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New Census Estimates: Food Stamp Use, Teen Births Down

Every year, the U.S. Census Bureau releases an annual survey of population characteristics for metro areas throughout the United States. Because sample sizes are limited, each data point included here will have a margin of error. You can peruse the data yourselfhere.

St. Louis is Getting Older, and Life is More Expensive

The median age in the St. Louis metro area is 38.6, just a touch older than the statewide median of 38.1. Missouri ranks 25th in the nation on that count, on par with Hawaii. 

The cost of rental housing went up, too, both in the city and county: the median dwelling cost an additional $63 a month in St. Louis County, from $832.17 to $895.21.

If you live in the city of St. Louis, it’s more likely you took public transportation to work last year than in years past -- public transit commuters make up about 11 percent of workers, according to the survey.

You might be making a little more when you get to work, too: median household annual incomes rose from $32,309 to $34,488 in the City of St. Louis. Incomes were higher in St. Louis County, where the median was $59,290 in 2013. 

Food Stamp Use Declined

The number of families receiving food stamps declined significantly in the City of St. Louis, down to 23.4 percent from almost 28 percent in 2012. Food stamp use ranged from 24.5 to 25.3 percent in the three previous years. 

In the state of Missouri, 13.7 percent of households reported receiving food stamps in 2013, a slight decline from 14.7 percent in 2012. 

The state of Illinois saw a slight increase in food stamp usage, from 12.9 to 13.5 percent. 

Fewer Teen Births in St. Louis Metro

According to new census bureau estimates, the teen birthrate dropped in the St. Louis Metro area last year.

An estimated 12 in 1000 women between the ages of 15 and 19 gave birth in 2013, with a +/- 7 margin of error due to small sample sizes. That’s less than half of the survey’s estimate for 2012.

Board President of the Teen Pregnancy and Prevention Partnership, Claire Wyneken, attributes a lot of the change to access to contraception and sexual health education. But she says there’s still a ways to go in Missouri.

“If you’re looking at providing good sexual health education, that is getting upstream of the problem,” Wyneken said. “If you’re helping young people make decisions that are good for them overall, that is getting upstream of the challenge.”

The Kansas City Metro saw a similar drop in teen birthrates: about 13 in 1000 women aged 15-19 gave birth in 2013, compared to an estimated 31 in 2012.

The 2013 statewide estimate is 23 women in 1000 but the number has bounced between 23 and 34 over the past five years. 

A previous version of this story identified Claire Wyneken as the Acting Director of the Teen Pregnancy and Prevention Partnership. Her official title is Board President. 

Brent is the senior data visual specialist at St. Louis Public Radio.