10 Largest Cities In Missouri

Located in the midwest United States, the state of Missouri is home to roughly 6.16 million people. The state is known for its thriving agricultural industry and spectacular state parks. In terms of area, Missouri is the 21st largest state, with eight other states bordering it, while it is the country's 19th most populous state. Interestingly, while Jefferson City is the capital of Missouri, it does not even feature among the ten on this list but is the 16th largest city. The other major cities of Missouri have been described below:

  1. Kansas City - 522,580
  2. St. Louis - 296,262
  3. Springfield - 172,080
  4. Columbia - 131,579
  5. Independence - 124,865
  6. Lee's Summit - 104,030
  7. O'Fallon - 94,913
  8. Saint Charles - 71,903
  9. St. Joseph - 71,180
  10. Blue Springs - 60,412

1. Kansas City - 522,580

Kansas City
Kansas City, Missouri.

Kansas City has an estimated population of 522,580 and is the largest in the state in both population and area. This friendly, fun-loving city is full of culture, activities, and a vibrant arts district. The city, known for its rich jazz culture, hosts several jazz bars and venues. It is also famous for its barbeque scene - with 'Kansas City Barbeque' being one of the most popular types of food both locally and across the United States. Kansas City was originally established as a port along the Missouri river in 1830 at the confluence of the Missouri and Kansas Rivers. The area received a lot of attention when it was selected as the location for the railroad to cross over the Missouri river. The construction of the train route invited trade and immigration to the area, and Kansas City continued to grow. In the 21st Century, the city went through a major development spree once again. Large sports arenas were created, drawing in visitors and local sports enthusiasts, and the downtown population increased by four times its size between 2007 and 2017. The IRS, General Services Administration, Kansas City Plant, National Nuclear Security Administration owned by Honeywell, and the Social Security Administration are major employers in the area.

2. St. Louis - 296,262

St. Louis, Missouri
The gorgeous cityscape of St. Louis, Missouri. 

The second largest city in Missouri is St. Louis. It has a population of around 296,262 and is located right at the fork of the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers. St. Louis showcases the heart of the U.S. Midwest and is best known for baseball, beer, and a fantastic hockey team, the St. Louis Blues, who won the 2019 Stanley Cup. St. Louis also has a rich history of early American settlements and played a prominent role during the American Revolutionary War. Visitors can take in the culture and history, as well as enjoy the iconic and visually impressive Gateway Arch that leads into the city. 

The location of the city and the confluence of the two major rivers has long made it a popular place for settling down. The area was once used as a major post in the fur trade and grew from there with the emergence of steamboats and trade that connected St. Louis to New Orleans and the eastern trade market. The city also gained international attention when it hosted the Olympics and the World's Fair in 1904. The city won the World Leadership Award for urban renewal in 2006. 

Seven Fortune 500 companies can be found in the city: Olin, Edward Jones, Reinsurance Group of America, Emerson Electric, Centene, Graybar Electric, and Ameren. Several other prominent companies also have headquarters in the city, including BMO Harris Bank, Energizer Holdings, Wells Fargo, Post Foods, and Kerry Group, to name a few. Medicine and Biotechnology are the main employers here, and the abundance of job opportunities and industry are a huge draw for those moving to the city.

3. Springfield - 172,080

Springfield, Missouri
The downtown city skyline and buidlings of Sprigfield.

Springfield has a population of roughly 172,080. Springfield is also home to several colleges and Universities, including Missouri State University, Drury University, and Evangel University. This location of Springfield near the Ozark Mountains makes it a popular place for tourists who want to enjoy outdoor recreation, and it is estimated that some 3,000,000 visit for overnight or day trips each year. Springfield is also home to the world's largest aquarium, the Wonders of Wildlife Museum & Aquarium. Tourism is a large part of the area's economy, and nature-based or outdoor recreation businesses are major sources of employment. Other major economic sectors in Springfield include manufacturing, health care, and retail. Major companies with headquarters in the city include Positronics, BKD, O'Reilly Auto Parts, Andy's Frozen Custard, and Springfield ReManufacturing. 

4. Columbia - 131,579

Columbia, Missouri
The city of Columbia in Missouri.

