St. Clair, Illinois

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

Who Lives in St. Clair?

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

Total Population 264,433

90% of the population live in urban areas

10% of the population live in rural areas

12.9% 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.

Ranking Topic/Need Impact Area
1 Housing Security Provide Food and Shelter
2 Jobs Financial Stability
3 K-12 Education and Out-of-School Time Foster Learning
4 Child Welfare Foster Learning
5 Safety Strengthen Communities
6 Income Financial Stability
7 Transportation Provide Food and Shelter
8 Access to Healthcare Improve Health
9 Built Environment Strengthen Communities
10* Food Security Provide Food and Shelter
10* Physical Health Improve Health
12 Justice System Strengthen Communities

* 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.

Community Feedback: Priority Needs

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. Clair County:

  • Income (50/84)*
  • Child Welfare (48/84)
  • Safety (47/84)

*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

“Small town environment with solid institutions and basic services. Welcoming, but hard to make connections if not originally from the area.”

“It’s on an upswing, and changes are in progress to enhance the quality of living.”

A total of 358 responses for St. Clair County were recorded through the public survey, focus group, and one-on-one interviews. For the public survey, 139 (40 percent) of the 346 participants were people of color. The one-on-one interviews and focus group both included six individuals. Demographic data was not collected for the interviews or focus group.

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

  • St. Clair County residents are most commonly concerned about financially supporting their households and building generational wealth. When survey participants were asked what they worry about most for their families, the most frequent concerns participants shared were about household economics (91/315 responses), rising violent crime (64/315 responses), health (51/315 responses), their families’ happiness and quality of life (24/315 responses), and the decline of connectedness and respectful interactions between family members and within the community at large (22/315 responses).
  • Outlook on community change differs between some social service providers and residents. Focus group participants – which included representatives from social support and local government agencies – expressed that despite unfavorable quality of life data on St. Clair County, many changes were underway to advance stability and collaboration. However, interview participants shared a growing sense of lack of cohesion and services available to address community needs.
  • A safe community is what residents most commonly desire for the future of St. Clair County. The five most common hopes shared by survey and interview participants for the future of their community include one that is safe (70/327 responses), thriving (63/327 responses), larger in population (27/327 responses), united (19/327 responses), and supportive (15/327 responses).

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

  • Economic security is slightly even more of a concern for residents of color.Compared to 28 percent of all St. Clair County survey participants, 35 percent of participants of color identified challenges surrounding household finances as a worry for their families. Being able to financially provide for their families was also the most common concern shared by participants of color.
  • Fewer than half of surveyed residents of color feel their basic needs are met. Compared to 70 percent of surveyed white residents, 48 percent of residents of color feel their basic needs are met. Stable housing (26/64 responses) is the most common basic need not being met for residents of color who participated in the public survey.
  • Nearly half of surveyed residents of color feel the communities they live in are declining.Compared to just 27 percent of surveyed white residents, 49 percent of residents of color describe conditions in their communities as growing somewhat or a lot worse.


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 overrepresent grant funding in St. Clair County. Click here to access St. Clair County grants data.

In 2017, St. Clair County received a total of $107 million in grant funding across 291 unique grants. These funds amounted to 7.1% of total regional funding and a per capita investment of $405.

Community Partnerships


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