ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI)-- The St. Louis area economy is stuck in the doldrums partly because the area doesn't have enough immigrants. That's the conclusion of a new study from St. Louis University.
That's led to St. Louis city and county setting up a task force to attract more immigrants here.
The study concludes that immigrants are the key to prosperity and we don't have enough of them. Most major metro areas have immigrant populations of around 20 percent. Immigrants in our region make up less than 5 percent of the population.
Despite all the controversy over immigration, the study concludes immigrants are 60 percent more likely than native-born Americans to start new businesses.
St. Louis area immigrants earn 44 percent more on average than native born people. They're more likely to have college and advanced degrees.
The study shows immigrants are far less likely to be on unemployment and food stamps than native born Americans.
So Mayor Francis Slay and county executive Charlie Dooley have used the study results to form a 15 member commission with one task, attracting more immigrants to St. Louis.
The study says one of the area's biggest problems is that most people in the St. Louis metro area were born in the St. Louis metro area and don't tend to be welcoming to outsiders.