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St. Louis Metro East
Interactive Map of St. Louis–St. Charles–
Farmington, MO–IL CSA
Country United States
State Illinois
Largest cityBelleville, IL
Other cities
142–390 m (466–1,280 ft)
 • Total681,678
Time zoneUTC−6 (CST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−5 (CDT)
Area code(s)217, 314, 447, 557, 573, 618, 636, 730

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]


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

List of cities, towns, and villages


Clinton County

Jersey County

Madison County

St. Clair County

Colleges and universities


State routes

U.S. routes

Interstate freeways

Public transit

MetroLink in Belleville Illinois

Public transit service in St. Clair County is provided by Metro Transit in partnership with the St. Clair County Transit District. Service includes local bus lines and the MetroLink light rail system. MetroLink has 11 stations in Illinois between the East St. Louis Riverfront and Scott Air Force Base. It links the suburban Metro East to St. Louis Lambert International Airport on the Red Line and Shrewsbury, Missouri on the Blue Line. Intermediate stops include downtown St. Louis, area universities and hospitals, and downtown Clayton.

In 2019, the St. Clair County Transit District was awarded $96 million in Illinois infrastructure funding to build a 5.2-mile (8.4 km) extension of the Red Line from Shiloh-Scott to MidAmerica St. Louis Airport in Mascoutah.[6] This extension will include two 2.6-mile (4.2 km) segments, a double-track and a single-track segment, along with a station at the airport.[7] Construction on the extension began in 2023 with Metro expecting to begin operations in early 2026.[8][9][10]

Additionally, Madison County Transit operates local bus service in that county with routes that serve downtown St. Louis transit centers.[11]

Major employers

Notable attractions

Residents, historic figures, and contributors

Media in the Metro East

St. Louis area TV stations

Champaign-Urbana/Decatur/Springfield area TV stations

Paducah/Cape Girardeau/Harrisburg area TV stations

Daily newspapers

Radio stations

  • 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

"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

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.[12]


The 2010 issue of Family Circle magazine named Edwardsville third in their "Top 10 Best Towns for Families".[13]

Area codes


  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. ^ Schlinkmann, Mark (June 14, 2019). "Illinois to pay for long-sought MetroLink extension to MidAmerica Airport". Archived from the original on November 2, 2021. Retrieved September 20, 2022.
  7. ^ "Trajectory for Transit in 2022 Points to Need for Continued Collaboration". January 19, 2022. Archived from the original on February 3, 2022. Retrieved February 2, 2022.
  8. ^ "When will MetroLink extension to MidAmerica Airport be complete? How much will it cost? - MidAmerica St. Louis Airport (BLV) | Mascoutah, IL". July 14, 2021. Archived from the original on September 20, 2022. Retrieved September 20, 2022.
  9. ^ Cella, Kim (November 1, 2023). "Construction Underway on MetroLink Extension Project in St. Clair County". St. Clair County Transit District. Archived from the original on November 7, 2023. Retrieved November 7, 2023.
  10. ^ "Construction underway on 5-mile MetroLink extension from Scott AFB to MidAmerica Airport". STLPR. 2023-12-28. Archived from the original on February 4, 2024. Retrieved 2024-02-05.
  11. ^ Madison County Transit Overview
  12. ^ East of the Arch: A Joe Keough Mystery: Robert J. Randisi: 9780312283988: Books
  13. ^ "10 Best Towns for Families: 2010" Archived 2017-11-21 at the Wayback Machine, Family Circle, Retrieved on 2010-08-07.

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