St. Louis Is in the Top 10 Metro Areas for Growth in the 'Creative Class'

Grand Center is among the St. Louis neighborhoods attracting creative workers. - FLICKR/PAUL SABLEMAN
Grand Center is among the St. Louis neighborhoods attracting creative workers.
The share of St. Louis residents working in "creative" fields has risen sharply in the last decade — earning the city a spot on a City Lab list of metro areas with the largest growth in that area from 2005 to 2017.

Overall, the St. Louis area's share of residents in the fields like tech and the arts rose 16.4 percent in that period. That's the eighth highest growth achieved by any of the nation's large metros.

City Lab defines the creative class as "knowledge workers in education, healthcare, law, arts, tech, science and business." Such workers do not necessary need to have a college degree, the authors write, although 60 percent of them do.

Salt Lake City tops the list of metro areas that are fastest growing in their share of creative residents, followed by Pittsburgh and Cincinnati:

Overall, St. Louis' growth wasn't nearly enough to put us in the top ten for creatives overall. San Jose, Washington, D.C., San Francisco and Boston come out on top of that list, with 48 percent or more of residents working in creative fields. We're still in the middle of pack overall, with less than 40 percent engaged in creative work.

Note the authors, "The low creative-class growth rates for established tech hubs like San Jose and Boston simply reflect the fact that the creative class already makes up such a large share of employment. It’s much easier for places like Pittsburgh or Las Vegas to post a faster growth rate because they started out with a much smaller share to begin with."

Still, we'll take progress wherever we can get it! Now, if we can just hang on to our top-20 metro area rating for overall population ...

We welcome tips and feedback. But please don't email the author at after today; she is leaving for a job at St. Louis Public Radio.

About The Author

Sarah Fenske

Sarah Fenske is the executive editor of Euclid Media Group, overseeing publications in eight cities. She is the former host of St. Louis on the Air and was previously editor-in-chief of the RFT and the LA Weekly. She lives in St. Louis.
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