The Economic Impact of Immigration on St. Louis

Jack Strauss
Date of Publication: 
June, 2012
Source Organization: 

This report argues that a big reason the St. Louis, MO, region has fallen behind many other big U.S. cities is the strikingly low rate of immigration.  

About 126,000 St. Louisans, less than five percent of the region's population, were born overseas. That rate is four or five times less than most of the rest of the nation's 20 biggest metro areas, the study found. It also has the second lowest growth rate among those cities.  

Coupled with an aging population, that translates into lower growth, fewer skilled workers to fill jobs in high-growth industries and a more sluggish economy.  

The immigrant households in St. Louis earn, on average, $83,000 a year - 25 percent more than native-born households - the study found. Foreign-born residents are 44 percent more likely to have a college degree, and 60 percent more likely to start a business. Yet there are few resources in St. Louis for immigrants to plug into the business world in comparison to cities such as Nashville, TN, and Louisville, KY, which have launched broad campaigns to better integrate immigrants into the local business community, and to immigrant resource centers in Cleveland and Philadelphia, designed to ease the transitions of newcomers.

Download now or view online.



Strauss, J. (2012). The Economic Impact of Immigration on St. Louis. Saint Louis University: St. Louis. Retrieved from