Face of St. Louis Refugees
Successful refugee resettlement can only be accomplished with strong community involvement in the form of time and money. The refugee resettlement per capita is still woefully inadequate even though it has been recently and substantially increased. St. Louis has benefited from major waves of refugees during the modern, post-1975 era of refugee resettlement. Refugees are an important source of new population to a city that has suffered dramatic population losses in the past 50 years. Refugees from earlier waves are now business owners, home owners, and professionals who help our community grow through economic development and cultural enrichment.
During this period, the International Institute, St. Louis’ largest resettlement program, has sponsored over 20,000 refugees. Thousands more have arrived through our sister resettlement agencies. Today only Catholic Charities Refugee Resettlement still resettles; in the past there were also Lutheran, Jewish, and Protestant resettlement programs in St. Louis. Click here to view Institute sponsorships by year.
Secondary migration has also played a major role in building St. Louis’ refugee communities. Secondary migrants are refugees who choose to relocate to St. Louis after having been sponsored by host communities elsewhere in the U.S. In the 1990s, our region proved to be a big draw for Bosnian refugees. They came because they heard that St. Louis was an affordable and welcoming community – and that the Institute had employment and other services to help them start over.
Between 1979 and 2012, the Institute resettled 20,000 refugees from around the world. Please note that this information does not take into account refugees who have out or in-migrated to St. Louis or those sponsored by other resettlement agencies.
Many dozens of smaller populations have also been resettled over the years including Laotians, Ethiopians, Eritreans, Albanians, Polish, Kosovars, Sierra Leoneans, Liberians, Tibetans, Iranians, and Afghans. More recently, St. Louis has become home to Bhutanese from Nepal, Burmese, Cubans, Colombians, and Burundians.
Suzanne LeLaurin, LCSW
314-773-9090, ext. 150
Ariel Burgess, MSW
314-773-9090, ext. 115
|Click here to go to:||Who is a Refugee?|
|Refugee Resettlement in America|
|Refugee Resettlement in St. Louis|
|How St. Louisans Can Help|