St. Louis Statistics
Racial Makeup Compared to St. Louis City
Despite being located an equal distance from downtown St. Louis, St. Louis Place and Lafayette Square both have very different demographic characteristics. St. Louis Place was designed as a blue-collar neighborhood where people could move to when they first got to America. In comparison, Lafayette Square was laid out to be a wealthy neighborhood for elite citizens to escape the city. These initial differences can still be seen in demographics of the neighborhoods.
St. Louis Population Trends
A critical aspect of St. Louis' history is the population trends that the city has experienced. In 2013, St. Louis City's population was 318,416. The last time the city had so few people was between 1870 and 1880. After peaking at 856,796 people in 1950, St. Louis has lost 62.7% of its population.
The reasons for the decline are numerous and complex. Some of them are the increasing populatity of suburbs and development in the city moving westward. This movement was aided by the development of the interstate highway system as well. Interstates 44, 55, 64, and 70 all leveled neighborhoods and allowed people to flock to the suburbs. A video below examines the race of the people leaving St. Louis City and where they moved to.
An important and often overlooked factor is the demographic shifts since the 1950's. Then, the average household size was 3.1 persons. Its current number is 2.2 persons per hosuehold. That difference would account for a 29% population loss, but not the entire 62.7% loss.
Regardless of the cause, the population decline has had a negative effect on St. Louis neighborhoods with high abandonment, crime and poverty levels. This becomes a cycle forcing more people to leave the city for the county. The decade between 2000 and 2010 was a promising one with the lowest decline in the City's population since people started leaving in the 1950's. While an 8.3% decrease is still major, it shows the city could be slowing its long decline.
For a further exploration of the reasons for St. Louis' population trends, check out this article from Next STL- http://nextstl.com/2014/09/pxstl/
St. Louis experienced a large percentage of white residents moving to the county and neighboring regions from the 1950's onward. This video utilizes maps from Colin Gordon, a historian from the University of Iowa. The video starts in the 1940-50's and progresses a decade every ten seconds. There is no audio in the video.
Increase in White Population
Increase in Black Population
Decrease in White Population
Decrease in Black Population
If you would like to view the maps at a high resolution or proceed at your own speed, please follow this link to Gordon's site- http://mappingdecline.lib.uiowa.edu/map/
Population Movement Illustrated
Income Compared to St. Louis City
St. Louis Place and Lafayette Square have nearly opposite racial makeups and the median household income in Lafayette Square, $36,775, is nearly double that of St. Louis Place, $20,631. Despite these clear differences, the neighborhoods were built at roughly the same time and both have sturdy historical architecture. While the City of St. Louis lost 8.3% of its population in the the decade between 2000 and 2010, both of these neighborhoods grew. Chris Naffziger will compare the two and talk about their redevelopment or lack of on the next page.