St. Louis, Missouri

St. Louis, Missouri

According to jibin123, St. Louis is a city in the US state of Missouri, located on the Mississippi River. The city has a population of 293,000 and an urban area of 2,809,000 inhabitants (2021) which extends into Illinois. The city is known as the Gateway City. The name is pronounced as seɪnt ˈluːɪs



St. Louis is located at the confluence of the Mississippi River and the Missouri River. The Missouri River flows into the Mississippi just north of the city. The center of St. Louis is located on the Mississippi River, the suburbs also on the Missouri River. Most of the metropolitan area is in the state of Missouri, but also for a substantial part in the state of Illinois. The urban area transitions from the flat prairies in the north and east to the Ozarks, an area of ​​low hills and much more forest.

The urban area can be divided into several sectors, such as the actual city of St. Louis, the inner suburbs around the city in Missouri and the industrial suburbs in Illinois. Out there are the newer suburbs around the St. Louis ring road, mostly on the Missouri side. Further west across the Missouri River are the newest suburbs stretching quite far west along I-70. The exurban area is relatively limited because of the Ozarks. The suburban area in Illinois is less continuous, so the city of Alton is still somewhat separated from the rest of the urban area.

St. Louis is one of the major hubs in the Midwestern United States, on two major navigable rivers, major railroads and Interstate Highways that cross the Mississippi River here.

What is striking about the urban area is that the suburbs are relatively small, except for St. Louis itself, there are no cities with more than 50,000 inhabitants in the agglomeration, and it is difficult to identify large sub-centres. Outside of downtown, there are major job sites in Brentwood, near the airport, in Maryland Heights, and other smaller suburbs.

The agglomeration is located on the climatic boundary between a humid continental climate and a subtropical climate. In winter, however, snow does fall regularly.


The St. Louis region has an economy based on logistics, transportation, commerce, government services, and the general service sector. Relatively little heavy industry remains, the high-tech industry in St. Louis is less developed than some other metropolitan regions. There are great contrasts between the poor, run-down central city, the inner suburbs, the industrial suburbs in Illinois and the more prosperous suburbs in the west of the city. East St. Louis is traditionally known as one of the most run-down cities in the country. Due to the large population decline in the center city, there is a lot of vacancy or vacant lots. This problem is less relevant elsewhere in the agglomeration.


The city of St. Louis was founded in 1764 as a French city under La Louisiane. As part of the Louisiana Purchase, it became part of the United States in 1803. In the first census of 1810, the city had 1,600 inhabitants. This grew rapidly due to St. Louis’ importance as a gateway to the west and its location on the Mississippi River, in 1860 the city had 160,000 inhabitants. With the construction of the first bridges and railroads, St. Louis became an important hub and the city grew rapidly, reaching a population of 575,000 in 1900. The population finally peaked at 856,000 in 1950. After that, a prolonged decline set in, which continues to the present. From then on, St. Louis began to suburbanize and all subsequent urban growth took place in the suburbs. For though the city of St. Louis shrank sharply,

Population growth

St. Louis is a separate city that is not part of St. Louis County. The St. Louis Statistical Conurbation (MSA) includes a number of additional counties that are not included in the continuously built-up area and are not shown below.

year St. Louis St. Louis County St. Charles County Jefferson County Madison County St. Clair County total
1950 857,000 406,000 30,000 38,000 182,000 206,000 1,719,000
1960 750,000 704,000 53,000 66,000 225,000 263,000 2,061,000
1970 622,000 951,000 93,000 105,000 251,000 285,000 2,307,000
1980 453,000 974,000 144,000 146,000 248,000 267,000 2,232,000
1990 397,000 993,000 213,000 171,000 249,000 263,000 2,286,000
2000 348,000 1,016,000 284,000 198,000 259,000 256,000 2,361,000
2010 319,000 999,000 360,000 219,000 269,000 270,000 2,435,000
2020 301,000 1.003,000 406,000 227,000 265,000 257,000 2,459,000
2021 293,000 997,000 410,000 228,000 264,000 255,000 2,447,000

In 1950, St. Louis was one of the largest cities in the United States and comprised about 50% of the metropolitan area’s population. After that, a continuous decline in the population set in, although the decline has moderated since the 1990s. The urban area grew rapidly, especially in the period 1950-1970, after that the population growth slowed down, only the suburbs on the Missouri side continued to grow, especially St. Charles County. By 2020 there was hardly any population growth in the region. After 2020, St. Louis itself also dropped below the 300,000 population limit.

Road network

The St. Louis freeway network.

