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St. Louis County is a county located in the U.S. state of Missourimarker. According to the 2000 census, the population was 1,016,315; but the 2008 estimate dropped it to 991,830 making the county the most populous in Missouri. Its county seat is Claytonmarker . St. Louis County is part of the sprawling St. Louis Metro Area wherein the independent City of St. Louis and its suburbs in St. Louis County, as well as the surrounding counties in both Missouri and Illinois all together account for a total population of nearly 3 million people. St. Louis County borders the City of St. Louismarker, which is independent from St. Louis County. The 2008 estimate for the county was 991,830.

Origin of name

The county was organized in 1812 and was originally a French colonial district (French Louisiana), named for the French king Louis IX, known as Saint Louis.

In 1876, City of St. Louismarker separated itself from the county, creating an independent city.Kirkwood, Missourimarker was the first planned suburb in St. Louis County, being the first suburb built west of the Mississippi River and St. Louis City boundaries.

Law and government

St. Louis County was the first Missouri County to adopt a home-rule charter under the Missouri constitution, in 1950. The current St. Louis County Charter was adopted by the voters on November 6, 1979.

Executive power of the county is vested in the county executive, which is a full-time salaried position. The current county executive is Charlie Dooley, who was re-elected November 7, 2006. The county executive's term is 4 years; he/she is elected by the general population of the county.

Ordinances are passed by a county council. The council is made up of 7 members, each from a separate district within the county. Council member terms are 4 years, beginning on January 1 following the election. Elections are held in even-numbered years, with terms for even- and odd-numbered districts staggered.

Crime and safety

When compared to other large urban counties, St. Louis County’s crime rate per 100,000 residents is among the lowest in the nation. For example, there were just 30 homicides reported in 2003 out of a population of over 1 million people. There has been a 25% decrease in crime since 1991, and St. Louis County is now at its lowest level of crime since 1973.

It reported an average drop of 19% in crime for the first half of 2009 compared to the same time frame in 2008. Categories include: murder, rape, robbery, aggragravated assault, burglary, larceny, vehicle theft, and arson. Burglaries had the sharpest drop: down 35%, with arson down 33%, vehicle theft down 17%, robbery down 15%, and larceny down 15%. There were only two murders, compared to the six in 2008


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 524 square miles (1,356 km²), of which, 508 square miles (1,315 km²) of it is land and 16 square miles (41 km²) of it (3.03%) is water. St. Louis County is part of the Greater St. Louis metropolitan area.

National protected areas

Natural boundaries

The Missouri Rivermarker forms the northern border with St. Charles County, exclusive of a few areas where the river has changed its course. The Meramec Rivermarker forms most of its southern border with Jefferson Countymarker. To the east is the City of St. Louismarker and the Mississippi River. The western boundary with Franklin Countymarker is the north-south line where the distance between the Meramec and Missouri Rivers is the shortest, bisecting the City of Pacific roughly 2 blocks east of Hwy OO/F (First street).


The foothills of the Ozark Mountains begin in southwestern St. Louis County, with most of the rest of the county being a fairly level plateau. This western part of the county is the least developed, due to rugged topography. Bluffs along the Mississippi in the south of the county rise about 200–300 feet above the river. A major floodplain area is the Chesterfield Valleymarker, in the western part of the county, along the Missouri River, formerly called "Gumbo Flats" after its rich, dark soil; it was submerged by at least ten feet of water during the Great Flood of 1993, but recent development there is protected by a higher levee. The Columbia Bottom is a floodplain in the northeast of the county at the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers; this is a conservation area open to the public. The Missouri Bottom area between the two other floodplains is largely agricultural, but is being increasingly developed. The River des Peres drains the interior of county before flowing underground into the City of St. Louis and then resurfacing to form the boundary between southern portions of St. Louis City and St. Louis County. Other streams include Coldwater Creek, Bonhomme Creek, and Creve Coeur Creek, flowing into the Missouri Rivermarker; Keifer Creek and Grand Glaize Creek, flowing into the Meramec Rivermarker; Deer Creek and Gravois Creek, flowing into the River des Peres; and Maline Creek, flowing into the Mississippi River.


