Shrinking City, Flourishing Region: St. Louis Region

the city of Paris (as opposed to the metropolitan area or urban area, see Note) lost a quarter of its population between 1954 and 1999, while the loss in some core districts (arrondissements) was 75 percent. Copenhagen, which is often considered one of Europe’s most vibrant municipalities lost more than one-third of its population between 1950 and 2000. Other core municipalities have lost more than one-half million people, such as, London, Seoul, Glasgow, Berlin, Osaka, Chicago, Detroit, Philadelphia and St. Louis.

City of St. Louis Population Loss: Yet no city which achieved the scale of a half million residents has lost a larger percentage of its population in peacetime than St. Louis. To some extent, this is a very old problem for a city that was once the largest in the Midwest but was passed in 1880 by Chicago.

Metropolitan Population Gain: But as is the case for many “shrinking cities,” the region outside the municipal boundaries has continued to grow. In1950, the population of the metropolitan region (as currently defined) was 1,940,000. By 2009, the metropolitan region had grown to 2,890,000, for a population increase of nearly 1,000,000 (more than a 50 percent increase).

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