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Annual Survey Shows Indian Foreign-Born Population Is the Largest in St. Louis Region

03/11/2020Media Inquiries

Maggie Rotermund
Media Relations Specialist

Reserved for members of the media.

Results of a new survey by Ness Sandoval, Ph.D., associate professor and co-director of the public and social policy doctoral program at Saint Louis University, showed that the Indian foreign-born population is the largest foreign-born population in the St. Louis region.

SLU sociologist Ness Sandoval, Ph.D., stands on the steps of St. Francis Xavier College Church.

SLU sociologist Ness Sandoval, Ph.D., studies population demographics in the St. Louis area. Photo by Maggie Rotermund

The St. Louis region includes St. Louis City and St. Louis, St. Charles, Madison, St. Clair, Jefferson, Franklin, Lincoln, Macoupin, Clinton, Monroe, Warren, Jersey, Bond and Calhoun Counties in Missouri and Illinois.

The annual American Community Survey (ACS), the premier source for population and housing information, shows that the Indian foreign-born was estimated to be 15,081. This is slightly larger compared to the Mexican foreign-born population (14,910). Although the population are statistically similar, the trend for growth of the foreign-born Indian population is clear.

In 2000, there were 5,129 foreign-born Indians living in the region. The new estimates represent a 194% increase. Sandoval said the data, which is collected annually, is used to help understand demographic transitions to help federal, state, and local agencies meet the needs of changing population.

“The new estimates show that the composition of the foreign-born population is changing for the St. Louis region.” said Sandoval. “In most major metropolitan regions, the largest foreign-born population is from Mexico.  However, St. Louis has joined a small group of 14 metropolitan regions where the Indian foreign-born population is larger than Mexican foreign-born population.”

Unlike the other 14 regions, where there is significant gap between the two populations, the two populations for St. Louis are statistically similar. Per the study, 11.4% of the foreign-born population is Indian and 11.3% of the foreign-born population is Mexican. 

See the Population Map

The study also showed that among the 14 regions, St. Louis is ranked sixth in terms of the share of the foreign-born that is Indian. Cincinnati was ranked first where the share of the foreign-born population was 14.6%.

Founded in 1818, Saint Louis University is one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious Catholic institutions. Rooted in Jesuit values and its pioneering history as the first university west of the Mississippi River, SLU offers nearly 13,000 students a rigorous, transformative education of the whole person. At the core of the University’s diverse community of scholars is SLU’s service-focused mission, which challenges and prepares students to make the world a better, more just place. For more information, visit