WASHINGTON, August 16 (RIA Novosti) – The Uzbek population in St. Louis has surged over the last seven years, adding the Missouri city to a select list of US metropolitan areas serving as home to immigrants from the Central Asian ethnic group, the St. Louis Beacon website reported Friday.
Anvar Zakirov, founder of the Uzbek Association of St. Louis, told the Beacon website that there were around 200 Uzbek people in 50 families living in the St. Louis area today.
“When I came [in 2006] there were only two or three families here,” the website quoted Zakirov as saying. “[The community] has been growing every year.”
Although some Uzbeks living in the St. Louis area arrived on student visas, through the “green card lottery” or as a result of marriage to US citizens, most are refugees, the newspaper reported.
Tens of thousands of ethnic Uzbeks fled their homes in the southern part of the ex-Soviet Central Asian republic of Kyrgyzstan amid deadly pogroms. Many crossed the border into Uzbekistan where they were sheltered temporarily.
Ethnic Uzbeks have also established “notable” populations in New York, Washington, D.C. and Phoenix, according to the St. Louis Beacon.
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