Wednesday, January 24, 2018
St. Louis Bosnians

Economic Impact of Immigrant Workers

In our December issue, we reviewed broad demographic data about Missouri’s immigrant residents. This month, we are focusing on employment data from the 2010 Census, including Workforce Characteristics. In February, we will take a look at Income & Poverty among immigrants compared with other Missourians.

Missouri’s foreign-born population at 3.9% is much smaller than the national population at almost 14%, but it is growing. In the past decade, immigrant participation in the Missouri workforce grew by 56.4% from 82,910 to 129,693. In all, the immigrant workforce in Missouri increased by nearly 80,000 workers between 1990 and 2010.

The last Census revealed that the largest share of foreign-born workers in Missouri was from Asia.

“The double than average European representation in Missouri is likely due to the presence in St. Louis of one of the largest Bosnian communities in the US,” said Anna Crosslin, President & CEO of the International Institute. “The smaller than average representation of Latin Americans in Missouri is a result of the very small size of our Undocumented population.”

While immigrants are 3.9% of Missouri’s population, they are 4.7% of the state’s civilian-employed workforce. Between 1990 and 2010 there has been more than 250% growth in immigrant workers.

The top three occupations of Missouri’s immigrant workers were:

  • Management, Business, Science and the Arts occupations;
  • Service occupations; and
  • Production, Transportation, and Material Moving occupations.


“Immigrants are employed in all Missouri industry sectors and are making significant contributions in several,” said Crosslin. “In fact, proportionately, we have a higher percent of Naturalized Citizens working in Management, Business and Science occupations than Native-Born Missourians.”

“Immigrants are a tremendous asset to our communities and state on many levels,” Crosslin said. “To flourish, we must welcome more immigrants to help strengthen our businesses, especially in the sciences.”

“We must find more ways to take advantage of the strong entrepreneurial skills they bring.”

Unless otherwise stated, all data derived from MPI Data Hub, Migration Policy Institute,, 2011, utilizing data from the 2010 US Census.


About The Author


The St. Louis Bosnian is an online database of Bosnian community in St. Louis. The purpose is to document and preserve existence of the Bosnian immigrant community in metropolitan St. Louis area. Through published books, articles, interviews, researches, videos, photos as well as speaker series, seminars, workshops and educational classes. We hope to leave the legacy of our community to the future generations.

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