St. Louis, Mo.

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Updated July 10, 2020 | Infoplease Staff

Mayor: Francis G. Slay (to April 2017)

2010 census population (rank): 319,294 (58); Male: 154,171 (48.3%); Female: 165,123 (51.7%); White: 140,267 (43.9%); Black: 157,160 (49.2%); American Indian and Alaska Native: 838 (0.3%); Asian: 9,291 (2.9%); Other race: 4,102 (1.3%); Two or more races: 7,562 (2.4%); Hispanic/Latino: 11,130 (3.5%). 2010 percent population 18 and over: 78.8%; 65 and over: 13.6%; Median age: 33.9.

2014 population estimate (rank): 317,419 (58)

See additional census data

Land area: 62 sq mi. (161 sq km);

Alt.: Highest, 616 ft.; lowest, 413 ft.

Avg. daily temp.: Jan., 28.4° F; July, 78.4° F

Churches: 9001;

City-owned parks: 105 (3,136 ac.);

Radio stations: AM, 21; FM 271;

Television stations: 6 commercial; 1 PBS

Civilian Labor Force (MSA) April 2015: 1,457,7002;

Unemployed (April 2015): 77,1002,

Percent (April 2015): 5.32;

Per capita personal income (MSA) 2013: $23,048

Chamber of Commerce: St. Louis Regional Chamber and Growth Association, One Metropolian Square, Suite 1300, St. Louis, MO 63102

1. Metropolitan area.
2. St. Louis, Mo.–Ill.

St. Louis, the second-largest city in Missouri, is located in the east central part of the state on the Mississippi River. The city is independent and is not part of any county.

St. Louis was founded by the French in 1764 when Auguste Chouteau established a fur-trading post and Pierre Laclède Liguest, a New Orleans merchant, founded a town at the present site. They named it after King Louis XV of France and his patron saint, Louis IX. From 1770 to 1803, St. Louis was a Spanish possession, but it was ceded back to France in 1803 in accordance with the Treaty of San Ildefonso (1800), only to be acquired by the U.S. as part of the Louisiana purchase later that year.

The town was incorporated in 1809. From 1812 to 1821, St. Louis was the capital of the Missouri Territory, and it was incorporated as a city in 1822.

John Jacob Astor opened the Western branch of the American Fur Company in 1819, and the city prospered during the early part of the 19th century as a commercial center for the fur trade. St. Louis continued to grow as a major transportation hub with the development of steamboat traffic and the later expansion of the railroads in the 1850s. The world-famous Louisiana Purchase Exposition was held here in 1904.

Manufacturing is important to the city's economy, and its highly developed industries include automobiles, aircraft and space technology, metal fabrication, beer, steelmaking, chemicals, food processing, and storage and distribution.

The giant stainless steel Gateway Arch, 630 ft high, standing on the banks of the Mississippi, symbolizes St. Louis as the Gateway to the West.

See also Encyclopedia: St. Louis.

Selected famous natives and residents:

  • Josephine Baker singer;
  • Yogi Berra baseball player;
  • Chuck Berry singer and guitarist;
  • Grace Bumbry mezzo-soprano;
  • Morris Carnovsky actor;
  • T. S. Eliot poet;
  • Eugene Field poet;
  • Redd Foxx comedian;
  • Joe Garagiola baseball player;
  • John Goodman actor;
  • Betty Grable actress;
  • Dick Gregory comedian;
  • Al Hirschfeld cartoonist;
  • Kevin Kline actor;
  • David Merrick producer;
  • Vincent Price actor;
  • Judy Rankin golfer;
  • Leon Spinks boxer;
  • Herbert Bayard Swope journalist;
  • Sara Teasdale poet;
  • Helen Traubel soprano;
  • Roy Wilkins civil rights leader.

Profiles of the 50 Largest Cities of the United States
Profiles of the 50 Largest Cities of the United States
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