More Immigrants Bypassing Cities, Moving Directly to Suburbs

July 16, 2006

Source: The Associated Press,0,2313551.story?coll=ny-region-apnewyork

On July 16, 2006 The Associated Press reported, "Thiyagarajan Subramanian didn't come to America and settle in a big-city ethnic neighborhood. He moved to suburbia, into a contemporary colonial with a two-car garage. Subramanian is typical of many immigrants across the country. They are often skipping the cozy cocoon of ethnic enclaves to spread out amid plush lawns and strip malls, even though that makes it harder to preserve cultural ties. Demographers tracking immigration trends say it could be a signpost in a country simultaneously more diverse and more suburban. The trend is especially pronounced among Albany-area Indians _ a group thick with first-generation professionals like Subramanian, a 43-year-old information technology consultant who moved his family from India in 1995. 'I think they're the first ethnic group that the majority of whom have gone directly to the suburbs instead of following the traditional pattern of settling in the city and moving to the suburbs,' said Kenneth Johnson, a demographer and professor of sociology at Loyola University in Chicago... Ravi Pilar, chairman of the Hindu Temple Society of the Capital District, said there were just a scattering of other Indian families when he moved to the Albany area from New Jersey in 1985. Now there are thousands. Pilar notes that the temple (which is actually in suburban Loudonville) now has about 2,500 families. An addition to handle weddings and cultural events is in the works... Subramanian and his wife keep their culture alive at home, speaking Tamil around the house with their 15-year-old son and 7-year-old daughter. They watch a Tamil TV station and adhere to a Hindu diet. 'Even now my children don't eat meat,' he said. 'We're a Hindu family'... The Hindu temple is a focal point for Indian celebrations, but it's a long drive for many. For special occasions, it will draw in celebrants from Plattsburgh and Burlington, Vt., more than 130 miles away, Pilar said."