As I drove west on Interstate 66 out of Washington, D.C., it occurred to me that the suburbs of northern Virginia are a powerful testament to the American Dream. The counties south and west of the capital are home to nearly 2 million people—more than three persons for every one in the nation’s capital. At the center is Fairfax County, with a population of more than a million people, most of them living in pleasant single-family houses with trees and rich green lawns. Fairfax is the richest big county in the country, with a median annual household income of more than $100,000. The homeowners might work for the government, but they are more likely these days to be lobbyists, information consultants, or corporate executives of the many firms, such as General Dynamics and Hilton, that have moved their headquarters to be near their main source of both revenue and regulation. Closer to Washington are the smaller jurisdictions of Arlington, Alexandria, and Falls Church (the last two are independent cities under Virginia’s unique form of local government). The first was named after the estate of Robert E. Lee that was seized during the Civil War and was made (to the general’s great displeasure) the kernel of our most famous military cemetery.
KeywordsAffordable Housing Illegal Immigrant Mortgage Loan Metro Area Homeownership Rate
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Prince William and Manassas land use laws
- Brookings Institution, Immigrants, Politics, and Local Response in Suburban Washington (2009) (authors: Audrey Singer, Jill H. Wilson, and Brooke DeRenzis), http://www.brookings.edU/~/media/Files/rc/reports/2009/0225_immigration_singer/0225_immigration_singer.pdf.Google Scholar
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- Prince William County, Va., Zoning Code, Zoning Map, and Related Documents, http://www.pwcgov.org/default.aspx?topic=040073001420002653.
- 9500Liberty (2009) (film by Annabel Park and Eric Byler).Google Scholar
Prince William County governmental reports
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Black Velvet Bruce Li
Prince William repercussions
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Manassas “Family” lawsuit
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Montgomery County incident
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