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The 10 Richest Neighborhoods in St. Louis

Gateway Arch National Park, Missouri

Figuring out which neighborhoods are the richest can be difficult for the general public. Sometimes, there are authoritative sources containing relevant statistics such as the average household income. Other times, interested individuals have to make do with less relevant statistics offering less perfect insight into the matter.

For instance, Investopedia points out that the cost of living reveals how expensive it is to live in a place. That is far from perfect. Still, it seems reasonable to speculate that the average individual living in a neighborhood with a much higher cost of living than the city as a whole has a much higher income than the average individual living in the city as a whole.

As such, a very rough way to estimate which St. Louis, MO neighborhoods are the richest would be checking out their cost of living index using Areavibes and similar sources.

Here is the list of the 10 richest neighborhoods in St. Louis based on their cost of living index:

10. Soulard - 95 vs. 85

Soulard is named after two historic individuals. First, Mound City On the Mississippi says Antoine Soulard was a Frenchman who fled his homeland because of the French Revolution. Subsequently, he settled in St. Louis, which was Spanish-controlled but French-settled because of the Seven Years' War. There, Soulard did quite well for himself, as shown by how he served as the second surveyor-general of Upper Louisiana.

Second, Soulard's wife was a rich merchant's daughter named Marie Julia Cérre Soulard. She gave land to St. Louis on two separate occasions. The second time, she did so on the condition that the land continued to host its public marketplace. Soulard Farmers' Market traces its roots to that gift, which is a bit more important than it sounds on initial consideration. After all, its age makes it the oldest U.S. public marketplace still in operation west of the Mississippi.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, St. Louis lists Soulard as one of its 18 historic districts. The neighborhood's cost of living isn't a huge jump compared to that of the city as a whole. Still, an 11 percent difference is quite sizable.

9. McKinley Heights - 96 vs. 85

McKinley Heights is yet another of St. Louis' historic districts. Some of its buildings date to colonial times. However, most date from the second half of the 19th century to the first half of the 20th century, which is why the neighborhood is filled with similar-looking, two-story brick buildings.

Originally, McKinley Heights was a working-class neighborhood home to German, Serbian, and then Russian immigrants. Nowadays, it seems it caters to a different segment of the population.

8. Shaw - 97 vs. 85

Shaw is named for Henry Shaw. He was a successful businessman. However, it seems safe to say that business wasn't his true passion. That is because Shaw retired at the age of 40, thus freeing him up to indulge his interest in botany. The Missouri Botanical Gardens exist because of his interest. We know this because he planned, funded, and built the garden that would become the institution. Indeed, Shaw was even the one who opened it to the public when it had grown enough. Other than this, the man also gave St. Louis a park, a school, and a hospital.

In any case, Shaw was also involved in the establishment of the neighborhood that bears his name. Specifically, he and a woman named Mary Taylor owned the land in the mid-19th century. As a result, the two formed a partnership to develop the land for residential purposes while avoiding the construction of any factories or other nuisances. Still, most of the neighborhood came to be sometime between the late 19th century and the early 20th century. Moreover, it has featured a mix of single-family and multi-family housing for a very long time.

7. Lafayette Square - 97 vs. 85

Lafayette Square isn't an uncommon name in the United States. Chances are good interested individuals can guess that the name of this neighborhood refers to the Marquis de la Fayette, a French nobleman who lived a very exciting life. Americans tend to know him best because of his involvement in the American Revolution for very understandable reasons.

However, the Marquis de la Fayette lived long enough to see the First French monarchy, refuse to become involved in Napoleon's government, and see the Second French Revolution. Moreover, he was a respected figure in both France and the United States, which was particularly remarkable considering the sheer political turmoil in his homeland throughout much of his life.

Of course, the land where Lafayette Square now exists was already in use before the Marquis de la Fayette toured the United States in 1824 and 1825. Reputedly, it was a common pasture when St. Louis was still a French village. Later, robber bands settled in the region, which convinced the local authorities to start selling pieces of the land to interested individuals. Development didn't proceed 100 percent smoothly.

Still, it is interesting to note that most of the homes in Lafayette Square went up after the American Civil War but before the 20th century. Based on that, it seems safe to say that a lot of people were quite eager to live in the neighborhood, particularly since these homes were built with an emphasis on their gorgeous looks rather than their affordability.

6. Kings Oak - 98 vs. 85

Given the name, one might be tempted to guess that Kings Oak took its name from either a truly spectacular example of an oak or at least a historically significant example of an oak. Unfortunately, neither is the case because Kings Oak isn't named for an actual tree at all.

Instead, the neighborhood got its name because its eastern border is Kingshighway Boulevard and its northern border is Oakland Avenue. Kings Oak doesn't have the biggest population. That can be seen in how its population is measured in the low hundreds, which is notable because even Wydown-Skinker has a population measured in the mid-hundreds.

