Int'l residents make up 50 percent of Louisville's population gr - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Int'l residents make up 50 percent of Louisville's population growth over the past 15 years

Int'l residents make up 50 percent of Louisville's population growth over the past 15 years

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Louisville's population is growing. It's the international residents who are making Louisville their new home.

WorldFest celebrates the city's diversity. From fried plantains to lots of shopping, WorldFest which is free is one of the region's largest international festivals. At the Belvedere in Downtown Louisville, it's a melting pot of different cultures.

Nema Saho, from Gambia, West Africa has a booth at the festival. He used to live in Louisville and says, "Now it's beautiful, lots of people, (I) learn a lot of things from having so many different people in the area. I enjoy it."

International residents make up 50 percent of Louisville's population growth over the past 15 years. At least 90 languages are spoken in Louisville public schools. City leaders say Louisville is more culturally diverse than ever before.

At the Muhammad Ali Center, nearly 200 people representing 55 countries have been waiting for this day. They have to speak, read, and write the English language and take a test on U.S. History. Together they took an oath to become American citizens,

"I live in Bowling Green, Kentucky, but I'm liking being here," said Murid Salihovic who is from Bosnia. 

Maraan Alsadi from Iraq says, "I came here in 2009 and started working and then opened a small business coffee shop. Now I own 3 stores. The dream is coming true. I love it here."

"This day is very special to me," said Tresha Farrens who is from Jamaica. "It's taken me awhile to do it, but I'm pretty happy that I did it."

The Mayor says cities that embrace and encourage their international citizens and cultures will thrive, have a stronger quality of life and will attract new growth and jobs.

"The festival brings a lot of people together," Saho said. 

"It's a dream come true," Farrens said. "I'm from Jamaica, I love it. It'll be number one in my heart. This has been my home for over 20 years."

'WorldFest is a great event for exploring and celebrating Louisville's many faces and cultures and we always look to make it more vibrant, diverse and educational," said Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer. "So, it's exciting to add many new features and attractions for the 12th Annual WorldFest."

WorldFest is a four-day event and runs through Monday.

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