Franklin County, Missouri

This profile presents Franklin County’s demographic characteristics, prioritized needs, key inputs from residents, and the partnership and funding landscape in the county.

Who Lives in Franklin County?

The following data highlight some important demographic information about the people who live in Franklin County:

Total Population 102,413

44% of the population live in urban areas

56% of the population live in rural areas

12.6% of the population live with a disability

Population in Poverty

Prioritized Needs

The CNA began with listening through a public survey, focus groups, and individual interviews, and with a review of existing or secondary data. To identify and prioritize the needs in each county, the CNA researchers gave each topic (or need) a score using all of the data collected. The scores were assigned using these criteria: how many people were impacted; how great the racial disparity was; and if the need was a root cause (main reason) for a condition or outcome. These scores were also driven by how community members responded to the topic through the survey, focus groups, and interviews. Using the scores given by the CNA researchers, United Way ranked the top half of each county’s needs.

Ranking Topic/Need Impact Area
1* Behavioral Health and Substance Abuse Improve Health
1* Housing Security Provide Food and Shelter
3 Community Building Strengthen Communities
4 Child Welfare Foster Learning
5 Transportation Provide Food and Shelter
6 Built Environment Strengthen Communities
7 Early Childhood Education Foster Learning
8 Justice System Strengthen Communities
9* Access to Healthcare Improve Health
9* Safety Strengthen Communities
9* Services for Individuals with Disabilities Strengthen Communities
12* Jobs Financial Stability
12* Physical Health Improve Health
*scores were tied    

Community Engagement

The findings below highlight what was heard and learned from community members. The community engagement process included: gathering insight from residents on individual, family, and community needs through public surveys; perspective on community challenges and resources from local government and social services providers through focus groups; and in-depth accounts of individuals’ daily successes and challenges through one-on-one interviews. 

After CNA partners reviewed all collected data to identify a list of priority needs for each county, residents were given the opportunity to identify the needs they believed to be highest priority. Residents identified the following as the highest priority needs in Franklin County:

  • Behavioral Health & Substance Abuse (18/22)*
  • Services for Individuals with Disabilities (15/22)
  • Transportation (12/22)

*Number of community members who picked this topic / number of total community members who voted.

This community feedback was not used in the final needs prioritization because in many counties, the participant sample was not representative of the entire county. This is, however, important feedback to understand needs.

Resident Words

“It is a great family place but starting to be overrun with drug use.”

“Aging, lots of entry level jobs but good paying entry level jobs, not a lot of affordable housing, needs more for teens to do, a good variety of things for little kids to do.”

“My community is very active. There seems to be something for everyone. However, I do wish it was more diverse. Many of the people I know have never left the state, and for some, even the county.”

A total of 116 responses for Franklin County were recorded through the public survey, focus group, and one-on-one interviews. For the public survey, 12 (12 percent) of the 100 participants were people of color. The one-on-one interviews included nine individuals, four who were people of color and one youth under age 18. No demographic data was recorded for the seven focus group participants.

Key takeaways from survey, interview, and focus groups in this county:

  • Franklin County residents are most commonly concerned about financial security now and as they age and retire. When survey participants were asked what they worry about most for their families, the most frequent concerns participants shared were about household economics (26/100 responses); social services and support, particularly for loved ones who are disabled and older adults (11/100 responses); and declining health (11/100 responses). 
  • Access to and variety of services and supports are fewer in Franklin County’s less populated communities. Focus group participants shared that individuals living outside of larger populated areas often must travel for a long time to get to the amenities and supports that they need, which is particularly challenging due to few public transit options. 
  • A prosperous community is what residents most commonly desire for the future of Franklin County. The most common hopes shared by survey and interview participants for the future of their community include a community that is prosperous and thriving (18/109 responses), inclusive and united (15/109 responses), and safe (8/109 responses).

Survey participants were not required to answer all questions, therefore response totals often vary by question

Key takeaways from respondents of color in survey, interview, and focus groups in this county:

  • Having more money to support their families is a concern shared by many respondents of color. Out of 16 people of color who participated in the survey and interviews, seven identified their current financial circumstances as one they’d like to improve.
  • In hard times, residents of color look to their family, friends, and neighbors for support. Most people of color (9 of 16) who participated in the survey and interviews highlighted the role their social networks played in helping them address and get through challenges.
  • A community that is thriving and inclusive are equally desired. For survey and interview participants of color who answered what they hope for their community in the future, the most common characteristics of thriving and inclusive were shared by five participants. 


Funding Analysis

The funding map tracked government and philanthropic grants of $50,000 or more awarded in fiscal year 2017. Grants were recorded in the county the terminal grantee is located in, not the terminal grantee’s service area, which may underrepresent grant funding in Franklin County.

In 2017, Franklin County received a total of $16.8 million in grant funding across 52 unique grants. These funds amounted to 1.1 percent of total regional funding and a per capita investment of $164.

Community Partnership


Seven partnerships identified Franklin County as a focal point, and a number of additional regional partnerships also included the county.