St. Louis Ranks No. 6 in Number of "Native" Inhabitants

Categories: Community
midwest living 3.jpg
Is it really so great?
For most St. Louisans, going home for Thanksgiving this week means staying put. 

According to Census figures, 69.4 percent of people living in the St. Louis metropolitan area were born in the region. That ranks as sixth highest nationally among major cities and a good 12 percentage points above the national average of 57.2 percent. 

Remaining in your hometown isn't necessarily a bad thing, as UMSL public policy professor Todd Swantstrom tells the East-West Gateway Council of Governments, which published the Census findings this week.

"There are advantages to being ingrown. There are rich accumulations of social capital in St. Louis at the local level. Neighborhoods are tight and people feel comfortable in them -- like a favorite old sweater," says Swanstrom. "On the other hand, wouldn't it be nice to have a little more bridging social capital across communities in St. Louis -- as well as openness to new residents and new ideas?"

Curiously, nine of the Top Ten (listed below) cities with "native" populations all hail from the Midwest. Is it just cozy being in the middle? Or are we stuck? 

10. San Antonio,  64.5 percent*
 9.  Louisville, 66.8 percent
 8.  Indianapolis, 67.6 percent
 7.  Cincinnati, 68.4 percent
 6.  St. Louis, 69.4 percent
 5.  Columbus, 70.2 percent
 4.  Milwuakee, 73.1 percent
 3.  Detroit, 75.1 percent
 2.  Cleveland, 75.3 percent
 1.  Pittsburgh, 82.2 percent

*Percentages based on the number of people born in the state in which the city is located and/or borders. For St. Louis, people born in Missouri and Illinois both factor into the overall percentage of 69.4.

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Mike N.
Mike N.

I'm a little confused... unless I'm misinterpreting the note at the end of the post, if someone's grows up in, say, West Plains, then moves to St. Louis they're considered a "native St. Louisan" by this study?  I think native St. Louisans (which I am not) would disagree.  As for San Antonio, that makes sense; one could grow up in Amarillo and move to San Antonio, having moved 500 miles away, but be a San Antonio 'native'.


The best view of St. Louis is in your rear view mirror.

Brad Hicks
Brad Hicks

A friend of mine tells people that there's a singularity, a mini black hole, at the intersection of Elm and Lockwood. However close to it you've lived, that's all the farther away from it that you'll ever live.

St. Louisans have one of the lowest college graduation rates of comparable sized cities in the US; this leaves St. Louisans who try to hunt for work elsewhere poorly equipped to job hunt. We're also used to St. Louis's extremely low housing and gasoline costs, and get sticker shock any time we go elsewhere.

Plus, being a city nobody ever leaves creates its own self-reinforcing inertia. When you try to move away, there's always this temptation to go back to where you have family to help you out, to have friends to help you out. People from other towns don't feel this temptation as much as people from the cities you listed do, because if you move away from Pittsburgh or Detroit or St. Louis for three years, your friends and family didn't, so they're still all in one place; move away from Seattle or New York or Miami for three years, and if you moved back, you wouldn't know anybody again, because everybody you knew when you were there also left.

Jim Maffrand
Jim Maffrand

I'd like to see the statistics for the Los Angeles region.

Jessica Sanchez
Jessica Sanchez

See Mike, You don't understand what it says because you aren't from st Louis. Lol the comment  "For St. Louis, people born in Missouri and Illinois both factor into the overall percentage of 69.4." simply means that when they looked at St Louis's percentage they included the people from ST Louis, Mo AND St Louis, Il, as in East St Louis. They do this in most is not all studies done and statistics made from ST Louis. Its really does throw off the statistics for st Louis though because this area is very crime ridden and full of very poor families.

Chad Garrison
Chad Garrison

I heard Jon Hamm interviewed about St. Louis. He said something to the effect that  St. Louis is the kind of place where you either go to work for you dad, or you move away.

Chad Garrison
Chad Garrison

L.A. is No. 25 of 35 cities with 49.4 percent. You can see all cities by clicking the link next to "sources" at the end of the post.

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