St. Louis’ road network is heavily influenced by the Mississippi and Missouri rivers. Capacity over the Missouri River is fine, but the Poplar Street Bridge over the Mississippi, which handles two Interstates, I-55 and I-64, is especially lacking. The metropolitan area has two major east-west highways, I-70 and I-64, and the north-south axis I-55. In addition, the city has a ring road formed by the I-255 and I-270. I-44 ends in the city, and comes from Oklahoma. In addition, there is a north-south tangent that forms I-170, and two insignificant State Routes. Especially on the west side of St. Louis there is a lot of capacity available, with often 2×4 to 2×5 lanes, but this is also where the busiest road sections are. The I-70 has an alternating lane, so that 6 lanes can be used in the rush hour direction. I-64 is double-decker near downtown St. Louis. The SR-364 even has 2×6 lanes with an intensity of 48,000 in St. Charles. The highest intensities are not found in downtown St. Louis but in the western suburbs, especially around I-270. Remarkably, the highway network of the metropolitan area of St. Louis consists almost exclusively of Interstate Highways, unlike in many other metropolitan areas in the United States.

List of freeways

I-70 at Lambert–St. Louis International Airport.

length first opening last opening max AADT 2012
75 km 1960 1973 120,000
71 km 1960 1973 126,000
100 km ? 1975 172,000
102 km 1958 1968 129,000
18 km 1967 1985 127,000
67 km ? 1986 100,000
81 km 1962 1969 200,000
38 km 1998 2013 31,000
27 km 2003 2014 60,000
18 km 1992 1996 59,000


St. Louis is known for its many bridges, the result of an urban area at the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri. The oldest bridge is the Eads Bridge from 1874. Most bridges in downtown St. Louis over the Mississippi River were built in the early 20th century. Some bridge connections have been replaced by new spans. The Missouri River is characterized by a large capacity of most bridges. This is because the metropolitan area of St. Louis has grown mainly to the west. Most bridges are steel cantilever truss bridges. The 2014 Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge is the city’s first cable- stayed bridge, although the Clark Bridge at Alton is an older cable-stayed bridge.

In addition to road bridges, there are also quite a few rail bridges, as St. Louis is one of the major rail hubs in the United States.


The I-64 at Downtown St. Louis.

The oldest forerunners of a highway network in St. Louis date back to the 1930s, when portions of US 40, later I-64, were completed in Missouri. However, most of the highway network was built in the 1960s. Unlike many other states, Missouri first focused on building long-distance highways between the cities, rather than within the cities. The first highways in Missouri began construction immediately after the Interstate Highway system was created in 1956. The very first section built under the Interstate Highway program was part of I-70 in St. Peters, in what are now the western suburbs of St. Louis.

In the early to mid-1960s, I-44, I-55, I-64, and I-70 were built through St. Louis. In 1964, I-270 north of St. Louis was completed, allowing through east-west traffic to easily avoid downtown. Unlike many other cities, I-270 here does provide a shorter and faster route than I-70 through the center. In 1966, the Chain of Rocks Bridge north of St. Louis on I-270 opened to traffic. This is striking, because the highway bridge near the center of St. Louis opened later, in 1967. An urban highway network in St. Louis was less successful, partly due to the freeway revolts. I-170 was originally intended as a north-south highway along the western edge of St. Louis, but the southern portion of it has been scrapped. I-270 later had to handle all north-south traffic west of St. Louis, becoming the city’s busiest highway. By 1968, I-270 was completed through the western suburbs of St. Louis, which simultaneously began to grow significantly. New work locations also developed here, as Downtown St. Louis fell into disrepair from the 1970s.

Few new highways have opened in Missouri since 1970. In Illinois, I-255 was constructed as the East Ring of St. Louis between 1983 and 1986. Despite this, few suburbs developed in Illinois, and what there was was rapidly declining in population, with East St. Louis in particular becoming notorious for its poor crime-ridden conditions. In the western suburbs of St. Louis, US 40 was converted to I-64 after 2005, which was completed in 2009 when I-64 joined I-70. At the same time, I-64 has been modernized and widened closer to St. Louis, as the highway would handle more through traffic and make it a more important gateway to St. Louis from western suburbs than other Interstates.

In 2014, the Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge over the Mississippi River opened to traffic. This changed the road numbering in St. Louis and East St. Louis. I-70 was shortened, while I-44 was lengthened over the old I-70. Also, the triple numbering of I-55/64/70 over the Poplar Street Bridge was cancelled.


Few construction projects are planned in and around St. Louis. There is talk of widening 2×2 I-270 along the north side of St. Louis in both Missouri and Illinois, but these plans are still inconclusive. In order to carry out the widening, a new bridge over the Mississippi is necessary, as the existing bridge has no emergency lanes or space reservation.


St. Louis does have more traffic jams than an average city in the Midwest, which is mainly caused by the fact that the Mississippi bridges have a capacity-limiting effect. Traffic jams are mainly around the center where 4 different Interstates come together. Furthermore, some traffic jams can occur here and there, but many highways have been adequately developed. The Illinois side of the conurbation is not crowded, traffic jams are a rarity here.

St. Louis, Missouri