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St. Cloud State Economists Release Study on East Africa Immigration Numbers in St. Cloud

Steven Wright

ST. CLOUD – Two economists at St. Cloud State University released a study on immigration in St. Cloud on Friday, with a focus on immigrants from Eastern Africa.

The School of Public Affairs Research Institute released the “St. Cloud Immigration Fact Sheet”. The report was written by King Banaian, the director of the institute and economics professor, and Monica Garcia-Perez, assistant professor of economics and member of the Faculty Research Group on Immigration in Minnesota. The study reviews U.S. Census data and records from human service officials in Stearns County.

The report shows that 4,484 foreign-born individuals live in the City of St. Cloud, 6.8 percent of its estimated population.

Ethiopia was the birthplace of 195 of those in the city, compared to 469 from Kenya and 888 from “other Eastern Africa” which includes Somalia.

Separate information from Stearns County as a whole showed that 2,532 individuals receiving some human services spoke an east African language. That’s an increase from 1,243 people from 2010.

Banaian says there are many claims made in St. Cloud about the size of the East Africa immigrant population, but that most of the numbers in this study indicated otherwise.

“We read several stories in the press that had officials and citizens saying there were more than 10,000 Somali immigrants in the St. Cloud area,” Banaian says, “The data does’t support that claim and we felt it important to call attention to what the official data said.”

You can read the entire report by clicking here.

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