Bosnians in St. Louis
The Bosnian population in St. Louis, Missouri numbers over 60,000, making it the largest Bosnian community outside of Bosnia. Nearly all of the members of this community came to St. Louis as a result of the war and genocide perpetrated in Bosnia between 1992 and 1995. Between 1992 and 1998, Bosnians were allowed to emigrate to the U.S. as refugees, and St. Louis became a preferred destination due to the availability of jobs and inexpensive housing. Since 1998, St. Louis’s population has continued to grow due to secondary migration of Bosnian refugees from other parts of the U.S. Increasingly, what began as a refugee community is becoming a part of the social fabric of St. Louis as Bosnian refugees have become citizens and as a younger generation has increasingly self-identified as Bosnian American.
The majority of Bosnians living in St. Louis are European Muslim; however, the St. Louis Bosnian community’s ethnic identity is remarkably complex. Some members of this community are Croat (Catholic) or Serb (Orthodox), and some Bosnian families in St. Louis are of mixed ethnicity. In addition, the degree of religiosity among St. Louis’s Bosnians varies considerably.