Warren County, Missouri

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

Who Lives in Warren County?

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

Total Population 33,554

37% of the population live in urban areas

63% of the population live in rural areas

15.6% 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 Access to Healthcare Improve Health
3 Built Environment Strengthen Communities
4 Child Welfare Foster Learning
5 Transportation Provide Food and Shelter
6 Behavioral Health and Substance Abuse Improve Health
7 Justice System Strengthen Communities
8 Early Childhood Education Foster Learning
9* Aging and Senior Support Strengthen Communities
9* K-12 Education and Out-of-School Time Foster Learning
11 Food Security Provide Food and Shelter
12 Jobs Financial Stability
*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 Warren County:

  • Behavioral Health and Substance Abuse (7/8)*
  • Aging and Senior Support (6/8)
  • Access to Healthcare (4/8)
  • Child Welfare (4/8)
  • Early Childhood Education (4/8)
  • Transportation (4/8)

*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

“Lack of transportation options, lack of recreational activities, not wheelchair friendly.”

“Nice little community, just doesn’t have resources to meet needs of people locally.”

A total of 51 responses for Warren County were recorded through the public survey, focus group, and one-on-one interviews. For the public survey, 4 (11 percent) of the 38 participants were people of color. The one-on-one interviews included six individuals, none 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:

  • Warren County residents are commonly concerned about financial security for themselves and their families. When survey participants were asked what they worry about most, the most frequent concerns participants shared were about household economics (10/38 responses) and access to healthcare services and the cost of health insurance were the second most common concerns (6/38 responses).
  • A demographically typical resident will be “ok” so long as nothing catastrophic occurs. However, focus group participants voiced that anyone who is different from the typical population – namely people of color, those with few economic resources, or who are limited English speakers – have few safety net services and organizations to seek out help from. 
  • A safe, prosperous community is what residents most commonly desire for the future of Warren County. The six most common hopes shared by survey participants for the future of their community include one that is safe (4/37 responses), prosperous (4/37 responses), larger or bigger (4/37 responses), better (3/37 responses), thriving (3/37 responses), and growing (3/37 responses).

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

  • Residents of color need health services to lead healthy lives. All four survey participants of color mentioned needing physical or mental health services for someone in their family.
  • Accessing services is a hurdle. All participating residents of color cited not knowing where to go and/or not feeling valued when seeking support and resources in the community.
  • Warren County may not be ideal for all people of color. When asked about desired quality of life, three of four respondents of color felt a community outside of Warren County would be better for their families.


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 under represent grant funding in Warren County.

In 2017, Warren County received a total of $7.1 million in grant funding across 26 unique grants. These funds amounted to 0.5 percent of total regional funding and a per capita investment of $213.

Community Partnerships


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