Census shows greatest growth in southwest Missouri

Thursday, February 24, 2011 | 3:16 p.m. CST; updated 6:37 p.m. CST, Monday, February 28, 2011

JEFFERSON CITY — Missouri's population grew by the greatest amounts in southwest Missouri and the outer suburbs of St. Louis during the past decade while continuing to decline in the city's urban core, according to new U.S. Census Bureau figures.

The 2010 census data were obtained Thursday by The Associated Press in advance of their formal release by the Census Bureau.

Missouri's 20 largest cities

City 2010 pop.  % chg
1. Kansas City 459,787 4.1
2. St. Louis 319,294 -8.3
3. Springfield 159,498 5.2
4. Independence  116,830 3.1
5. Columbia 108,500 28.4
6. Lee's Summit 91,364 29.2
7. O'Fallon 79,329 71.8
8. St. Joseph 76,780 3.8
9. St. Charles 65,794 9.1
10. Blue Springs 52,575 9.3
11. St. Peters 52,575 2.3
12. Florissant 52,158 3.3
13. Joplin 50,150 10.2
14. Chesterfield 47,484 1.5
15. Jefferson City 43,079 8.7
16. Cape Girardeau  37,941 7.3
17. Wildwood 35,517 8.0
18. University City 35,371 -5.5
19. Ballwin 30,404 -2.8
20. Raytown 29,526 -2.8

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The new census data will be used to redraw Missouri's congressional and state legislative districts. Missouri is losing one of its nine seats in Congress because its population — which now stands just shy of 6 million residents — grew at a slower pace than the rest of the nation during the past decade.

The data show that southwest Missouri's 7th Congressional District grew by about 100,000 people since the 2000 census, paced by a roughly 43 percent growth rate in Christian County — which amounts to an additional 23,000 people — and a 14 percent growth rate in Greene County that equated to a population growth of nearly 35,000. Greene County is the home of Springfield, and Christian County is located just to the south of Greene County.

The population grew by about 85,000 in the 2nd Congressional District, which includes part of the outer St. Louis suburbs. The district covers part of St. Charles County, which grew by about 76,600 people, or 27 percent. Nearby Lincoln County grew by more than 13,600 people, a growth rate of 35 percent.

The 1st Congressional District in St. Louis declined by almost 35,000 people, according to the new census figures.

St. Louis sees further declines

The city of St. Louis lost nearly 29,000 people during the past decade, a decline of about 8 percent of its population.

The census figures show St. Louis had a population of a little more than 319,000 in 2010.

The census figures show that the population of St. Louis County also declined by 2 percent during the past decade, dropping below 1 million people.

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay called the numbers disappointing. A census estimate as recent as 2009 indicated the city's population was actually rising.

Slay said the decline in both the city and the county was a wake-up call showing the need for better collaboration.

Meanwhile, Kansas City added to its distinction as the largest city in Missouri during the past decade.

Census figures show Kansas City had a population of almost 460,000 people in 2010. That's an increase of more than 18,000 people, or about 4 percent. 

Minority population grows at faster pace

Missouri's racial minority population grew at a fast pace during the past decade largely because of an increase in Hispanic residents.

Census figures show that Missouri's Hispanic population increased by 79 percent since 2000, compared with a growth rate of a little more than 4 percent for white residents.

Even with that increase, Hispanics comprise just 3.5 percent of Missouri's population, compared with 83 percent for whites.

Blacks remain Missouri's largest racial minority, at 11.6 percent of the total population.

The number of Asian Missourians grew by 59 percent during the past decade, but they still comprise just 1.6 percent of the total population.

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