St. Louis the fastest-growing metro area for immigrants, census data shows

The foreign-born population in the St. Louis area grew by about 9 percent from 2014 to 2015, according to census data collected in the American Community Survey.

During that time, the number of immigrants grew to 129,559. St. Louis attracted the highest percentage increase of the nation's top 20 metropolitan areas, beating out New York City, Chicago, and San Francisco.

Immigrants make up less than 5 percent of the region's residents, and building on an already small community can be hard, said Betsy Cohen, executive director for the Mosaic Project. The organization has been working since 2013 to make St. Louis the fastest-growing area for immigrants by the next census in 2020. It works in tandem with a number of other local organizations that support people who are new to country.

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