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2022 Population Estimates Show a Continued Trend of Loss in Southeast Missouri

Last week the U.S. census office released updated county population estimates as of July 1, 2022. While the State of Missouri as a whole and Cape Girardeau County showed estimated growth in population the overall picture for southeast Missouri is a continued decline.

The U.S. Census office will annually share updated population estimates for all 3,114 counties in the United States. In their release on March 30th the overall picture they shared was that “The migration and growth patterns for counties edged closer to pre-pandemic levels this year,” said Dr. Christine Hartley, assistant division chief for estimates and projections in the Census Bureau’s population division.

In our region of the state though, the numbers continue the trend of decline, especially in the smaller counties around Cape Girardeau. While Cape Girardeau has seen an estimated increase of 1,088 residents since the 2020 Census, the overall twenty-one county region around Cape Girardeu has projected loss of 1,683 residents. If we cross the river into southern Illinois the three closest counties have a projected loss of 899 additional residents since 2020.

For businesses and community leaders, this trend is an area that should be a top focus as we face increasing workforce shortages, shifting market demands and desires for growth, it is important to look at the bigger picture. Population growth in a few communities as the expense of our neighbors, doesn’t build a stronger region. Working together to reverse this trend and help grow southeast Missouri should be a priority for all of us in the coming months and years.