Urban Trivia Census Bureau's New Book Offers Fascinating Facts about St. Louis

Article excerpt

The city of St. Louis has some of the oldest people and housing in the country.

That's one of the bits of census trivia from the hefty new "County and City Data Book," 12th edition, released this month by the Census Bureau. The book contains thousands of listings nationwide on everything from crime to education to income.

Among the 77 cities of more than 200,000 people, St. Louis ranked third in its percentage of old people - 16.6 percent of the people have reached age 65. They are particularly concentrated in Midtown and southwest St. Louis.

Not surprisingly, a Florida city, St. Petersburg, ranks No. 1 in its percentage of elderly. Pittsburgh is No. 2, and Miami and Louisville, Ky., tie with St. Louis for the No. 3 ranking.

As for housing, 55.7 percent of St. Louis' houses and flats were built before 1940 - enough to rank the city No. 4 among larger cities. Only three Eastern cities - Buffalo, Rochester and Boston - have more older housing.

St. Louis lost 15.3 percent of its population between 1980 and 1992, reducing it to 383,733 people. Among the 77 cities listed, only Detroit and Newark lost a bigger proportion of population.

But even though the city of St. Louis has more than halved its population since World War II, it still hits the top third in population density. While New Yorkers might sniff at this - their city ranks No. 1 with nearly four times as much crowding as St. Louis - St. Louis still has 6,199 people per square mile.

The most packed part of the city sits in the heart of the Central West End, from Euclid Avenue to Kingshighway and Maryland Plaza to the Forest Park Parkway. …

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