Data released by the U.S. Census Bureau on Thursday showed while Franklin County’s population has grown slightly over the past decade, it also has grown older and more diverse.
The county’s population as of April 1, 2020 — the official date of the most recent census — was 104,682, which is up from 101,492 in 2010. The federal agency tasked with the decennial counting of people living in America has not released city-specific data, though Thursday’s data release gave the public their most in-depth look at the results.
Washington Mayor Sandy Lucy said she and other city officials have been eager to see the numbers and how the city has changed since 2010, which also was when Lucy first became mayor.
“We’ll see what the numbers are, and then we’ll see what we need to go to work on next,” she said. The census will not yet include the people who the city hopes to attract to Washington with recent zoning and regulation changes made in the past few years, she said she hopes to see the fruits of those efforts in 2020.
There are communities that lose people, and you don’t want to be in that category as a city, she said. “I think a lot of growth comes from job opportunities, which Franklin County has. Perhaps people are coming out to work and decide that, ‘Hm, this is a good place to live as well.’ ”
The results announced on Thursday mirror projections made in June by Mark White, an associate professor at the University of Missouri-Columbia who specializes in studying populations and workforce development.
“The St. Louis metro region is expanding fastest toward the northeast part of the metro. Franklin County, in contrast, is growing but at a slower rate than St. Charles, Lincoln and Warren counties,” White said. He projected that Franklin County grew by about 3 percent over the past decade. The census bureau results released Thursday showed the county grew by 3.14 percent.
Age, race and ethnicity of Franklin County
The share of county residents who are 18 and older in the county grew by 6.1 percent from 2010. Those people are now 77.5 percent of the population, up from 75.3 percent. Meanwhile, the share of residents younger than 18 is now 22.5 percent of the county compared with 24.7 percent in 2010, a 6 percent drop. These are especially meaningful statistics for school officials, according to White, as a large portion of the state’s funding for public school is tied to enrollment figures.
Racially, Franklin County remains overwhelmingly white, according to the census, with 96,383 people, or 92.1 percent, identifying as white alone.
The number who identified as being of two or more races was 5,638 people, or 5.4 percent, which is a 376.6 percent increase over the 1,183 people of mixed race recorded in 2010. The percent increase is among the 10 highest in the state, along with the percent increases in neighboring Jefferson and Gasconade counties.
As the census allows people to select more than one race with which they identify, results are released for each racial group based on how many people marked only that group (alone) and how many people marked that group among other(s) (in combination).
The number of people who identify as Black or African American, either alone or in combination with other races, grew by 476 people, or 37.8 percent, from 2010. The 1,735 people in this category make up 1.7 percent of Franklin County’s population. The group of those identifying as only Black or African American grew by 50 people since 2010, to 904 people in 2020.
The number of people to identify as American Indian or Alaska Native, either exclusively or in combination with other races, grew by nearly 250 percent from 2010, with 2,102 additional people joining the category. This group of 2,943 people makes up 2.8 percent of Franklin County’s population compared with 0.8 percent in 2010. Those who identify as only American Indian or Alaska Native numbered 354, an 11.3 percent increase from 2010.
Additionally, the number of county residents who identify fully or in part as Asian grew by 105.8 percent, from 206 people in 2010 to 424 people in 2020. They make up 0.4 percent of the county.
The percentage of people with Hispanic ethnicity saw a 57.8 percent increase from 1,397 people in 2010 to 2,205 in 2020. They make up 2.1 percent of the county’s total population.
Missouri as a whole gained about 166,000 new residents, and more of its population is 18 or older than in 2010. The share of the state population younger than 18 dropped from 23.8 percent in 2010 to 22.4 percent in 2020. The share of Missourians who racially identify as only white also dropped by about 218,435 people, or about 4.4 percent. The share of the population who identify only as white was 77 percent in 2020, down from 82.8 percent in 2010.
All but 11 of the 114 counties in Missouri and the city of St. Louis reported declines in white-only population. Of the counties in decline, six reported at least 20 percent decreases. These counties are largely in the Ozarks, including Ripley County, which reported a 4,000-person population growth but a 27.2 percent decline in white population.