St. Charles County remains the fastest growing county in the St. Louis region, according to U.S. census data released Thursday.

New numbers from the 2014 American Community Survey show that the population of St. Charles County has grown by about 5 percent since 2010, from an estimated 361,602 to an estimated 379,493.

Demographics analyst and Saint Louis University professor Ness Sandoval points to the county’s relatively low cost of living as the cause of the growth.

Dancers perform at the Our Lady of Guadalupe celebration at Holy Trinity Parish on Sunday, Dec. 14, 2014.
Camille Phillips | St.Louis Public Radio

At Holy Trinity Catholic Parish in St. Ann, the feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe is cause for major celebration. The north St. Louis County church honored the patron saint of Mexico last month with a special mass attended by more than 300 people, many of them Hispanic.

When the church bell struck noon, the parishioners processed around the church with an icon of the patron saint, singing songs in Spanish, led by a mariachi band. Inside the sanctuary, dancers in red moved to the beat of a drum, and the priest gave a blessing to the children.

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In “Countdown: Our Last, Best Hope for a Future on Earth,” author Alan Weisman explored what it would take to bring the world’s population down to a sustainable level. The book is a sequel of sorts to Weisman’s bestselling “The World Without Us.”

The idea of “The World Without Us,” said Weisman, was to see how nature could recover from the effects of climate change without humans around to get in the way. But his hope in writing the book was to inspire the discovery of a way to add humans back into the equation.

(Credit: Sxc.hu Haap Media Ltd)

The population trends in the St. Louis metropolitan area continued in 2013, according to numbers released today by the U.S. Census Bureau.

The census estimates the city of St. Louis had 696 fewer people in July of 2013 than at the same time the previous year, 0.22 percent drop. At the same time surrounding counties in Missouri added population.

Saint Louis University sociology professor Onésimo Sandoval studies demography and said the numbers didn't surprise him. The structure of cities across the U.S. is changing, Sandoval said.

View Mean Center of U.S. Population 2010 in a larger map

It's official: The new center of the U.S. population is in Missouri, about 2.7 miles northeast of the village of Plato (see above for location).

The Census Bureau said Thursday that steady migration to the Sun Belt had pushed the site roughly 30 miles southwest of the previous location near Edgar Springs, Mo.

It is the fourth Missouri town to hold the distinction. Plato, located in Texas County, had a 2010 population of 109 people.

Illinois - 2010 U.S. Census Population Data


The U.S. Census Bureau released Illinois population and demographic data today.

Why is this important? Among other reasons, the data can be used to re-draw federal, state and local legislative districts.