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Countdown: New census data give more detailed picture of region

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, July 28, 2011 - The 2010 census data began coming out in February, giving us a big picture sense of what's happening in our region.

On Thursday, the first wave of data was released to the public with the most detailed findings yet, including information about household types and age on a block by block level. While the St. Louis Beacon will be analyzing that data in our ongoing series Countdown, here's a quick glance at what's happening in Missouri. 

According to Will Winter with the Public Policy Institute at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, the new numbers mimic patterns seen at the county level, including population growth in St. Charles County and downtown St. Louis.

Winter analyzed the latest release of data for the Beacon and says that once the block level data are released for Illinois, we'll get an even better picture of what's happening in the region.

The St. Louis Metropolitan Statistical Area had a 7 percent increase in households and a 3 percent increase in families. The percentage of married couples -- 47 percent -- didn't change. The number of married couples with children decreased by 12 percent while the  number of single-parent households increased by 15 percent. Non-families increased by 14 percent, and single people by 11 percent.

Some other findings that fit with previous census data:

  • Increase in the population in St. Charles County and downtown St. Louis.
  • Large increase in households with married couples in St. Charles County, with modest increases downtown but decreases across much of St. Louis County.
  • Increase in single-parent households with children downtown, in St. Charles County and north St. Louis County.
  • A large increase in residents 18 to 29 along the city's central corridor.
  • Increase in residents 30-39 and 40-49 in western St. Charles County and downtown, with a decrease throughout most of the rest of St. Louis County.
  • Increase in residents 50 to 64 throughout the entire area.
  • Decrease in residents 65 and older in the city and the inner-ring suburbs, with an increase nearly everywhere else.

Finally, Winter found, the largest portion of the population in the MSA is between 25 and 54 years old, but those populations are growing modestly or negatively in the case of 35 to 44 year olds, while the biggest increases in age distribution are among people 45 to 64.
Analysis of census data related to the Countdown series has been provided by members of the Applied Research Collaborative, a joint project of three of the region's leading research institutions: St. Louis University (Department of Public Policy Studies), University of Missouri-St. Louis (Public Policy Research Center) and Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (Institute for Urban Research).

Kristen Hare