Though I’ve often declared my intentions to live anywhere else, I’ve lived in or been connected to the St. Louis area (well, the Metro East) for a couple of decades now, and I can’t help but have a little bit of pride when I see that things are actually going fairly well in our area. Oh, sure, every now and then you hear alarming crime statistics or that St. Charles County is getting all of St. Louis’s outflow and job migration, but it’s nice to hear that St.Louis is also on a positive trend in growth and that the city is actually among the top 10% of metro areas in the US when it comes to growth.
More precisely, St. Louis ranks 34th out of 366 metro areas in natural population growth, according to analysis released by The Business Journals in G. Scott Thomas’s On Numbers column. This number is calculated by subtracting the number of deaths in a year from the number of births from July 2010 to July 2011 using figures provided by the US Census Bureau. The calculation finds a positive difference of about 10,000 births. It’s not an entirely perfect indicator – it’s not tracking actual population size or migration statistics – but it does suggest that the city is growing in a healthy manner.
There’s always nuance, of course. St. Louis has seen a slight population growth of 2,633 residents during that same time period, which means we only rank 134th in population growth (from 2.81 million to 2.82 million). And the St. Louis Post-Dispatch put up an article on STLToday about a month ago saying that a different analysis (over a different time period) shows that we have more departures than arrivals.
So, it could be that the census data is reflective of a baby boom during July 2010 and July 2011. It could also be that more people are being born here, but not sticking around for the long-term.