Efforts have been made to curb the population decline in the city of St. Louis for many years. It’s been a losing battle although some progress has been made. If it hadn’t been for the slight progress, the decline would be even greater.

The Associated Press reported that the city of St. Louis had fewer residents last July than a year earlier. The decline was 696 residents, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The population now stands at just over 318,000.

Of course, if you add St. Louis County’s approximately 1 million residents, you see a different picture. However, even St. Louis County has been at a standstill in population growth. Where, where are the people going? The most popular spot is St. Charles County, which added about 5,000 people during the period from July 2012 to July 2013.

The population shift to the west can be attributed to a great extent to Interstate 70, which runs through St. Charles County.

What can be done to stop the gradual flow of residents out of St. Louis city? Just about every strategy has been tried — largely to no avail. The city must be attractive to families. It isn’t now for many reasons. Crime, problem schools, the decline of retail shopping opportunities, and the overall environment are tough problems to overcome. The only things that have saved the city from further overall decline are the sports and tourism attractions.

Efforts must continue to turn the population decline around. The leadership in this effort must not become discouraged.