As a member of this city’s economic elite, Ms. Kollman-Moore is not unusual among immigrants who live in St. Louis. According to a new analysis of census data, more than half of the working immigrants in this metropolitan area hold higher-paying white-collar jobs — as professionals, technicians or administrators — rather than lower-paying blue-collar and service jobs.
... Cities with thriving immigrant populations — with high-earning and lower-wage workers — tended to be those that prospered the most.
“Economic growth in urban areas has been clearly connected with an increase in immigrants’ share of the local labor force,” Mr. Kallick said.
Surprisingly, the analysis showed, the growing cities were not the ones, like St. Louis, that drew primarily high-earning foreigners. In fact, the St. Louis area had one of the slowest growing economies.
Friday, April 16, 2010
Hidden Talent Dividends: St. Louis
Explode the data. Numbers such as net migration and total population don't speak to today's demographic challenges. Instead, they are relics of yesterday's economy. I find it useful to scratch below the surface and look for some good news that a region might leverage for purposes of economic redevelopment. Immigration to St. Louis is one of those stories:
In this regard, Pittsburgh is like St. Louis. The size of the immigrant flow won't impress anyone. But that doesn't mean that these few newcomers are of little consequence. On the contrary, they are the vanguard of urban revitalization.
Can St. Louis compete? Forget the domestic outmigration and the anemic population growth. Instead, focus on the burgeoning immigrant community. These residents chose St. Louis over boomtowns such as Denver. We tend to overlook this advantage because we are too busy lamenting out-dated metrics.