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Metro East is a region in southern Illinois that contains eastern and northern suburbs and exurbs of St. Louis, Missouri, United States. It encompasses five Southern Illinois counties (and parts of three others) in the St. Louis Metropolitan Statistical Area. The region's most populated city is Belleville, with 45,000 residents. The Metro East is the second largest urban area in Illinois after the Chicago metropolitan area and, as of the 2000 census, the population of the Metro East statistical area was 599,845 residents, a figure that had risen to above 700,000 in 2010. The significant growth in the Metro East is mainly due to people in smaller outlying towns in Illinois moving to the area for better economic/job opportunities.
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
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.
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. Secondary languages tend to be cultural or reminiscent of ancestry, and not related to the general business of the area.
List of counties
List of cities, towns, and villages
- ^ means part of city in another county/counties
- Bold indicates county seat
St. Clair County
Colleges and universities
- Kaskaskia College
- Lewis and Clark Community College
- Lindenwood University-Belleville
- McKendree University
- The Principia
- Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
- Southwestern Illinois College
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.
- Charter Communications
- Illinois Department of Transportation
- Korte Construction
- National Steel
- Norrenberns Trucking
- Olin Corporation
- Scott Air Force Base
- Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
- U.S. Steel
- Wood River Refinery
- National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows, Centreville, near Belleville; operated by the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate
- Brooks Catsup Bottle, Collinsville
- Belle Clair Fairgrounds and Expo Center, Belleville
- Cahokia Mounds, Collinsville, on Madison-St. Clair County line
- Confluence Crush Roller Derby, Belleville (at Belle Clair Fairgrounds)
- GCS Ballpark, Sauget
- Gateway International Raceway, Madison
- Eads Bridge, historic bridge, among East. Louis, on the East St. Louis, Illinois, and St. Louis, Missouri border, over the Mississippi River
- Pere Marquette State Park, Grafton
- Raging Rivers Water Park, Grafton
- The Game, Glen Carbon
- St. Clair Square Mall, Fairview Heights
- Robert Wadlow Statue, Alton
- Horseshoe Lake, Pontoon Beach, Madison, and Granite City
- Alton Square Mall, Alton
- Carlyle Lake, Carlyle
- National Building Arts Center, Sauget
Residents, historic figures, and contributors
- Josephine Baker, East St. Louis, performer and activist
- Jason Boyd, Edwardsville, AAA pitcher
- Ray Bradbury, Belleville, science fiction author
- Jimmy Connors, East St. Louis and Belleville, tennis player
- Neal Cotts, Lebanon, former MLB pitcher
- Brian Daubach, Belleville, former MLB 1B/DH/outfielder
- Miles Davis, East St. Louis and Alton, jazz artist
- Lea DeLaria, Belleville, jazz singer, actress, and comedian (Orange is the New Black)
- Elizabeth Donald, Edwardsville, horror novelist
- Dick Durbin, East St. Louis, U.S. senator
- Buddy Ebsen, Belleville, television actor
- Jay Farrar, Belleville, musician
- William Holden, O'Fallon, film actor
- Louis Jolliet, explorer of the Mississippi River
- Jackie Joyner-Kersee, East St. Louis, Olympic athlete
- Ken Kwapis, Belleville, film and television director and producer
- Père Jacques Marquette, French discoverer
- T. J. Mathews, Columbia, former MLB pitcher
- Laurie Metcalf, Edwardsville, film and television actress (Rosanne, Uncle Buck, JFK)
- Yadier Molina, Caseyville, Cardinals Baseball catcher (resides there only during baseball season, and is originally from Puerto Rico)
- Jake Odorizzi, Highland, MLB Pitcher
- Van Allen Plexico, Smithton, author and professor
- Peter Sarsgaard, Belleville/Scott AFB, actor (Magnificent Seven, Jarhead, Green Lantern)
- John Shimkus, Collinsville, Congressman from Illinois's 15th congressional district (1997–2021)
- Michael Stipe, Collinsville, lead singer of the band REM
- Jeff Tweedy, Belleville, lead singer of the band Wilco
- Uncle Tupelo, Belleville, alternative country band
- Craig Virgin, distance runner
- Robert Pershing Wadlow, Alton, world's tallest man
- Scott Wolf, Belleville, actor
Media in the Metro East
St. Louis area TV stations
- 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
- 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
- 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.
- Note: daily newspaper coverage depends on county.
- Alton Telegraph (Madison, Jersey counties)
- Belleville News-Democrat (region-wide)
- Centralia Sentinel (Clinton and Washington counties)
- Southern Illinoisan (mainly in Washington County, rarely found elsewhere in the Metro East)
- St. Louis Post-Dispatch (region-wide)
- Edwardsville Intelligencer (Madison County)
- 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.
See also: Radio stations in Illinois
The Metro East in film
- 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.
- In the Heat of the Night - feature-length film, shot in Belleville, Illinois (1968 Oscar winner for Best Picture of 1967)
- Things Are Tough All Over (uncredited) - feature-length film, shot on the East St. Louis riverfront (1982)
- King of the Hill - feature-length film, shot in Alton, Illinois (1993)
- A Will of their Own - feature-length TV film, shot in Belleville, Illinois (1998)
- The Big Brass Ring - feature-length film, shot in Alton, Illinois (1999)
- Steel City - feature-length film, shot in Alton, East Alton, Godfrey, and Jerseyville, Illinois (2006)
- The Lucky Ones - feature-length film, Shot in Edwardsville, Illinois (2008)
- The Coverup - feature-length film, shot in Alton, Illinois (2008)
- Kingshighway - feature-length film, shot in Fairview Heights, Illinois (2010)
- Joint Body - feature-length film, shot in various locations throughout the Metro East (2011)
Metro East in fiction
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.
- Area code 217: extreme northeast part of Metro East
- Area code 618: the majority of the Metro East is in this area code.
- Staff (2012). "Main". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 27 May 2012.
- 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.
- "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- Madison County Transit Overview
- East of the Arch: A Joe Keough Mystery: Robert J. Randisi: 9780312283988: Amazon.com: Books
- "10 Best Towns for Families: 2010" Archived 2017-11-21 at the Wayback Machine, Family Circle, Retrieved on 2010-08-07.