St. Louis, Missouri is the Gateway City, known for none other than its enormous gate. Despite its impressive views and striking skyline, the city has a number of serious problems that may drive away even the most eager of prospective residents. We have listed 17 of them below.
1. Summers are Hot
St. Louis summers are miserable. They’re hot, muggy, and buggy, and there isn’t much that anyone can do about it. Because of the humidity, just standing outside can sometimes feel similar to boiling alive. Moving to St. Louis is not that different from begging nature to show you how lobsters feel while being cooked alive.
All of this makes air conditioning a must-have in every St. Louis home, and one of those dinky little swamp coolers won’t cut it. If you plan on living in St. Loius, you need to invest in a cooling unit or risk experiencing heat stroke in your own home. Dehumidifiers also help.
And because of the humidity, the darkness of night rarely offers much solace to the city’s burning residents. Because high water content increases the amount of energy needed to change the temperature of the air, it’s often warm all night long during the hottest months of the year, which means you will get no relief from the heat at night.
2. Winters are Cold
St. Louis is a city of extremes, and the cold winter weather is no exception. While the city’s daytime temperatures rarely drop below freezing, high humidity and wind chill make it feel significantly colder than it really is. This combined with nighttime snow makes the winter months miserable for most people.
While this certainly isn’t the worst winter weather in the country, if you’re from a state like Arizona or Texas where winters are comparatively mild, you may want to prepare yourself for things to be pretty bad. Invest in a heater and layer your clothing often.
3. Natural Disasters
Missouri in general and St. Louis in particular gets hit by tornadoes, floods, heat waves, snowstorms, and pretty much every natural disaster imaginable on a regular basis. It’s the kind of place where it feels like nature is offended by the presence of humanity. If you aren’t ready to experience or pay for a bit of weather-related property damage, you aren’t ready to live in St. Louis.
Thankfully, the region is usually well-prepared for its disasters. Because it experiences them so frequently, people put forth a lot of effort to make sure they are ready for the next big disaster. This mitigates the worst of the problems associated with bad weather.
However, nobody knows when something will happen to overwhelm the system. The best-laid plans of mice and municipal governments often go awry.
Missouri is infamous for its bugs. Mosquitos are the ones that visitors are most likely to have to deal with, but residents may face cockroaches and spiders, wasps, ants, and others throughout the year. The hot humid summers promote a lot of insects to grow to their maximum size, while the cold winters encourage them to take up residence indoors.
This can make life in the state pretty miserable, and St. Louis is no exception to this rule. The rainy season produces plenty of still water puddles for mosquitos, in particular, to breed in, which means that just because you’re in the city doesn’t mean you can avoid getting bug bites.
The grossest of these might be the Kissing Bug, which despite the cute name is a scourge upon humanity. Kissing bugs like to live in dark places away from the sun, and, like mosquitos, bite people and feed off of their blood. Unlike mosquitos, they tend to live in colonies near their food sources, and if you end up the victim of an infestation, they can make you absolutely miserable.
Whatever kind of bug you’re looking to avoid, not moving to St. Louis might be the first step in avoiding it.
Ragweed runs rampant in the American midwest, and working together with other allergens makes the entire region (including St. Louis) an absolutely miserable place to live for anyone suffering from allergies from the beginning of spring to the end of summer.
While the bugs might be more infamous, the allergies are definitely more immediately inconvenient. As soon as they start to hit, if you’re the kind of person who experiences bad seasonal allergies, you’ll know it. Even if you usually only have mild responses, you might still feel it when it comes around. It’s pretty miserable.
St. Louis has access to the Mississippi river, which is a beautiful economic boon to the city. However, the Mississippi river is not the ocean, and if you really want to be able to visit the beach, the closest you’ll be able to get without flying to another state here would probably involve going to a lake.
Anyone who has visited both a lake and an ocean could tell you why a lake isn’t as good. While they get warm enough to swim in much quicker than seawater does, everything else about them is kind of gross. Freshwater is the preferred home of many human parasites and diseases, which makes lakes perfect places for them to grow along with other gross things.
All in all, lakes may be pretty to look at and boat on, but actually touching the water in a lake is something that nobody should ever do.
7. (Relatively) Flat
St. Louis is in a relatively flat region. While there are a few raised elevation areas around the city, there certainly isn’t anything that could be considered a mountain by anyone from the more mountainous parts of the world. While there are still outdoor activities to be done in the area, there’s nothing to climb!
