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Sunday Poll: What Change In Population Will The 2020 Census Reveal?

March 15, 2015 Featured, Sunday Poll 7 Comments
Please vote in the poll, located in the right sidebar
Please vote in the poll, located in the right sidebar

In 1962 something happened nobody 100 — even 50 — years earlier would’ve predicted:

St. Louis County overtakes St. Louis City in population

The American Statistical Association’s St. Louis Chapter Metropolitan Census Committee listed the population of St. Louis County as 762,000, and the population of St. Louis City at 740,000. For the first time in history, the population of St. Louis County exceeded that of St. Louis City. The recent creation of the Interstate Highway System would drastically change the lives of American cities forever, with St. Louis taking a particularly extreme stance as those with means fled outwards from the center. St. Louis County’s population had begun rising steadily around the turn of the century, but in the post-World War II years, it jumped with shocking speed. From 1950 to 1960, the population of St. Louis County jumped from 406,349 to 703,532. Meanwhile, St. Louis City had experienced its first population loss in history in the 1960 census. Dark days were still ahead… from 1970 – 1980, St. Louis City would lose 27% of its population. (STL250 via Facebook)

The above text isn’t totally correct — the 1940 Census showed a net loss of less than 1%, followed by a 5% increase in 1950. St. Louis County has had losses in only two Census counts: a 90%+ plus in 1880 after the city succeeded and a 1.7% decline in 2010.

Here’s today’s poll question: St. Louis’ 2010 population was 8.3% less than 2000 — the smallest decline since the 1950 peak. What change will the 2020 Census reveal?

The poll, as always, is at the top of the right sidebar on desktops — mobile users can switch to the desktop view at the bottom of their browser.

— Steve Patterson


Currently there are "7 comments" on this Article:

  1. JZ71 says:

    You’ve created overlapping categories. Why not something like “no change”, “plus 1%”, “minus 1%, “plus 2%-3%”, “minus 2%-3%”, “plus 4%-5%”, “minus 4%-5%”, “plus 6%-10%”, “minus 6%-10%”? If the population declines by 3%, there are two “right” answers. If it stays static, there are three “right” answers . . . .

    • This was done on purpose — to avoid rigid categories. You can read “less than” as “up to”.

      • JZ71 says:

        I could, but I prefer precision in communication, and “less than” is what’s out there, not “up to”. And if the goal was/is to “avoid rigid categories”, why use percentages, at all? Just give us 3 choices, Loss, Gain or Unchanged.

        • Here’s a crazy idea — discussing the topic at hand rather than nitpicking the poll methodology — which couldn’t have been changed mid-poll anyway.

          • JZ71 says:

            OK . . . the city continues to lose population, as it has for the past 65 years; the only question is at what rate? Racism, high crime rates, poor public schools and an earnings tax no other local government imposes are all reasons why more people are leaving and fewer people are choosing to replace them.

          • I agree the city will show a net loss, but not for the predictable reasons you gave. In 2010 we had census tracts that showed population increases — these were the urban/walkable core tracts. These gains helped reduce the net loss to below 10% — the first time since the 1950 peak.

            When offered urban/walkable in the city the population increased in those areas whereas it continued to decline where it was business as usual — following the city’s auto-centric 1947 plan.

            In the last 5 years we haven’t been adding new units in the few urban/walkable census tracks, nor have we been turning others into urban/walkable desirable to Millennials or retired Boomers.

          • JZ71 says:

            I agree that walkable, “urban” neighborhoods tend to be what people who want to live in the city are looking for. But just building the “right” kind of infrastructure and urban infill only goes so far – without addressing all the other social, political and economic issues, the city will continue to struggle to attract (and keep) new residents and new employers. Most people don’t choose the blandness of suburbia because they love the architecture or the urban planning, they choose it because the schools are better, the crime rates are lower and there are more people “like” them. Not everyone is looking to push the envelope, many people are just looking for a safe cocoon, And that’s why south city remains attractive to the people who choose to live there, just like how the Tower Grove, CWE and downtown loft areas are attractive to the people who choose to live in those areas – one size simply does not fit all!


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