St. Louis City, Missouri

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

Who Lives in St. Louis City?

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

Total Population 314,867

100% of the population live in urban areas

0% of the population live in rural areas

15.6% 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 Community Building Strengthen Communities
2* Built Environment Strengthen Communities
2* Housing Security Provide Food and Shelter
2* Jobs Financial Stability
5 Safety Strengthen Communities
6 Income Financial Stability
7 Child Welfare Foster Learning
8 Justice System Strengthen Communities
9* Access to Healthcare Improve Health
9* K-12 Education and Out-of-School Time Foster Learning
11* Services for Individuals with Disabilities Strengthen Communities
11* Transportation Provide 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. 

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. Louis City:

  • Safety (154/240)*
  • Child Welfare (110/240)
  • Housing Security (104/240)

*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

“My community has a lot of promise, with a lot of people that care and want better. Unfortunately, I do not think we have enough resources, and the resources we have are not evenly distributed.”

“Very diverse – race, age, income. We help each other out when times are tough…and we celebrate together when things go well.”

A total of 809 responses for St. Louis City were recorded through the public survey, focus group and one-on-one interviews. For the public survey, 276 (35 percent) of the 796 participants were people of color. The one-on-one interviews included six individuals, all of whom were people of color. No demographic data was recorded for the seven focus group participants. 

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

  • St. Louis City residents share concerns on a wide range of topics from individual needs to larger systems challenges. When survey participants were asked what they worry about most, the most frequent concerns participants shared were about getting out of debt, affording daily expenses and building wealth (222/722 responses); being the victims of crime, particularly gun violence (165/722 responses); declining health (98/722 responses); being happy, finding balance and sustaining relationships (50/722 responses); and finding and maintaining jobs that are fulfilling and pay a living wage (40/722 responses). 
  • St. Louis City is home to a high volume of community assets and resources– for some. Focus group participants identified a high number of community assets and opportunities within the City but acknowledged that access depends on one’s race and familial status. 
  • A community free of crime and violence is what residents most commonly desire for the future of St. Louis City. The most common hopes shared by survey and interview participants for the future of their community include themes of community safety (85/749 responses); prosperity (42/749 responses); and diversity, equity and unity (29/749 responses).

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

  • Declining community conditions are more often perceived by residents of color. Compared to 23 percent of surveyed white residents, 35 percent of residents of color describe conditions in their communities as growing somewhat or a lot worse. This perspective was also shared by all six interview participants of color, along with acknowledgments of neighbors beginning to organize around community challenges. 
  • Residents of color are more open to professional help to improve their well being. For survey participants of color who noted their daily mood as sad, scared, or angry, 73 percent (27/37 responses) said they currently are or would like to work with a professional to address challenges and improve their general mood. By comparison, 58 percent (26/45 responses) of white survey participants who are generally sad, scared, or angry noted working with or being open to professional help.
  • A safe community, like many other residents, is what residents of color most desire for St. Louis City’s future. For survey and interview participants of color who answered what they hope for their community in the future, 58 of 254 respondents hope for a community that is a safe place to live in and grow a family.


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 over represent grant funding in St. Louis City.

In 2017, St. Louis City received a total of $356.2 million in grant funding across 769 unique grants. These funds amounted to 23.8 percent of total regional funding and a per capita investment of $1,131.

Community Partnerships


Thirty-nine partnerships identified St. Louis City as a focal point, and a number of additional regional partnerships also included the county.