St. Louis, MO, Population on the Decline: What You Should Know

Known as the ‘Gateway to the West,’ St. Louis, Missouri, standing on the Mississippi River is a major logistics hub. Named after King Louis XI, the city is renowned for its vibrant music scene, delicious cuisine, and art deco architecture.

One of the major reasons why people prefer moving to this city is its affordable standard of living, which is 29.6% cheaper than New York. Most of its locals reside in the city’s rural areas, especially the geriatric demographics.

However, in recent years, the city’s population has been shedding rapidly. People are moving away from the urbanized areas or ditching St. Louis altogether. In this article, we will discuss St. Louis’ population decline in detail.

The Great Exodus, Especially of Black Families

To say that people are moving out of St. Louis in search of better job opportunities and real estate value would be an understatement. Since 2021, thousands of people have left the city. 

The numbers are highest among Black families, although the city’s white residents already outnumbered their Black counterparts. The reason behind such a trend is explained via the historically economically marginalized parts of the city. 

The pattern of Black families relocating for greener pastures has existed for decades now. However, the numbers are only increasing with each passing year.

St. Louis Ranked as the Most Dangerous US City

A 2022 study ranked Missouri’s St. Louis as the most dangerous US city. This may seem a bit overstated on the surface, but there are good reasons for such a ranking. These reasons may also be contributing to the city’s exodus.

Let’s look at the three main reasons why St. Louis has become so dangerous.


St. Louis homicide rates are staggering. Now, a city is generally deemed to be a threat to life when it scores high in the following three criteria – violent crime rates, property crime rates, and total crime rates (a combination of both).

Based on these criteria, St. Louis ranks first in the US (almost like a crime gateway). The city’s violent crime rate stands at 1,927 per 100,000 inhabitants, with its property crime rate being 6,183 per 100,000 residents.

The top factors contributing to such a high homicide rate include increasing poverty in certain areas, ongoing racial tensions, and a severe lack of economic opportunities. As a result, this vicious cycle is formed that prevents crime rates from plunging.

Since nobody enjoys living in constant fear for life (especially when such impersonal factors are involved), inhabitants are choosing to relocate.

Road Accidents

Road accidents happen in every US city. However, most of St. Louis’ accidents involve an 18-wheeler, being the logistics hub that it is. By its very nature, accidents involving a truck or even a semi-truck are often fatal.

If not, they undoubtedly lead to catastrophic injuries, including multiple broken bones, paraplegia, spinal cord injuries, and more. If such aftermath were not enough, a truck accident also includes a complex legal battle.

The St. Louis statute of limitations for such accidents is five years from the date of the incident. Even if the victim were to file a lawsuit at the earliest, much heavy lifting must go into the process. Without a St. Louis trucking accident lawyer, chances of winning a fair settlement are rare.

Not to mention the court proceedings may stretch to months or years. According to TorHoerman Law, trucking accidents often involve multiple liable parties. This is a major reason behind the time taken for justice. 

St. Louis still has interstates that are deemed too dangerous due to lack of signage, sharp blind turns, insufficient traffic control, etc. Residents may find it difficult to cope with a risky commute. 

Natural Disasters

Climate change is affecting all parts of the world in general and the US in particular. However, some states (and cities) are experiencing a greater share of nature’s wrath than others. It turns out Missouri has emerged as a top state for natural disasters, with St. Louis being the most affected city.

Some of St. Louis’ counties’ most common natural hazards include floods, earthquakes, tornadoes, erratic weather conditions, and fires. The city has suffered from the aftermath of six major floods since 2008.

The most recent one occurred in 2017, with many areas suffering severe property damage. Some areas remained impassable for several weeks after the disaster. Floods are the most concerning issue in St. Louis, followed by earthquakes and tornadoes.

Authorities believe that though individual preparedness is helpful, it does little to support against a severe storm. Given such erratic climatic conditions, calmer waters appear more attractive, and residents are making the difficult choice of leaving the city.

The Final Analysis

The rapid move of St. Louis residents continues as the city lost 5% of its population since last year. Except for six municipalities, all others experienced a noticeable population decline. 

The urban core of the population is shrinking at a faster rate compared to the rural areas. At least 15,000 residents have left. This is expected to create challenges down the road since the metropolitan’s growth is dependent on a strong urban core. 

If the population falls at the current pace, it won’t be long before St. Louis loses its position among the top 25 metropolitan regions of the US.

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