Primarily, that is because Kings Oak is quite small. On top of that, it is home to a high school plus a science center, so it lacks room for much residential space.

5. Saint Louis Hills - 99 vs. 85

Saint Louis Hills is one of the newer neighborhoods on this list. That is because it remained undeveloped until the 1930s to 1950s. The plan for Saint Louis Hills was spearheaded by Cyrus Crane Willmore, who envisioned residential spaces mixed with amenities while surrounded by businesses on three sides.

4. Skinker Debaliviere - 105 vs. 85

Residents of Skinker Debaliviere have convenient access to a wide range of attractions. For example, Forest Park lies to its south, which is notable because Forest Park is one of St. Louis' most important attractions. Once upon a time, it hosted both the Summer Olympics and the St. Louis World's Fair in 1904.

Furthermore, Forest Park is home to a zoo, an art museum, a history museum, and a science center. On top of these things, its environments have received a great deal of restoration work in recent decades, thus resulting in a much wider range of species calling it home.

Besides this, Skinker Debaliviere is also home to a part of the Delmar Loop, which is supposed to be one of the best destinations for entertainment in the region and beyond. Indeed, Midwest Living claims it is the place to visit if people have to choose just one from St. Louis.

As a rule, people like amenities. Due to that, it seems safe to say that is why one reason why people are willing to pay the higher prices for Skinker Debaliviere. Curiously, the neighborhood stands out in one other respect. It is diverse in both a racial sense and a socioeconomic sense. Moreover, it is a rare example of a place that has remained so over time.

3. Central West End - 106 vs. 85

Speaking of which, Central West End isn't that far away from Skinker Debaliviere. It is situated to the east of Forest Park, whereas Skinker Debaliviere is situated to the north of the same. With that said, Central West End has more claims to fame than that.

For example, it was where Tennessee Williams grew up, which matters because he was one of the greatest U.S. playwrights of the 20th century. Even now, plenty of people will recognize him because of A Streetcar Named Desire. Another example would be how Central West End is home to St. Louis' Cathedral Basilica. The church is known for several things. One of the most notable would be its huge collection of mosaics, which is the biggest in the United States.

Central West End is the most populated of the neighborhoods on this list. Its population has five figures. The runner-up would be Saint Louis Hills, which has a population that is a bit bigger than 8,000. Despite this, Central West End seems to be high in demand. That is because its cost of living index is 106 vs. 85, meaning it is almost a quarter more expensive than the city as a whole.

2. Compton Heights - 107 vs. 85

Compton Heights is far from being the most populous neighborhood in St. Louis. That should come as no surprise to anyone who has heard about the guiding principles behind its creation, which make it very clear that accommodating a large population of people wasn't the biggest priority for this part of the city.

In short, the people behind the development saw nature as a desirable neighbor rather than something wild in need of taming. That doesn't sound particularly unusual nowadays, but that was a much more unusual position for people to take back in the late 19th century.

Moreover, the same people also used curving streets and wide setbacks to create pleasant-looking scenes, which were great for the general livability of the place but not so much for its ability to accommodate people. By this point, interested individuals can guess that Compton Heights was meant for the well-off. Something that remains true in the present time.

At the turn of the century, Compton Heights was already well-established. Even so, it saw a surge in home-building in subsequent years, not least because of the St. Louis World's Fair boosting demand in the area. Some of the city's richest and most renowned families settled in the neighborhood during this period. A number of them are still around, though others have moved out to be replaced by more of the city's most well-off.

1. Wydown/Skinker - 125 vs. 85

Wydown/Skinker isn't the least populated neighborhood on the list. That would be Kings Oak. Still, Wydown/Skinker isn't that much more populated than Kings Oak, seeing as how its population fails to break three digits. Regardless, NextSTL says it is one of St. Louis' most beautiful neighborhoods.

There are large homes built in the early 20th century, which are situated just a short distance away from some of the city's most popular amenities. After all, Wydown/Skinker is the narrow strip of land situated to the immediate west of Forest Park, so it is one more neighborhood with excellent access to the latter's facilities.

The neighborhood is also situated next to Washington University plus Clayton, MO, which has the double distinction of being the St. Louis County seat and one of the most popular suburbs in the metropolitan area. Wydown/Skinker itself also has plenty of shops, restaurants, and other businesses to meet the needs of residents, thus making up one more point in its favor.

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Allen Lee

Written by Allen Lee

Allen Lee is a Toronto-based freelance writer who studied business in school but has since turned to other pursuits. He spends more time than is perhaps wise with his eyes fixed on a screen either reading history books, keeping up with international news, or playing the latest releases on the Steam platform, which serve as the subject matter for much of his writing output. Currently, Lee is practicing the smidgen of Chinese that he picked up while visiting the Chinese mainland in hopes of someday being able to read certain historical texts in their original language.

Read more posts by Allen Lee

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