This means that there isn’t much to look at on the horizon, and for some people, this can make the view from home feel pretty lonely. However you feel about elevated locations, the lack of mountains makes the skyline feel a little empty, even with the city filling up a little bit of it.
8. Missouri Politics
Missouri is a red state through and through, having voted Republican for the last several presidential elections in a row. This means that people living in St. Louis will have to live with all of the Republicans that end up passing in the state regardless of their own political beliefs, which can be quite frustrating.
They’ll also have to deal with being associated with Missouri senator Josh Hawley, a man who is famous for running away from his fellow senators. Whether you agree with him or not, he’s likely to receive some bullying from St. Louis residents.
9. St. Louis Politics
St. Louis is a blue city through and through, having voted Democratic for the last several presidential elections in a row. More than 80% of voters in the city are Democrats as well, and no matter what you believe, the city government doesn’t seem to be doing much better than any other city in the region.
Conservatives looking to live in the city proper will likely find this frustrating, especially when they could be living in one of Missouri’s many Republican majority areas instead and have their voice more heard in local government.
Liberals in the city don’t fare much better though, as the city itself often finds itself at odds with the state, creating significant political tension. It all seems to be pretty much inevitable in St. Louis that you be frustrated by politics.
10. Bad Reputation
Like many cities, St. Louis has a pretty serious reputation that precedes it in many informed conversations. This reputation is that the city is dangerous and unsavory, and many locals treat the city as though that were obviously true.
However, many of the city’s residents point out that only certain parts of town are actually dangerous. The rest of the city is about as safe as it gets. And while the city has a reputation for being tough to make money in, plenty of people are able to make a good living there.
Whether you buy into the rumors or not, you’ll hear about them eventually for sure. Eventually, you’ll get tired of hearing them.
11. It is Dangerous
While most of the city is safe, the few dangerous areas in it are so dangerous that the FBI rated it the most dangerous city in the United States for 2 years in a row in 2018 and 2019. It’s hard to tell what the reason for this violence is, but with 78 out of every 1,000 residents falling victim to violent crime each year, it’s safe to say that much of the city is unsafe.
Fortunately, much of the worst that has been reported about the city is hyperbole. Most people who live in St. Louis will not see themselves as the victims of a crime while living there. While this may be something that you take into account before moving to St. Louis, there’s no need to let it be the only reason you choose to move somewhere else.
St. Louis contains 7 interstate highways within its borders. That’s a lot of highways, and while it’s great if you want to go from St. Louis to another big city, they’re kind of awful for the feel of the city itself. They mean that you always have to keep your eyes open for entrances and exits while driving, and if you do want to take one of those roads, you’ll need to make sure you know which one you want to take.
13. Bad Schools
While the city has a couple of good public schools, most of the options for normal students going through high school are pretty bad. If you don’t feel like shelling out money to send your children to private school, your child is pretty likely to miss out on a lot of educational opportunities in these school districts than they would be elsewhere.
Because of this, St. Louis is probably not a very good place for parents of middle or high school-age kids to actually raise their young ones. If you do end up bringing them up in the city, it can be a struggle to find them the resources they need on a budget.
That being said, St. Louis schools are better than most other schools in Missouri, which is a plus.
14. Bad Healthcare
Missouri is ranked the 8th worst healthcare system out of all the states, which is a dubious honor indeed. This is likely related to the state’s lack of investment in proper healthcare infrastructure. Whether the city of St. Louis is fighting this or not, this has led to many hospitals across the state being understaffed and underfunded.
15. Bad Roads
Even St. Louis, a city famous for a couple of huge beautiful public works projects, hasn’t escaped from the classically Missourian problem of deteriorating streets and roads. This combined with the extreme weather conditions has created the conditions for Missouri to have the 8th worst infrastructure system in the country.
16. Low Pay
St. Louis may be a big city, but it doesn’t really pay to live there. The median single person in the city only makes about $29,000 each year, which is $2,000 less than the national median. Low earners also earn much less than they need to survive, with a minimum wage of just over $11 per hour.
17. People are Leaving
Possibly because of the low wages, lots of people who have gathered up the money to do so are leaving the city for good, and people have been doing so for decades. People have been leaving St. Louis for such a long time that the most famous story about the city, The Glass Menagerie, is largely about people wanting to live somewhere else.
However, even if lots of people don’t like it there, you may still enjoy it! If you’re making enough money to live, there’s plenty of fun stuff to do in the city, and the Arch is certainly a sight in and of itself.