Thursday, October 02, 2003

Some fast facts about the City of Saint Louis, MO.


Census 2000 Population: 348,189

American Community Survey 2002 Estimated Population: 327,820.
(estimate excludes "institutions, college dormitories, and other group quarters". Those groups accounted for 10,632 St. Louisans in Census 2000).

So, to compare apples to apples:

Census 2000 Population in Households: 337,557

ACS 2002 Estimated Population: 327,820 (repeated for clarity)

That suggests a decline of about 10 thousand people living in households, or just under 3%.

This is only an estimate, and estimates are often way off. But it does remind us that the City population is probably still declining.

More data about the City (this again from Census 2000):

Racial composition:

51% African-American
44% Caucasian
2% Hispanic-Latino (although not a 'race' in Census terms)
2% Asian-American
2% Two-or-more races


25% of the population lives in poverty.

According to the 2002 ACS, the percent of the population could now be between 20% and 28%. Of course, this is a crude calculation I made, based on the 'high' and 'low' estimates of total population and total population in poverty.

But to be sure, there are at least 60,000, and perhaps as many as 90,000, St. Louisans living in poverty by Census estimates. Other sources may be more exact.


Census 2000 also shows a large number of City residents live with disabilities.

25% of the population lives with at least one disabling condition.
In the population aged 65-and-up, that proportion jumps to 49%.


83% of all housing units are occupied.

80% of all housing units were built prior to 1960.

49% of all housing units were built prior to 1940.

While many of us think of historic housing as our greatest asset, it may be distressing to realize that 31% of the City's housing units, nearly 54,000 units, were built in the 1940s and 1950s. These are the same kinds of houses that are slowly decaying in many inner-ring suburbs; is the same true here? Unquestionably, we need to preserve as much of our historic fabric as possible. But one must wonder what we will do about aging housing stock that doesn't qualify as historic, such as those tiny bungalows spread around South St. Louis. They are to the point they need new roofs, plumbing, electrical, etc.

40% of all housing units are single-family, detached houses.

47% of all housing units are owner-occupied. (So, there are still at least

63% of owner-occupied houses have mortgages.

21% of those mortgaged, owner-occupied houses have 'owner costs' (mainly the mortgage payment) of over 30% of monthly income.

We tend to think of City housing as affordable, but this data suggests that at least 10,000 homeowners pay more than they should (by HUD standards) on a monthly basis for their homes.

Of course, this is not as bad as renters' situations, where 40%, more than 40,000 households, pay more than 30% of their monthly income in rent. Nevertheless, it does show that even in a comparatively affordable housing market like the City of St. Louis, some homeowners will struggle to pay for other needs in addition to housing.

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