St. Louis Region is 21st Largest in U.S. – Now What?

by Tom Chulick | Mar 23, 2018
This past Thursday, the U.S. Census Bureau released its latest population estimates for the nation’s largest metropolitan areas. While we did grow as a region, our rate of growth was slower than those in other metro regions like Denver, Tampa and even Baltimore. As a result, we moved to the 21st largest metro area. But let’s be clear - we are doing well in a lot of areas. This story is not about urban vs. rural, this suburb vs. that suburb. Every metropolitan region across the country is competing for people, jobs and economic opportunities.

The past two weeks, we beat out Louisville, Kansas City and Milwaukee to win over 2,200 new jobs with companies like Amazon, Cenlar and Grove Collaborative. Our startup businesses continue to grow and thrive. Just this month, Chamber staff are meeting with business leaders in Dallas, Cleveland, Chicago and New York who are interested in locating in our region. People, jobs and companies are moving to St. Louis, but the more economic opportunities we can provide – both in terms of jobs and a talented workforce – the more likely we can grow at a faster rate.

The core mission of the St. Louis Regional Chamber is regional economic development. That means when a business is looking to relocate its business, we look at all corners of the region – City of St. Louis, St. Louis County, St. Charles County, Madison County, St. Clair County, and beyond. Each area has its unique assets, and combining our strengths creates a region that has that is very competitive. Companies and business site consultants tell us they love the St. Louis region’s affordability, our strong talent in biosciences, financial sectors and healthcare, and our friendly business climate. According to the St. Louis Federal Reserve, we rank No. 7 in the country for adjusted real personal income per capita, 12 percent higher than the national average. This translates into a very affordable cost of living and doing business. These are very real reasons why companies choose to do business in St. Louis and we think many more will, especially as the Chamber and community partners continue to work with regional educational partners and employers to grow and develop our workforce. 

It is important that we also work together to attract new people to St. Louis who want to enjoy a low cost of living, great family amenities, and a chance to make a better life for themselves and their companies than in high-cost areas of the country. We will continue to work hard with our partners in both Illinois and Missouri to market the region around the country and across the world. 

Ultimately, people and businesses are looking for economic opportunities. That is how we in St. Louis will grow. We must continue to work together to bring more jobs, build up our workforce, and attract talented and innovative people to the St. Louis region. We should support people and organizations that make St. Louis a better place to live. That is the call to action we should take from this. We have many assets, we are open for business, and it is time we tell a new story about St. Louis.