Outsmarting Smart Growth: Study Finds Population Growth Key Reason for Sprawl

By CIS on August 1, 2003

WASHINGTON (August 2003) -- In recent years, a host of local governments, states, and non-profit organizations have adopted initiatives designed to save rural land from sprawl. Most anti-sprawl efforts have focused on 'Smart Growth' strategies, which emphasize better planning to create more efficient land use.

A new study from the Center for Immigration Studies indicates that this approach will have only limited success in saving rural land because it fails to address a key reason for sprawl - immigration-driven population growth. Based on data from the Census Bureau and from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service, the study finds that about half the loss of rural land in recent decades is attributable to increases in the U.S. population, while changes in land use account for the other half.

The 122-page report, entitled Outsmarting Smart Growth: Population Growth, Immigration, and the Problem of Sprawl, contains detailed information for every state and will be available on line at www.cis.org.

On Tuesday, August 26, the Center will host a panel discussion to release this report. The event will take place at 9:30 a.m. in the First Amendment Room of the National Press Club, 14th & F streets, N.W. The panelists will include:

- Roy Beck, study co-author and director of the NumbersUSA Education and Research Foundation

- Ben Zuckerman, professor of physics and astronomy at UCLA and a member of the UCLA Institute of the Environment; Board Member of both the Sierra Club and the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society

- Steven Camarota, study co-author and Director of Research at the Center for Immigration Studies.

The discussion is free and open to the public. For more information, contact John Keeley at (202) 466-8185 or [email protected]

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The Center for Immigration Studies is a non-profit, non-partisan research organization which examines and critiques the impact of immigration on the United States. It is not affiliated with any other group.