Metro East

Metro East
Region of Illinois

Granite City

Country  United States
State  Illinois
  Metro 702,579

Metro East is a region in Illinois that comprises the eastern suburbs of St. Louis, Missouri, United States (US). 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 is 599,845 residents, a figure that has risen 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.

MetroLink in Belleville Illinois


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 2010 census, the most populated cities in the region include[1]

Principal cities

City populations[2]

  • 44,478
  • 29,849
  • 28,281
  • 27,865
  • 27,006
  • 26,016
  • 24,293


As of the 2010 census, there has 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.[3]

As of the census[4] 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, and Alton. Secondary languages tend to be cultural or reminiscent of ancestry, and not related to the general business of the area.

Map of Illinois highlighting Metro-East.

List of counties

List of cities, towns, and villages


  • ^ means part of city in another county(ies)
  • Bold indicates County Seat

Clinton County

Jersey County

Madison County

St. Clair County

Colleges and universities


State routes

U.S. routes

Interstate freeways

Light rail

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 MO, 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) share 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.[5]

Major employers

Tourist attractions

Residents, historic figures, and contributors

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 5-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.

Daily newspapers

Radio stations

  • 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
  • WFUN 95.5 FM (Bethalto), hip-hop
  • WDLJ 97.5 FM (Carlyle), classic rock
  • KMJM-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
  • WESL 1490 AM (East St. Louis), urban
  • WQQW 1510 AM (Highland, Belleville)
  • WBGZ 1570 AM (Alton), news/talk

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.

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.[6]


The 2010 issue of Family Circle magazine named Edwardsville third in their "Top 10 Best Towns for Families".[7]

Area codes


  1. Staff (2012). "Main". U.S. Census Bureau | American FactFinder. American FactFinder. Retrieved 27 May 2012.
  2. 2010census
  3. 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.
  4. "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  5. Madison County Transit Overview
  6. East of the Arch: A Joe Keough Mystery: Robert J. Randisi: 9780312283988: Books
  7. "10 Best Towns for Families: 2010", Family Circle, Retrieved on 2010-08-07.

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