Monroe County remains rare Illinois bright spot in population growth

By Bob Pieper For Chronicle Media

The Monroe County Courthouse in Waterloo. Monroe is bucking the statewide trend over the past several years by showing population growth.
(Photo courtesy of Waterloo Chamber of Commerce)

Monroe County continues to be among the few counties in Illinois experiencing population growth, according to American Community Survey results, released Sept. 26 by the U.S. Census Bureau. Median income in the continues to be above the norm for Illinois, according the survey, while the county’s poverty rate remains relatively low.

Madison and St. Clair counties, meanwhile, continue to fall below state averages in many categories of data tracked by the census bureau.

The population of Monroe County stood at an estimated 34,335 last year — up 4.2 percent from 32,951 in 2010.

Madison County — Metro East’s largest — saw its population decrease to 269,334 in 2018; down 1.8 percent from the 269,334 estimated at the beginning of this decade.

The population of St. Clair County — formerly Metro East’s largest — stood at 261,059 last year.  That is down 3.3 percent from 270,062 in 2010.

Statewide, the population of  Illinois decreased to 12,741,080 last year, down 0.7 percent from 12,831,572 in 2010, the bureau estimates.

The median household income in Monroe County was $74,410 last year – with a mean per-capita income of $37,043, according to the Census Bureau estimates.

In Madison County, the median household income was $56,536 – with a median per-capita income of  $30,278.

Median household income in St. Clair County was $51,103 – with a median per-capita income of $28,643.

Median household income across Illinois last year stood at $62,992.

An estimated 4.9 percent of Monroe County residents, about 1 in 20, had income at or below the federal poverty level last year, according to the census bureau.

In Madison County, 14.4 percent of Madison County of the population, about 1 in 7, fell below the poverty level.

In St. Clair County, about one in six county residents (16 percent) was living at or below the poverty level.

The Illinois statewide poverty rate was 12.6 percent last year. That translates to about one in every eight residents.

Nevertheless, the Census Bureau estimates indicated Metro East residents are a little more likely than Illinoisans as a whole to be gainfully employed.

Some 68.4 percent of Monroe County’s population, age and older, are employed in the civilian sector — including 65 percent of women in the county.

Just under two thirds of all Madison County residents (63.4 percentage 16 or older are considered part of civilian labor force, total — including 59 percent of the female population in that age bracket.

Sixty-one percent of St. Clair County residents, age 16 or older, are part of the civilian labor force —included 58.1 percent of the female population.

The Illinois statewide employment rate is 60.8 percent.

Below are summaries of other American Community Survey data for Metro East Counties

SUBHED: Madison County

In Madison County, children under 5 years of age make up 5.7 percent of the county’s population.  Persons under 18 years comprise 21.8  percent.  Those 65 years and over represent 17.2 percent.  Women comprise 51.3 percent.

Whites comprise 87.7 percent of the Madison County population.  African Americans represent 8.8 present. That includes Caucasians (84.8 percent) and Hispanics or Latinos (3.4 percent).

Native Americans and Alaska Natives make up 0.3 percent of the population.  Asians comprised 1 percent. Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders represent 0.1 percent.  Mixed race individuals (two or more races) represent 2.1 percent.

The county has 21,427 veterans. Foreign-born persons represent 2.3 percent of the population.

The county has some 119,630 housing units. The majority, 70.6 percent, is owner-occupied.

The median value of an owner-occupied home in Madison County is $130,200.

The median cost of home ownership for those with a mortgage is $1,222. For those without a mortgage; $483. Median rent in the county is $796.

Only 3.3 percent of Madison County residents, over the age of five, speak a language other than English at home

Some 86 percent of Madison County households have a computer; with  79.1 percent having broadband Internet subscriptions.

Some 92.3 percent of Madison County residents, age 25 years or older, have a high school diploma. More than a quarter (26.2 percent) hold a bachelor’s degree or more advanced degree.

Just under a tenth (9.1 percent) of Madison County residents under age 65 years have a disability.

About 4.9 percent, under age 65, are without health insurance.

Madison County had 107,241 households last year, with an average of 2.43 persons in each, according to the estimates.

About one in seven Madison County residents moved last year. An estimated 86.3 percent, over the age of one, lived in the same residence, last year, that they lived in a year earlier.

The average Madison County resident spends 24.8 minutes getting to work.

SUBHED: Monroe County

The Census Bureau estimates that 5.6 percent of the Monroe County is under 5 years of age;  22.1 percent is under age 18; and 17.8 percent is 65 or older. Women make up 50.3 percent of the county population.

Whites represent 97.7 percent of county residents; with African Americans, 0.4 percent; American Indians and Alaska Natives 0.2 percent; Asian, 0.7 percent; and people of mixed race, 1 percent. Hispanics represent 1.5 percentage points of the Caucasian population. The percentage of Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders in the county population is too small to measure, according to the Census Bureau.

Monroe County has 2,191 veterans.  Foreign-born persons represent 1.4 percent of the county.

The median value of owner-occupied home in Monroe County is $195,500. The median monthly costs of owning a home, with a mortgage, in the county is $1,588.  For a home without a mortgage, $572.

Median gross rent in the county is $827.

About 11 percent of the county moved last year.

Only 2.8 percent speak a language other than English spoken at home.

Some 87.7 percent of Madison County households have a computer and some 80.2 percent have a broadband Internet subscription.

The vast majority (95.2 of Madison County residents, over age 25, are high school graduates. Almost a third (30.6 percent) of that age bracket have at least a bachelor’s level college degree.

Persons, under age 65 years, with a disability comprise 6.3 percent of the county’s population.

Only 3.7 percent of those under retirement age are without health insurance, according to the Census Bureau.

Some 68.4 percent of the county’s over-16 population are employed in the civilian sector – including   65 percent of the county’s female population.

Monroe County residents generally have a compute time of 28.4 minutes.


SUBHED: St. Clair County

The Census Bureau estimates that 6.3 percent of the St. Clair County population is under five years of age; 23.4 percent is under the age of 18 years, and 15.8 percent  are age 65 years or older. Women represent 51.8 percent of the county’s population.

Whites comprise 64.9 percent of the county; with African Americans, 30.6 percent; Hispanic; 4.2 percent; American Indian and Alaska Natives, 0.4 percent; Asians, 1.5 percent; Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders; 0.1 percent;  and mixed-race individuals, 2.5 percent.

White alone, not Hispanic or Latino, is at 61.5 percent.

The county has 26,000 veterans.  About 2.8 percent of county residents were foreign born.

The county has 120,596 housing units — 65.1 percent of which are owner-occupied.

The median value of an owner-occupied housing units in the county is $122,600.  The median monthly cost of ownership for a house with a mortgage in St. Clair County is $1,326 — without a mortgage, $475.

Median gross rent in the county is $824

About 12 percent of county residents moved last year.

Five percent of residents speak a language other than English at home.

Four out of five households (80.4 percent) have a computer. A little over two-thirds  (69.8 percent) have a broadband Internet subscription.

Some 90.7 percent of St. Clair County residents, over the age of 25, have at least a high school diploma. Just over a quarter of people (26.6 percent) in that age bracket have at least a bachelor’s degree from a college or university.

About 9.1 percent of the county’s under-65 population is disabled.

The government estimates 6.2 percent of those below retirement age in the county is without health insurance.

St. Clair Countians, on average, spend 24.9 minutes getting to work.

The Census Bureau’s American Community Survey is considered the premier source for detailed population and housing information in the U.S.  Details of the survey are available through the bureau’s online data page (