Lincoln County picked up a few new residents over the last year.

According to a report released by the U.S. Census Bureau last week, the county saw an increase of around 1,400 people, or about 2.4 percent, for a new total of 59,013 residents. 

Julie Rodgers, executive director of Lincoln County Economic Development, said these are only approximate numbers, not official numbers – and even though the county is small, the area is growing is all facets.

“Lincoln County continues to lead the St. Louis (metropolitan statistical area) in growth by percentage. We consistently see new home construction boom across the county,” she said. “We are also seeing small businesses decide Lincoln County is a great place to establish their business. The availability of land and the friendly regulatory environment are appealing. 

“As this occurs, the Lincoln County Economic Development Office is working closely with our municipalities and our school districts preparing smart growth strategies for that progress.”

Because most parts of the county are within 30 minutes of Interstates 70 and 64 through U.S. Highway 61, Lincoln County has become an attractive place to relocate residentially and commercially – which could lead to strong economic impact locally in the future.

“As our population grows, it will help our county attract both commercial and industrial businesses,” Rodgers said. “Commercial business is attracted to areas based on population, traffic counts and median household income – just to name a few. 

“Industrial businesses are searching for areas that can provide a ready and skilled workforce.”

Lincoln County is part of a trend which is witnessing a shrinking population in the urban core of the metro area. St. Louis City has seen its population drop nearly 3,000 from 2018 - and a 6 percent decrease since 2010, and St. Louis County has seen a 0.1 percent decrease in the same period. 

Meanwhile, the suburbs have seen an increase in population during the same period. St. Charles, Jefferson, Warren and Franklin have all shared Lincoln’s population boom in the last year, and while Rodgers can’t speak for the other counties, she can say what makes Lincoln an attractive place to relocate to.

“Lincoln County features quality-of-life attributes. Strong elementary and secondary schools – both public and private – coupled with job opportunities, spark our growth,” she said. “Combine that with affordable housing and abundance of land, that’s what makes Lincoln County an attractive place to live and work. 

“As more people can work remotely, these features influence people’s choices of where they can choose to live.

The economic development office is planning to use to population boom to aggressively pursue plans to expand public infrastructure, including broadband. Rodgers said the office plans to take advantage of the increase to build an even stronger economic base for Lincoln County.

“Because of the high demand for a skilled workforce, our office is also concentrating on expanding access to post-secondary education opportunities locally,” she said.