Study: St. Louis needs more immigrants to fuel local economy

Jun 19, 2012

St. Louis needs more immigrants. That’s the gist of a new report from St. Louis University.

Professor Jack Strauss presented the findings of his study Tuesday to city and county leaders, including St. Louis mayor Francis Slay and St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley, at a regional economic development conference.

At about 4.5 percent, Strauss says St. Louis has the lowest rate of immigration among the nation’s largest 20 cities.

But he says the immigrant population can have a big impact on the local economy.

“If we want to keep some of our very good companies here, like Monsanto, Danforth and Boeing, we have to attract and keep world-class individuals," Strauss said. "Most of them are Americans, but we have to supplement them sometimes with people from other countries.”

Strauss says the roughly 130,000 immigrants that live in the area are 44 percent more likely to hold a college degree than St. Louis natives.