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Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Immigrants in Europe & the U.S.

From the Wall Street Journal (free this week):

The Big Apple offers a lesson for France. An analysis of recent census numbers indicates that immigrants to New York are the biggest contributors to the net growth of educated young people in the city. Without the disproportionate contributions of young European immigrants, New York would have suffered a net outflow of educated people under 35 in the late '90s. Overall, there are now 500,000 New York residents who were born in Europe (not to mention the numerous non-European immigrants who live, and prosper, in the city).

Contrast this with Paris, where the central city is largely off-limits to immigrants, in some ways due to the dirigiste planning that so many professional American urbanists find appealing. Since Napoleon III rebuilt Paris, uprooting many existing working-class communities, the intention of the French elites has been to preserve the central parts of the city -- often with massive public investment -- for the affluent. This has consigned the proletariat, first white and now increasingly Muslim, to the proximate suburbs -- into what some French sociologists call "territorial stigma." In these communities, immigrants are effectively isolated from the overpriced, elegant central core and the ever-expanding outer suburban grand couronne. The outer suburbs, usually not on the maps of tourists and new urbanist sojourners, now are home to a growing percentage of French middle-class families, and are the locale for many high-tech companies and business service firms.

Read this whole piece and you will have a better understanding of the reasons for the riots in France and in other parts of Europe.

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