Economic factors may explain flagging St. Louis population growth, Fed report says

The population of the St. Louis metropolitan area grew by 4.7 percent between 2000 and 2018, about four times lower than the national and Kansas City rates, according to a new report by Charles S. Gascon from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. That followed faster growth for the St. Louis area during the 1990s.

The report said the slowdown in growth could have been caused by economic factors, such as declines in business productivity or amenities, leading to immigration out of the region. The data suggest that “households believed they could achieve a higher quality of life by moving to a new location,” Gascon wrote.

The largest population decline for any part of the St. Louis area was 13 percent, or 44,300 people, in St. Louis City. The highest growth was 40 percent, or 113,000 residents, in St. Charles County.

The report cited a model developed in 2006 to forecast county population growth; that model projected an 11 percent increase in the St. Louis area’s population between 2000 and 2020. As of 2018, the area was about 175,000 persons below the model’s forecast.  The largest contributors to that shortfall were St. Louis County, Madison County, and Monroe County, which were 76,500, 30,500 and 22,000 persons below forecast, respectively.

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