The bedrock is mainly limestone and dolomite, and much of the county near the rivers is Karst terrain, with numerous caves, sinkholes, and springs. No igneous or metamorphic rock is exposed on the surface. A major outcropping of the St. Peter Sandstone formation, a fine white sandstone used for making clear glass, is mined in the southwest corner of the county in Pacificmarker. Brick clay mining was once a major industry in the county. The Charbonier Bluff along the Missouri River is an outcropping of coal, and was used a fueling station for steamboats. The "St. Louis Anticline", an underground formation, has small petroleum deposits in north part of the county.

Flora and fauna

Before European settlement, the area was prairie and open parklike forest, maintained by Native Americans via burning. Trees are mainly oak, maple, and hickory, similar to the forests of the Ozarksmarker; common understory trees include Eastern Redbud, Serviceberry, and Flowering Dogwood. Riparian areas are heavily forested with mainly American sycamore. By the 1920s most of the timber in the county was harvested; since that time, large parks and undeveloped areas in the western and southern parts of the county have grown dense forest cover. Old pastures are usually colonized with Eastern red cedar. Most of the residential area of the county is planted with large native shade trees. In Autumn, the changing color of the trees is notable. St. Louis County has the most recorded native species of plants in the state, but this is probably due to the intensive botanical research done in the area. Most species here are typical of the Eastern Woodland; but some southern species are found in swampland, and typical northern species survive in sheltered hollows. Invasive species, most notably Japanese Honeysuckle, are common in some homesteads converted to parks; these are actively removed.

Large mammals include growing populations of whitetail deer and coyotes, which are becoming increasingly urbanized. Eastern Gray Squirrel, Cottontail rabbit, and other rodents are abundant, as well as Opossum, Beaver, Muskrat, Raccoon, and Skunk. Large bird species include Wild Turkey, Canada goose, Mallard duck, various raptors like the Turkey Vulture and Red-tailed Hawk, as well as shorebirds, including the Great Egret and Great Blue Heron. Winter populations of Bald Eagles are found by the Mississippi River around the Chain of Rocks Bridgemarker. The county is on the Mississippi Flyway, used by migrating birds, and has a large variety of small bird species, common to the eastern U.S. The Eurasian Tree Sparrow, an introduced species, is limited in North American to the counties surrounding St. Louis.

Frogs are commonly found in the springtime, especially after extensive wet periods. Common species include American toad and species of chorus frogs, commonly called "spring peepers" that are found in nearly every pond. Some years have outbreaks of cicadas or ladybugs. Mosquitos and houseflies are common insect nuisances; because of this, windows are nearly universally fitted with screens, and "screened-in" porches are common in homes of the area. Populations of honeybees have sharply declined in recent years, and numerous species of pollinator insects have filled their ecological niche.


St. Louis County has a continental climate, and has neither large mountains nor large bodies of water to moderate its temperature. The area is affected by both cold Canadian Arctic air, and also hot, humid air from the Gulf of Mexicomarker. The county has four distinct seasons. Spring is the wettest season and produces frequent severe weather with mild temperatures. Summers are warm and humid. Fall is mild with low humidity and little precipitation. Winters are cold and snowy with temperatures usually below freezing. The average annual temperature for the years 1971-2000, recorded at Lambert–St. Louis International Airport, is 56.3 °F (13.5 °C), and average precipitation is 36 inches (914 mm). The average high temperature in July is 88.4 °F (32 °C), and the average low temperature in January is 22.6 °F (−6 °C), although these values are often exceeded. Temperatures of 0 °F or below occur 3 days per year on average. The highest temperature ever recorded in St. Louis was 115 °F (46 °C), on July 14, 1954, while the lowest temperature on record is −23 °F (−31 °C), on January 29, 1873

Winter is the driest season, averaging about 6 inches of total precipitation. Springtime (March through May), is typically the wettest season, with just under 10.5 inches. Dry spells of one or two weeks duration are common during the growing seasons.

Thunderstorms can be expected on 40 to 50 days per year. A few of them will be severe with locally destructive winds and large hail, and occasionally accompanied by tornadoes.[14160] A period of unseasonably warm weather late in Autumn known as Indian summer is common – roses will still be in bloom as late as November or early December in some years.

