Update: Yes, as pointed out in the comments and online, there are other reasons for the population drop: Schools being a big one, and the economy being another. However, crime seems the most universal and the worse, and more specific to St. Louis, so we focused on that.
Original post follows…
The 2010 Census numbers are in! Totally out! All kinds of numbers in them…big numbers…yup…lots. of. numbers. Ok, screw it. You can take it right?
The city of St. Louis’ population fell 8% from 2000, currently sitting at 319,000. Shockingly, it appears years of high violent crime have made people want to leave the city, dragging it’s population down to it’s lowest level in 100 years. Clearly Mayor Slay’s program of putting his fingers in his ear and yelling “I can’t hear you crime!” over and over again while simply hoping that car theft will force his population numbers to stay put hasn’t been working.
From Mayor Slay’s blog:
This is absolutely bad news. We had thought, given many of the other positive trends, that fifty years of population losses had finally reversed direction. Instead, by the measure of Census to Census, they continue, though at a slower pace. Combined with the news from St. Louis County, I believe that this will require an urgent and thorough rethinking of how we do almost everything.
St. Louis County’s numbers? So glad you mentioned that Mr. Mayor. (The guy can’t help his city from going down the crapper, but he’s pretty great at segues.) The county’s population also dropped by 2% dragging it’s numbers below 1 million people.
The question is: Where did all these people go? Don’t be coy, you know exactly where they went. You’re probably one of them, sitting there now, all smug like “Oh I like where I live because my house has value and no one shoots at me or breaks our windows.” Well…uh…shut up! Check out this pec dance we’re doing right now. You can’t see it, but it’s crazy sexy and impressive. Take that St. Charles County.
For the rest of the St. Louis region, it was good news. St. Charles County grew by 27 percent. Its largest city, O’Fallon, grew by nearly 72 percent, moving to the seventh largest city in the state. In 2000, it was 13th. It now has 79,329 people.
St. Charles County, with 360,485 residents, surpasses St. Louis city. Lincoln County also made strong gains, growing by 35 percent. Jefferson County is now the fifth largest county in the state, with 218,733 people, a 10.4 increase from 2000.
Maybe this will be the wake up call the city’s leaders need to stop arguing about little crap and get their butts in gear to fix this mess. It’s not a good sign when there are areas of town where the best idea to help the crime is to offer residents a deal on a home security system. That’s the kind of reactionary crap that has gotten us in to this mess, and the same reason why people are fleeing from this area like rats trying to get off the Titanic. Here’s hoping the Mayor’s not dumb enough to tell us all how the census numbers are misleading and things are a lot better than they sound. “At least there’s plenty of parking spots!” We’re joking. Don’t say that Mr. Mayor.
Just in case none of this can be fixed though, the paperwork to have St. Louis renamed “South Detroit” is filed and on the Mayor’s desk.