St. Louis Metro Area Continues to See Growing Immigrant Population

By on March 13, 2017

From KMOV4:  The St. Louis region was the fastest growing region for foreign born people in 2015.

That’s according to folks with the St. Louis Mosaic Project, an initiative aimed at increasing the number of immigrants in the St. Louis metro area.

It was formed in 2013 after some ground breaking research in 2012 about the importance of having immigrants in the community.

“The research showed that because we have less than five percent foreign born, we were missing economic opportunity and we’re missing population growth,” said Executive Director Betsy Cohen.

Cohen said they came up with a simple goal.

“The goal in 2013 was that by 2020, the St. Louis region would be the fastest growing for foreign born of the top 20 major metropolitan areas. We actually achieved that in 2015.”

The St. Louis region currently has about four percent of immigrants. That’s 122,430 people and 7,073 of them are entrepreneurs.

Cuong Dang is one of those entrepreneurs.

“I was born and raised in Vietnam and I came here when I was 20 years old and I spoke a little bit of English,” Dang said.

Dang now co-owns Enliven, a software consulting company, and hires numerous people from the area.

While he never knew St. Louis would become his long-term home, he added that the opportunities here helped make him stay.

“We have support from people from all over the world. Venture capitals, those companies bring investment elsewhere and bring companies from overseas to come here because they want to award them these funds and have opportunity to build businesses here,” he said.

That’s the idea behind the St. Louis Mosaic Project. It’s to attract and keep foreign born people in St. Louis who can in turn contribute to the community.

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