St. Charles County, Missouri

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

Who Lives in St. Charles County?

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

Total Population 385,115

94% of the population live in urban areas

6% of the population live in rural areas

9.8% of the population live with a disability

Population in Poverty

Prioritized Needs

The Community Needs Assessment (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.

RankingTopic/NeedImpact Area
1*Behavioral Health & Substance AbuseImprove Health
1*Housing SecurityProvide Food and Shelter
3JobsFinancial Stability
4Justice SystemStrengthen Communities
5Child WelfareFoster Learning
6TransportationProvide Food and Shelter
7*Early Childhood EducationFoster Learning
7*K-12 Education and Out-of-School TimeFoster Learning
9IncomeFinancial Stability
10*Community BuildingStrengthen Communities
10*Physical HealthImprove Health
12Food SecurityProvide Food and Shelter
*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 St. Charles County:

  • Behavioral Health and Substance Abuse (142/207)*
  • Child Welfare (107/207)
  • Transportation (105/207)

*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.

Resident Words

“I like my community, but would welcome more diverse cultures and ethnic backgrounds.”

“Quality schools; a lack of public transportation; lots of opportunities if you have the money and transportation for them. It is becoming more diverse but is adjusting slower than what is ideal.”

A total of 338 responses for St. Charles County were recorded through the public survey, focus group and one-on-one interviews. For the public survey, 24 (7 percent) of the 323 participants were people of color. The one-on-one interviews included six individuals, four who were people of color. No demographic data was recorded for the nine focus group participants.

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

  • Beyond money, health and safety, St. Charles County residents are worried about their families’ general happiness and comfort. The most common concern of being able to financially provide for their families was identified by 70/287 participants. Next, participants worry of youth being safe and well educated with opportunities in the future (25/287 responses) and accessing quality, affordable healthcare (18/287 responses).
  • “Hidden” populations struggle amidst rapid growth and development in St. Charles County. Focus group participants voiced that while many amenities and community supports exist across St. Charles County, there are many barriers to opportunity and services for those without a car, financial resources, or a social network.
  • A safe community is what residents most commonly desire for the future of St. Charles County. The five most common hopes shared by survey and interview participants for the future of their community include one that is safe (111/292 responses), healthy (73/292 responses), thriving (53/292 responses), happy (41/292 responses), and stable (27/292 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:

  • In general, residents of color think highly of St. Charles County as their home. Survey and interview participants of color commonly described their community as a great place to raise a family that is full of opportunities and slowly becoming more diverse.
  • Nearly all surveyed residents of color feel the communities they live in are either stable or improving. Of 22 participants of color, one person feels conditions in their community were declining. In contrast, 11 percent of surveyed white residents perceive their communities getting worse.
  • An inclusive community is what residents of color most desire for St. Charles County’s future. For survey and interview participants of color who answered what they hope for their community in the future, 9 of 24 respondents hope for a community that is more welcoming and engaged with populations of different cultural, racial, and ethnic backgrounds.

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 St. Charles County.

In 2017, St. Charles County received a total of $76.8 million in grant funding across 135 unique grants. These funds amounted to 5.1 percent of total regional funding and a per capita investment of $200.

Community Partnerships


Eleven partnerships identified St. Charles County as a focal point, and a number of additional regional partnerships also included the county.