Other geography

The largest natural lake in the state is Creve Coeur Lake which was originally an oxbow of the nearby Missouri River, and is now the centerpiece of a popular county park.

Manchester Road (Route 100) follows an ancient path westward out of St. Louis, following the boundary between the Missourimarker and Meramecmarker watersheds, and is the only way to leave the area without crossing rivers.

The Sinks is a karst area near Florissantmarker, with numerous sinkholes.

Adjacent counties

Major freeways and highways


As of the census of 2000, there were 1,016,315 people, 404,312 households, and 270,889 families residing in the county. The population density was 2,001 people per square mile (773/km²). There were 423,749 housing units at an average density of 834 per square mile (322/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 70.83% White, 24.02% African American, 0.17% Native American, 2.22% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.47% from other races, and 1.26% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.01% of the population.

There were 404,312 households out of which 31.60% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.00% were married couples living together, 12.70% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.00% were non-families. 28.00% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.10% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.47 and the average family size was 3.05.

In the county the population was spread out with 25.20% under the age of 18, 8.30% from 18 to 24, 29.00% from 25 to 44, 23.50% from 45 to 64, and 14.10% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 90.00 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 85.70 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $50,532, and the median income for a family was $61,680. Males had a median income of $45,714 versus $30,278 for females. The per capita income for the county was $27,595. About 5.00% of families and 6.90% of the population were below the poverty line, including 9.30% of those under age 18 and 5.30% of those age 65 or over. St. Louis County is the most affluent county in the state of Missouri.


Presidential Election Results 1960-2008
2008 59.5% 333,123 39.6% 221,705
2004 54.4% 295,284 45.1% 244,969
2000 51.5% 250,631 46.2% 224,689
1996 48.8% 225,524 42.4% 196,096
1992 44.1% 235,760 35.2% 188,285
1988 45.1% 216,534 54.7% 262,784
1984 36.0% 173,144 64.0% 307,684
1980 39.8% 192,796 54.4% 263,518
1976 43.5% 196,915 54.6% 246,988
1972 37.8% 160,801 62.2% 264,147
1968 43.0% 165,786 46.8% 180,355
1964 61.3% 213,658 38.7% 134,962
1960 51.3% 166,508 48.7% 157,992

St. Louis County is statistically much more moderate than its heavily Democratic neighbor, St. Louis citymarker. However, it is considerably less conservative than the rural parts of the statemarker. Along with the independent city of St. Louis, both St. Louis County and Jackson Countymarker, containing most of the population and area of Kansas Citymarker as well as most of its Missouri suburbs, were the only two urban counties in the state of Missourimarker to have a Democratic majority of votes in the 2004 presidential election.

In the 2008 presidential primaries, 41% of Republicans in St. Louis county voted for John McCain with 37% voting for Mitt Romney. For Democrats in St. Louis County 63% voted for Barack Obama while 36% voted for Hillary Clinton. In total 187,234 votes were cast for Democratic Party candidates and 95,437 votes were cast for the Republican Party candidates.

In the 2008 presidential election 59.5% of ballots were in favor of the Democratic candidate Barack Obama totaling 333,123 votes, while Republican candidate John McCain took 39.6% with 221,705 votes.

There are 796,979 registered voters.


St. Louis County's rapid job growth in the past two decades has brought the County's share of the State of Missouri's jobs to 23 percent. St. Louis County emerged as the economic center of the St. Louis region in the 1980s with both the largest number of jobs and largest resident labor force in the region. Since then, the county's economy continued to thrive, with continued low unemployment rates. The county contains about one-fourth of all jobs in the State of Missouri and about half the jobs in the St. Louis Metro area.

Consistent with national trends, the county saw considerable job growth in the late 1990s followed by a period of job loss following the 2001 recession. Job growth resumed in 2004 and has continued at a modest pace, coupled with solid wage gains through the first quarter of 2006.

The county's employment base has become more diverse as manufacturing employment has been in a long-term decline since the 1980s, with job growth coming from a variety of service industries. The share of employment from manufacturing fell from 15 percent in 1995 to 11 percent in 2005. In contrast, several service industry groups, particularly education and health services, grew substantially.

