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


Is it really so great?
  • 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.