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East St. Louis, Illinois
East St. Louis
East St. Louis
Location of East St. Louis in St. Clair County, Illinois
Location of East St. Louis in St. Clair County, Illinois
Location of Illinois in the United States
Location of Illinois in the United States
Country United States
State Illinois
County St. Clair
Township East St. Louis (coterminous)
Founded June 6, 1820
Incorporated February 16, 1865
 • Type Council-Manager
 • Total 14.30 sq mi (37.03 km2)
 • Land 13.92 sq mi (36.05 km2)
 • Water 0.38 sq mi (0.98 km2)
 • Total 18,469
 • Density 1,326.89/sq mi (512.33/km2)
Time zone UTC−6 (CST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−5 (CDT)
Area code(s) 618
FIPS code 17-163-22268

East St. Louis is a city in St. Clair County, Illinois, United States. It is directly across the Mississippi River from Downtown St. Louis, Missouri and the Gateway Arch National Park. It is a suburb of St. Louis. East St. Louis is in the Metro-East region of Southern Illinois. Once a bustling industrial center, like many cities in the Rust Belt, East St. Louis was severely affected by the loss of jobs due to industrial restructuring during the second half of the 20th century. In 1950, East St. Louis was the fourth-largest city in Illinois when its population peaked at 82,366. As of the 2020 census, the city had a population of 18,469, less than one-quarter of the 1950 census and a decline of almost one third since 2010.

A recent addition to the city's waterfront is the Gateway Geyser. On the grounds of Malcolm W. Martin Memorial Park, the fountain is the second-tallest in the world. Designed to complement the Gateway Arch across the river in St. Louis, it shoots water to a height of 630 feet (190 m), the same height as the arch.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1870 5,044
1880 9,185 82.1%
1890 15,169 65.1%
1900 29,734 96.0%
1910 58,540 96.9%
1920 66,785 14.1%
1930 74,397 11.4%
1940 75,603 1.6%
1950 82,366 8.9%
1960 81,728 −0.8%
1970 70,029 −14.3%
1980 55,239 −21.1%
1990 40,921 −25.9%
2000 31,542 −22.9%
2010 27,006 −14.4%
2020 18,469 −31.6%
U.S. Decennial Census

As of the census of 2000, there were 31,542 people, 11,178 households, and 7,668 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,242.9 people per square mile (866.2/km2). There were 12,899 housing units at an average density of 917.2 per square mile (354.2/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 97.74% Black or African-American, 1.23% White, 0.19% Native American, 0.08% Asian-American, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.19% from other races, and 0.55% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.73% of the population.

There were 11,178 households, out of which 33.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 21.9% were married couples living together, 40.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.4% were non-families. 27.8% of all households were made up of individuals, and 10.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.80 and the average family size was 4.02.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 32.8% under the age of 18, 9.7% from 18 to 24, 24.6% from 25 to 44, 20.3% from 45 to 64, and 12.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 31 years. For every 100 females, there were 81.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 72.5 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $21,324, and the median income for a family was $24,567. Males had a median income of $27,864 versus $21,850 for females. The per capita income for the city was $11,169. About 31.8% of families and 35.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 48.6% of those under the age of 18 and 25.2% of those ages 65 and older.


The city is served by the East St. Louis School District 189. As of 2017, the district operates an early childhood learning center, 5 elementary schools, 2 middle schools, and one high school, East St. Louis High School. Until 1998, East St. Louis Lincoln High School also served portions of the city. Before desegregation, it was the school for black students.

There is one Catholic K-8 school under the Roman Catholic Diocese of Belleville, Sister Thea Bowman Catholic School. There were previously four Catholic elementary schools: St. Joseph, St. Martin of Tours, St. Patrick, St. Philip, Holy Angels and St. Adalbert. In 1989 they consolidated at the St. Philip location as Bowman.

Starting in 1894, St. Teresa Academy was established by the Sister of the Most Precious Blood, as a high school for young women. The school closed in 1974.

In 1929 Central Catholic High School for Boys was established with the name being changed to Assumption High School in 1953. Women were welcomed to Assumption in 1974 after St. Teresa Academy closed. Later, Assumption closed in 1989.


East St. Louis has five St. Louis MetroLink stations: East Riverfront, 5th & Missouri, Emerson Park, JJK Center, and Washington Park.

Interstate 55, Interstate 64, Interstate 70, and U.S. Route 40 run through East St. Louis and are linked to St. Louis by the Poplar Street Bridge and Stan Musial Bridge. Prior to its decommissioning, the fabled U.S. Route 66 also shared a concurrency with these Interstate highways. In addition, U.S. Route 50 also shared a concurrency prior to its being rerouted to run concurrently with Interstate 255.

The closest airport is the St. Louis Downtown Airport located in nearby Cahokia, Illinois, just south of East St. Louis.

Eads Bridge panorama 20090119
The Eads Bridge from the St. Louis side of the river, looking into East St. Louis

Notable people

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