The unemployment rate for St. Louis County was below that of the metropolitan area and even farther below the national rate throughout the 1990s. Since 2000, the county's employment rate has been more closely aligned with both metro area and national unemployment rates.

Population and residents

St. Louis County is often divided into Mid, North, West and South sections. North County lies north of Interstate 70, West County lies west of Interstate 270, South County lies south of Interstate 44 and Mid County lies in the middle of the three main bordering highways (I-70, I-270 & I-44) and the St. Louis county-city line.

West County

Much of West County is inhabited by pro athletes, professionals and new wealth, creating a large area of high-income residents. Communities include Ballwinmarker, Chesterfieldmarker, Clarkson Valleymarker, Creve Coeurmarker, Des Peresmarker, Ellisville, Manchestermarker, Town and Countrymarker, Twin Oaksmarker, Valley Parkmarker, and Wildwoodmarker. West County is home to two major shopping centers: Chesterfield Mall and West County Center. Local school districts include the Parkway School District and Rockwood School District along with numerous private schools. Leisure spots in West County include Bellerive Country Clubmarker and Faust Park, which is home to the Butterfly House.

Mid County

Mid County is made up of the central and eastern portion of St. Louis county. The bulk of Mid County lies just west of the City of St. Louismarker. Municipalities include Claytonmarker, Maplewoodmarker, Brentwoodmarker, Webster Grovesmarker, Kirkwoodmarker, Frontenacmarker, Laduemarker, Rock Hillmarker, Olivettemarker, University Citymarker, St. Annmarker, and Overlandmarker. With access to Interstate 70 and Interstate 44 to the north and south of Mid County, access to Interstate 270 and Interstate 170 on the west and east and Interstate 64 running through the middle of Mid County, the area is never far from highway transportation. Currently, Interstate 64 is closed in both directions for construction through eastern side of Mid County from Interstate 170 to Kingshighway Blvd. in the City of St. Louismarker. [14161] The closest major mall to Downtown St. Louis is the St. Louis Galleriamarker located in Richmond Heightsmarker. Other popular areas are The Loopmarker on Delmar Blvd. in University Citymarker and Westport Plazamarker in Maryland Heightsmarker. Clayton is also known for its wide variety of local shops, boutiques and original restaurants.

North County

North County is home to Boeing's Integrated Defense Systems unit, Lambert-St. Louis International Airportmarker, and Emerson Electric Company. The population is one of the most diverse in St. Louis County. Public transportation has been beneficial to North County and was the first area of Metro St. Louis served by the metropolitan rail system, MetroLinkmarker. North County boasts major malls including Jamestown Mall in Florissantmarker and St. Louis Millsmarker in Hazelwoodmarker. Cities of North County also include Bellefontaine Neighborsmarker, Bridgetonmarker, Fergusonmarker, Jenningsmarker and Spanish Lakemarker. North St. Louis County is not only diverse in racial makeup but also by socioeconomic means. There are several upper income black and mixed raced villages located in North-Central county along the Natural Bridge Corridor east of Interstate 170 including Glen Echo Parkmarker, Bellerivemarker, Bel-Ridgemarker, Bel-Normarker, and Pasadena Hillsmarker, second to Olympia Fields, Illinoismarker as the most affluent majority black community north of the Mason-Dixon linemarker. Some of the inner-ring suburbs located between Interstate 70 and Interstate 270 along the city-county line show past and current signs of white flight.

South County

While largely populated, much of South County is unincorporated. It is the most homogeneous area within St. Louis county and major communities include Fentonmarker, Lemaymarker, Mehlvillemarker, Oakvillemarker, Afftonmarker, and Sunset Hillsmarker. The start of the Ozark Mountainsmarker and Ozark plateau begin in South St. Louis county and neighboring Jefferson Countymarker. Many communities have an abundance of gently rolling hills.

Cities and towns

For a listing by population, see: St. Louis Metropolitan Statistical Area.

