ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – St. Louis County’s largest city is making moves to stay on top, but there’s an upstart city that could pose a challenge in the next census.

Florissant has long been the biggest city in the county, and by far the oldest, but they’ve been trending down while Chesterfield’s been trending up. Fewer than 5000 residents now separate number one from number two.

“I think their population is decreasing also, or certainly stagnant, where as we have a modest growth in Chesterfield,” says Chesterfield mayor Bob Nation.

In Florissant, Mayor Tom Schneider is actively trying to keep the city above 50,000 residents. If the population drops below that number, that could mean the loss of federal grants and funding. He’s trying to convince neighboring Calverton Park, population 1200, to merge. Schneider says one problem trend is smaller households with fewer babies.

“I think we’ve maybe turned that around now. I think we’re having more children in the households but this is just like an insurance policy. If we’re ever going to do it, I’d love to do it before the 2020 census,” he says.

Chesterfield, meantime, is bidding to take over policing in neighbor Clarkson Valley, population 2600. There’s been talk in the past of a merger between those two as well, though nothing moving on that front at the moment.

Come 2020, it’s Chesterfield that could find itself becoming the largest city in St. Louis County, with three malls, new subdivisions, and large corporate campuses from Pfizer to Monsanto.

“We understand that we have natural advantages that maybe other areas don’t have, so we’re fortunate to have quality businesses come to us and want to locate there. We’re not searching, we’re not out beating the bushes trying to bring new businesses in,” Nation says.

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