I cannot wait to see the 2010 U.S. census data for St. Louis. I hope to see a 10 year gain from 2000-2010. This would be the first decade gain for St. Louis since the 1940-1950 post war increase of 5% when we peaked at 856,796 residents. The estimated population of St. Louis in 2000 is 348,189. That's the lowest since the late 1870's...pretty depressing, eh?
As I research St. Louis' 79 neighborhoods, I am using 2000 census data as my source for tracking resident changes over a 10-year span (1990-2000). In all 7 neighborhoods I've looked at so far there were drops in residential populations. This is evident in the nice and not so nice neighborhoods alike. So the question arose in my mind, did any neighborhoods see an increase in population from 1990-2000?
Here's a look at the 11 neighborhoods from 1990-2000 that gained residents (the remaining neighborhoods all lost residents) and the 13 worst for losing residents based on percentage:
Congratulations to Bevo Mill and Dutchtown who added quite a few people and topped the list. Having lived in Dutchtown as my first neighborhood in 1994 and now living just south of Bevo, I know that Bosnian immigration is the main factor behind the increases. Congrats to the other neighborhoods as well for attracting people and keeping things stable. Not sure why Near Northside and North Riverfront gained, I'll have to visit those neighborhoods sooner than later.
However, that's where the good news ends. Take a look at the massive declines in population across north St. Louis. What the heck is going on in Jeff Vander Lou? 3509 people moved out in 10 years. That's simply staggering no matter how you cut it.
I'll quote a line from Debravka Ugresic's book "Nobody's Home":
"The beauty of the city is in the eye of the beholder. The more beholders, the
more visions of beauty."
True, we need every beholder we can get.
More than lowering crime, improving the schools, increasing the investment $$, I think we need more PEOPLE calling St. Louis home.
If more people chose this place as their home, the other things will follow. If conscientious, caring, outspoken people fill the halls with their kids, the public schools will be forced to address the issues they have. The more people that are watching the streets, the less crime we'll have. The more courageous people who take the time and effort to report crime the better the police will become. The more people here, the more money spent here.
I look forward to the 2010 census numbers. If the numbers hold true, based on the 2008 estimate. We could have our first increase in 10 year population since 1950! No matter how smalll the percentage increase, this could be a sea change for St. Louis. I hope it would be a pshycological boost, if nothing else. Or on the other side of the coin, it could simply mean we hit rock bottom in the 1990's and there nowhere left but slight ups and downs around 350,000.
So move to St. Louis and help be part of history and positive change that is occuring all over the city.
My wife and I are doing our part, we've added 3 new city residents to the population in the last 7 years through the art of breeding. Every little bit counts :)