Immigrants and Exurbs
November 30, 2010, 05:51 PM
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Ever since African-American voters in Washington D.C. kicked out school reformer Michelle Rhee, lowering property values in gentrifying sections of D.C., blogger and D.C. condo-owner Matthew Yglesias has been on the warpath to admit 165,000,000 immigrants to the U.S.. You might think that the subsequent increase in global carbon emissions alone would make that an expensive way to drive African Americans out of D.C. in order to improve the public schools and raise Yglesias's property value, but, you see, Yglesias has a triple bankshot plan to remake America into his beloved native Manhattan. He thinks 165 million immigrants couldn't help but come in handy in the Manhattanization of America so that everybody will take the subway to work.

But, has Yglesias ever asked immigrants where they want to live? Much of the evidence suggests: in the exurbs, in big houses, with big air conditioners, driving big SUVs. For example, here's a 2009 article by Alan Ehrenhalt in Governing entitled Immigrants and the Suburban Influx. It describes exurban Gwinnett County, about 30 miles outside of Atlanta. Famous as a white flight region just a couple of decades ago, Gwinnett is now majority minority, with lots of prosperous Indians and Koreans. Maybe in a generation or two, affluent Indians and Koreans will want to lead the downtown hipster life, but right now they want the traditional American Dream of a home with a yard and a big car (i.e., they want to emit a lot of carbon.)