St. Louis County has 91 municipalities and 9 unincorporated census-designated places:

† unincorporated
‡ Times Beach was disincorporated in 1985, Peerless Park was disincorporated in 1999, Carsonville disincorporated

Unincorporated St. Louis County

In St. Louis County, one-third of its population and land area is unincorporated making up 173 square miles. In these areas, St. Louis County provides local services, such as zoning, code enforcement and police to these residents who do not reside in one of the 91 St. Louis County municipalities. These municipal-like services are available to the 322,085 residents of the unincorporated areas of St. Louis County. These local services are delivered to several areas throughout the West, Central, North and South portions of the county. The St. Louis County Trash Collection and Recycling program is one example of such a service. This program split the unincorporated areas into 8 districts for trash collection and recycling service. Prior to the program, citizens in unincorporated St. Louis County were responsible for contracting their own trash hauling providers.


Unified school districts

  • Affton
  • Bayless
  • Brentwood
  • Clayton
  • Ferguson-Florissant
  • Hancock Place
  • Hazelwood
  • Kirkwood
  • Riverview
  • Rockwood
  • Special School District
  • University City
  • Valley Park
  • Webster Groves
  • Wellston

High schools

In addition to its public high schools, St. Louis has an abundance of private and parochial schools, including the largest number of Catholic affiliated secondary institutions in the continental U.S. This is partly due to St. Louis's status as an archdiocese and historically Catholic city. Most of the prestigious private schools reside in West St. Louis County, one of the wealthiest areas in the region.


Brookings Quad at Washington University

Health care

In 1927 a one million dollar bond was issued allocating funds for the construction of the first St. Louis County Hospital. Construction of the 200-bed, non-segregated hospital began in 1929 in the city of Clayton. The hospital opened in July 1931 and ran until June 1986.

Current list of hospitals in St. Louis County:

County parks

  • Affton White-Rodgers Community Center
  • Albrecht
  • Bee Tree Park
  • Bella Fontaine Park
  • Bissell House
  • Black Forest
  • Bohrer
  • Bon Oak
  • Buder (North and South of Interstate 44)
  • Castlepoint Park
  • Champ
  • Cliff Cave
  • Clydesdale
  • Creve Coeur County Park
  • Endicott
  • Faust
  • Fort Bellefontaine
  • Fort Bellefontaine West
  • Robert Winter
  • Simpson
  • Sioux Passage
  • Spanish Lake
  • St. Vincent
  • Suson
  • Sylvan Springs
  • Tilles
  • Unger
  • Veteran's Memorial
  • West Tyson
  • Widman

Undeveloped county parks


St. Louis County is the largest county in Missouri with an employment contribution of nearly half of the metropolitan area’s jobs and a quarter of the entire state’s. Additionally, St. Louis County boasts the highest per capita personal income of any other county in Missouri - $49,727. In addition to the 13 Fortune 1000 companies that call St. Louis County home, it has set itself apart as the entrepreneurial hub of the state with more companies formed here than anywhere else statewide.

Many large enterprises from a variety of industry sectors have their worldwide headquarters in St. Louis County. Imo's Pizza and Save-A-Lot have headquarters in unincorporated areas in the county.

St. Louis County Economic Council is the economic development arm of St. Louis County government, dedicated to increasing opportunities for its businesses and residents.

Municipal fire departments

  • Berkeley - 36
  • Brentwood
  • Clayton
  • Crestwood
  • Des Peres
  • Ferguson - 30
  • Frontenac
  • Glendale
  • Hazelwood - 41
  • Jennings - 42
  • Kirkwood
  • Ladue
  • Maplewood
  • Olivette
  • Pacific
  • Richmond Heights
  • Rock Hill
  • Shrewsbury
  • University City - 26
  • Webster Groves

Fire protection districts

  • Affton - 11
  • Black Jack - 37
  • Community - 38
  • Creve Coeur
  • Eureka
  • Fenton
  • Florissant Valley - 40
  • Kinloch - 43
  • Lemay
  • Maryland Heights - 44
  • Mehlville
  • Metro West
  • Mid-County - 45
  • Moline
  • Monarch
  • Normandy - 47
  • Pattonville Bridgeton Terrace - 48
  • Riverview -49
  • Robertson -50
  • Spanish Lake - 51
  • Valley Park
  • West County EMS
  • West Overland - 52

See also


External links

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