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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
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.
As of the census 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
St. Clair County
Quincy, IL is technically not located within the Metro East, but can be regionally associated due to their proximity and accessibility to Greater St. Louis.
Colleges and universities
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.
- National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows, Centreville, near Belleville; operated by the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate
- Brooks Catsup Bottle, Collinsville
- Belle Clair Fairgrounds and Expo Center, Belleville
- Cahokia Mounds, Collinsville, on Madison-St. Clair County line
- Confluence Crush Roller Derby, Belleville (at Belle Clair Fairgrounds)
- GCS Ballpark, Sauget
- Gateway International Raceway, Madison
- Eads Bridge Historic bridge, among East. Louis, on the East St. Louis, Illinois, and St. Louis, Missouri border, over the Mississippi River
- Pere Marquette State Park, Grafton
- Raging Rivers Water Park, Grafton
- The Game, Glen Carbon
- St. Clair Square Mall, Fairview Heights
- Robert Wadlow Statue, Alton
- Horseshoe Lake, Pontoon Beach, Madison, and Granite City
- Alton Square Mall, Alton
- Carlyle Lake, Carlyle
Residents, historic figures, and contributors
- Craig Virgin, American Distance Runner
- Josephine Baker, East St. Louis, performer and activist
- Jason Boyd, Edwardsville, AAA pitcher
- Jimmy Connors, East St. Louis and Belleville, world-famous tennis player
- Brian Daubach, Belleville, former MLB 1B/DH/Outfielder
- Miles Davis, East St. Louis and Alton, world-famous jazz artist
- Elizabeth Donald, Edwardsville, horror novelist
- Buddy Ebsen, Belleville, Television Actor
- Jay Farrar, Belleville, musician
- Louis Jolliet, explorer of the Mississippi River
- Jackie Joyner-Kersee East St. Louis, World-famous Olympic athlete
- Ken Kwapis Belleville, Film/Television director and producer
- Père Jacques Marquette, French discoverer
- Laurie Metcalf, Edwardsville, Film/Television actress (Rosanne, Uncle Buck, JFK)
- Yadier Molina, Caseyville, Cardinals Baseball Catcher (Resides there only during baseball season, and is originally from Puerto Rico)
- Peter Sarsgaard, Belleville/Scott AFB, Actor (Magnificent Seven, Jarhead, Green Lantern)
- Jeff Tweedy, Belleville, lead singer of the band Wilco
- Uncle Tupelo, Belleville, alternative country band
- Robert Pershing Wadlow, Alton, World's Tallest Man
- William Holden, O'Fallon, Hollywood actor
- Michael Stipe, Collinsville, lead singer of the band REM
- Senator Richard J. Durbin, East St. Louis, U.S. senator
- T. J. Mathews, Columbia, former MLB pitcher
- Neal Cotts, Lebanon, former MLB pitcher
- Lea DeLaria, Belleville, Jazz Singer, Actress, and Comedian (Orange is the New Black)
- Ray Bradbury, Belleville, Science Fiction Author
- Scott Wolf, Belleville, Actor
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.
- 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
- 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
- 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.
- In the Heat of the Night Feature-length film, shot in Belleville, IL (1968 Oscar winner for Best Picture of 1967)
- Things Are Tough All Over (uncredited) Feature-length film, shot on the East St. Louis riverfront (1982)
- King of the Hill (film) Feature-length film, shot in Alton, IL (1993)
- A Will of their Own Feature-length TV film, shot in Belleville, IL (1998)
- The Big Brass Ring Feature-length film, shot in Alton, IL (1999)
- Steel City Feature-length film, shot in Alton, East Alton, Godfrey, and Jerseyville, IL (2006)
- The Lucky Ones Feature-length film, Shot in Edwardsville, IL (2008)
- The Coverup Feature-length film, shot in Alton, IL (2008)
- Kingshighway Feature-length film, shot in Fairview Heights, IL (2010)
- Joint Body Feature-length film, shot in various locations throughout the Metro East (2011)
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.
The 2010 issue of Family Circle magazine named Edwardsville third in their "Top 10 Best Towns for Families".