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Five things to know about the St. Louis region from the new Census numbers

A silver number 5 on a grey background.
Flickr | Stephan Mosel

St. Louis continues to lose population, according to current city population estimates for 2015 released by the U.S. Census. Between 2014 and 2015, more than 1,500 residents are estimated to have left the city.

Here are five takeaways from the data released today.

1. Cities in our area are part of the national picture, both positively and negatively.

St. Louis' loss of population was the 7th largest in the country. Detroit and Chicago were No. 1 and No. 2.

On the other hand, Cottleville, Mo., in St. Charles County ranked 6th nationally by percentage gain. It grew by almost 22 percent, or more than 800 residents.

2. Five Missouri cities — and one in Illinois — gained more than 1,000 people.

In Missouri, they're scattered around the state. The only one in our area is Wentzville, which welcomed more than 1,600 new residents. Columbia, Springfield and Lee's Summit also make the list. Kansas City added the most new people in the state between 2014 and 2015, growing by nearly 4,500.

In Illinois, the only city that added 1,000 or more people was Champaign, home of the University of Illinois.

3. The largest cities in our area had a mix of gains and losses.

Of the 20 largest cities in our coverage area, nine lost population and 11 gained population.


4. Cities in our area tend to rise and fall together.

Meaning, their rankings haven't changed much. If you rank all the cities in our coverage area by population each year, the cities in first through ninth place wouldn't have changed at all since at least 2010. Wentzville jumped from 13th place in 2010 to 10th place in 2015.  Alton slipped from 15th to 17th. And, just this year, Edwardsville moved into the top 20 from position 22.

5. In our area, most of the fastest-growing cities are in Missouri and most of the fastest-shrinking cities are in Illinois.

Looking at the 20 cities that gained or lost the most people in between 2014 and 2015, only four of the top 20 growing cities are in Illinois. By contrast, three of the 20 cities that lost the most residents are in Missouri.


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

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