Metro East

Coordinates: 38°40′N 90°0′W / 38.667°N 90.000°W / 38.667; -90.000
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Metro East
Map of Illinois highlighting Metro East
Map of Illinois highlighting Metro East
Country United States
State Illinois
 • Metro
719,920 (2,020)

The Metro East is an urban area in Southern Illinois, United States that contains the eastern and northern suburbs and exurbs of St. Louis, Missouri. It encompasses five counties in the Greater St. Louis area and constitutes the second-most populous urban area in Illinois. The region's most populated city is Belleville, with 42,404 residents.[1]


MetroLink in Belleville Illinois
City Hall of Granite City
O'Fallon Public Library

The Metro East is a loose collection of small and mid-sized cities sitting along the American Bottom and the bluffs of the Mississippi River. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the five counties of the region have a total area of 6,974 km2 (2,692 mi2). 6,787 km2 (2,620 mi2) of it is land and 186 km2 (71 mi2) of it (2.74%) is water.

As of the 2020 census, the most populated cities in the region included the following[2]

Principal cities

City populations[3]

  • 42,404
  • 32,289
  • 27,549
  • 26,808
  • 25,676
  • 24,366


As of the 2010 census, there had been a major shift in population from the older rust belt industrial cities in the Mississippi River bottom, such as East St. Louis and Alton, to the more suburban satellite cities, such as, Belleville, Edwardsville, and O'Fallon sitting on the bluffs. This is mainly due to continued white flight.[4]

As of the census[5] of 2000, there were 599,845 people, 229,888 households, and 160,260 families residing in the five Metro East counties.

The most common language is English, although various other languages are spoken. German speakers exist in southeastern Madison, and Clinton, and southern and eastern St. Clair Counties. Spanish is spoken in the Fairmont City area, and in parts of Clinton County. The largest concentration of African-Americans is in Madison, Venice, western Granite City, East St. Louis, Washington Park, Belleville, Cahokia, Alorton and Alton.

List of counties[edit]

List of cities, towns, and villages[edit]


  • ^ means part of city in another county/counties
  • Bold indicates county seat

Clinton County[edit]

Jersey County[edit]

Madison County[edit]

St. Clair County[edit]

Colleges and universities[edit]


State routes[edit]

U.S. routes[edit]

Interstate freeways[edit]

Bus transit[edit]

Light rail[edit]

The Metro East is connected with Missouri by the Metro Link light rail train. The Metrolink includes 11 stations on the Illinois side of St Louis, from the East St. Louis Riverfront, through Belleville Illinois, and ending at Scott Air Force Base. It links the Metro East to downtown St. Louis, area universities, downtown Clayton, and the major commercial airport, Lambert St. Louis International.

St. Clair County (East St. Louis, Washington Park, Fairview Heights, Swansea, O'Fallon, Cahokia, Belleville, Shiloh, and Scott AFB) shares public transit with the St. Louis metropolitan area, including bus and rail. Madison County has a public transit system that includes bus services and bikeways converted as part of a Rail to Trail conversion.[6]

Major employers[edit]

Notable attractions[edit]

Residents, historic figures, and contributors[edit]

Media in the Metro East[edit]

St. Louis area TV stations[edit]

  • Note: This list is for the entire Metro East area; however, the low-powered stations may not reach the entire five-county Metro East area. WSIU, despite not being based from the St. Louis DMA, is available in Clinton, Washington, and most of St. Clair.

Champaign-Urbana/Decatur/Springfield area TV stations[edit]

  • Note: This list is for Jersey County; however, the majority of these stations are not available for most Jersey County residents. These stations are more likely to be available in Greene and Macoupin counties, which border Jersey County.

Paducah/Cape Girardeau/Harrisburg area TV stations[edit]

  • Note: This list is for St. Clair, and Clinton counties; however, the majority of the stations, with the exception of WSIU and WPXS and possibly KFVS, are not available for a majority of the St. Clair, and/or Clinton County residents. These stations are more likely to be available in Washington County and the Centralia area.

Daily newspapers[edit]

Radio stations[edit]

  • Note: stations listed are licensed and have offices in Metro East counties only. Stations that can be heard in the Metro East but not listed have offices outside the Metro East counties.
  • WSIE 88.7 FM (Edwardsville), jazz/public radio
  • WLCA 89.9 FM (Godfrey), alternative/college radio
  • WRXX 95.3 FM (Centralia), pop
  • KXBS 95.5 FM (Bethalto), hip-hop
  • WDLJ 97.5 FM (Carlyle), classic rock
  • KATZ-FM 100.3 FM (Alton), urban
  • WJAF 103.7 FM (Centralia)
  • WNSV 104.7 FM (Nashville), Hot AC
  • WAOX 105.3 FM (Staunton), Hot AC
  • WSMI 106.1 FM (Litchfield). country
  • WILY 1210 AM (Centralia), oldies
  • WJBM 1480 AM (Jerseyville), talk
  • KFTK 1490 AM (East St. Louis), talk
  • WQQW 1510 AM (Highland, Belleville), classic hits
  • WBGZ 1570 AM (Alton), news/talk
  • WSDZ 1260 AM (Belleville), urban gospel

See also: Radio stations in Illinois

The Metro East in film[edit]

  • Note, the following is a partial list of films shot, often partially, sometimes with significant production, within the Metro East. All data can be rechecked via the Internet Movie Database.

"Uncredited" means a Metro East location was not credited within the database, but was clearly shot on Metro East soil upon watching the film itself.

Metro East in fiction[edit]

Laurell K. Hamilton has used the Metro East as a setting in several books from the Anita Blake and Merry Gentry series. In the Merry Gentry series, fairies of the Unseelie Court have made their home in Monk's Mound.

Robert J. Randisi set one of his Joe Keough mysteries, East of the Arch (2002), in the Metro East communities of East St. Louis and Fairview Heights.[7]


The 2010 issue of Family Circle magazine named Edwardsville third in their "Top 10 Best Towns for Families".[8]

Area codes[edit]


  1. ^ "U.S. Census Bureau QuickFacts: Belleville city, Illinois". Retrieved 2024-02-17.
  2. ^ Staff (2012). "Main". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 27 May 2012.
  3. ^ 2010census
  4. ^ DOUG MOORE; JEREMY KOHLER; NICHOLAS J.C. PISTOR (20 February 2011). "Metro East growing more diverse, census data show". STL Today. Retrieved 27 May 2012.
  5. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  6. ^ Madison County Transit Overview
  7. ^ East of the Arch: A Joe Keough Mystery: Robert J. Randisi: 9780312283988: Books
  8. ^ "10 Best Towns for Families: 2010" Archived 2017-11-21 at the Wayback Machine, Family Circle, Retrieved on 2010-08-07.

External links[edit]

38°40′N 90°0′W / 38.667°N 90.000°W / 38.667; -90.000