor (with Tom Jawet and Lizet Ocampo), Center for American Progress, November 19, 2015.
Research discussed by Melissa De Witte, in "More than Economics: New Book Explores How Equality Helps Economies Grow," UCSC Newscenter, October 15, 2015.
Quoted by Iyana Robertson in "Here’s Why ‘Straight Outta Compton’ is Not Playing in Compton," Vibe, August 18, 2015.
Guest on CBSLA, August 17, 2015.
Opinion: "One (Economic) Argument for ONE California," Manuel Pastor, Huffington Post, May 5, 2015.
Quoted by Eddie North-Hager in "State of the Neighborhood Report Offers Proposals for Surrounding Communities," USC News, April 21, 2015.
Opinion: "Blocking Immigration Action Will Exact a Political Price," Manuel Pastor, Sacramento Bee, March 18, 2015.
Opinion: "Twelve Ways to Reverse Inequality and Close the "California Chasm"," Manuel Pastor (with Dan Braun), Capital & Main, February 26, 2015.
Research discussed by Emily Brennan, in "SDSU Researcher Finds Unauthorized Immigrants Lack Resources," Daily Aztec, February 25, 2015.
Research discussed by Garret Wilson, in "Grand Rapids Will be 25 Percent Latino by 2040, Predicts USC Demographer," Michigan Live, September 29, 2014.
Opinion: "Los Angeles Proposes a Higher Minimum Wage," Manuel Pastor, Huffington Post, September 2, 2014.
Guest on KPPC’s Take Two, May 8, 2013.
Opinion: "Lessons for L.A. from 1992," Manuel Pastor (with Kafi Blumenfield), Los Angeles Times, April 25, 2012.
Opinion: "California Needs an Integrated Plan on Immigration (See Utah)," Manuel Pastor (with Ange-Marie Hancock), Sacramento Bee, March 27, 2011.
Opinion: "Latino Report Card Offers Road Map to Greater Success," Manuel Pastor (with Ron Gonzalez), San Jose Mercury News, March 20, 2011.
Opinion: "Promesas que Empeoran," Manuel Pastor, La Opinion, October 2, 2010.
Opinion: "Immigrants’ Future is California’s Future," Manuel Pastor (with Vanessa Carter), San Francisco Chronicle, July 2, 2010.
Opinion: "Reaching L.A.’s ‘Unbanked’," Manuel Pastor, Los Angeles Times, February 25, 2009.


Unsettled Americans (edited with John Mollenkopf) (Cornell University Press, 2016).

Draws on case studies from old and new immigrant destinations to explore the dynamics of these interactions, drawing lessons about the conditions that contribute either to greater conflict and polarization or to cooperative inclusion of new groups.

"Just Growth: Prosperity and Inclusion in America’s Metropolitan Regions" (with Chris Benner) (Routledge Press, 2012).
Demonstrates that equity and growth can go together – and explores the how and why, including the creation of diverse “knowledge communities” that share facts and frames about the regional future.
"Uncommon Common Ground: Race and America’s Future" (with Angela Glover Blackwell and Stewart Kwoh) (W.W. Norton, 2010).
Takes a complex look at race in the wake of the Obama election, arguing that persistent differentials need to be challenged more forthrightly in order to secure a stronger America.
"This Could be the Start of Something Big: How Social Movements for Regional Equity are Reshaping Metropolitan America" (with Chris Benner and Martha Matsuoka) (Cornell University Press, 2009).
Looks at social movement organizing across the metropolitan regions of the U.S. and argues for a new approach to both policy and politics.