The fourth largest city in Missouri is Columbia, with a population of around 131,579. Columbia is a busy college city, hosting the campuses of the University of Missouri, Stephens College, and Columbia College. It is also located halfway between St. Louis and Kansas City. Aside from its bustling downtown and nightlife, Columbia has many parks, trails, and natural areas to enjoy the outdoors.The city's economy relies mainly on the education sector, healthcare, and insurance industries. The Rocheport port and local airport allow for a robust trade industry, further helping the city grow and prosper. 

5. Independence - 124,865

Columbia, Missouri
Downtown Independence from the corner of Maple & Main.

Independence in Jackson County houses around 124,865 people and is a satellite city, or suburb, of Kansas City. The city is known for being the birthplace of President Harry S. Truman and also played a key role in the development of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints.The region has a rich history which is depicted in a number of local museums and monuments. The primary job providers in the city include the local school system, CenterPoint Medical Center, Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems, and Unilever, which has a major office here. Independence has an unemployment rate that is lower than the national average. Additionally, Independence has the third lowest property taxes of anywhere in the Kansas City Metropolitan Area. Affordable housing options are ample, and the lack of personal property taxes makes Independence a great place to live.

6. Lee's Summit - 104,030

Lee's Summit
Sign for Downtown Lee's Summit, America's Great Neighborhood. Editorial credit: Jon Kraft / Shutterstock.com

Lee's Summit is a suburb of the much larger Kansas City, with a population of over 100,000, making it the 6th largest city in the state of Missouri. The city got its name as it houses the highest point on the railway line between St. Louis and Kansas City. Today, Lee's Summit blends small-town vibes in its award-winning downtown district with the amenities and conveniences of a large city.One of the city's largest employers is the USCIS, or Homeland Security, which provides roughly 3,000 jobs to those living there. The city also has several major hospitals and healthcare organizations, including Saint Luke's East Hospital, Lee's Summit Medical Center, and a CVS Caremark call center. Various diagnostic companies also have offices in Lee's Summit, offering excellent medical care to those living in the area and providing many jobs.

7. O'Fallon - 94,913

The beautiful Dames Park in O'fallon, Missouri
The beautiful Dames Park in O'Fallon, Missouri.

The city of O'Fallon is located northwest of St Louis and, with a population of roughly 94,913 people, is the largest suburb of St. Louis. The area is full of infrastructure and corporate headquarters, including a major office for Mastercard. It was, for many years, also the home of Venture Stores headquarters, which provided a large number of jobs for the area, and is now home to the Air Evac Lifeteam headquarters as of 2015.Because of this, O'Fallon is a popular commuter area for many and has a significant population of young professionals. Money magazine has also listed O'Fallon as one of the Best 100 Places to Live on several occasions.

8. Saint Charles - 71,903

Saint Charles, Missouri
St. Charles County Courthouse in St. Charles, Missouri.

Saint Charles, the state's 9th largest city, houses around 71,903 people. This city sits along the Missouri River and is a northwestern suburb of St. Louis. Saint Charles is a beautiful city with a rich history rooted in French culture. Its Historic District and scenic landscape make it a popular place to live and visit. Originally, the city grew in population as it was elected as the temporary capital of the state, a title it held until 1826. It still houses the First Missouri State Capitol State Historic Site. In recent years, the city has continued to attract settlers due to its beautiful scenic views of the river and its proximity to downtown St. Louis. It has also seen a growth in specialized employment in higher-end jobs. While the county is one of the largest employers, the city is also home to a Boeing company headquarters, a multinational manufacturer of aircraft and spacecraft, as well as pharmaceutical company Pharma Medica which opened its first U.S. location in Saint Charles in 2014, offering a number of high tech jobs in the following years.

9. St. Joseph - 71,180

St.Joseph, Missouri
Felix Street Square in downtown St. Joseph. Editorial credit: APN Photography / Shutterstock.com 

St. Joseph is located roughly 30 minutes from North Kansas City by car and has a population of around 71,180. Despite its size, St. Joseph is full of small-town charm, from its history to its friendly atmosphere. St. Joseph was once a bustling frontier town, the westernmost point on the railway, and one of the endpoints of the Pony Express, all of which made it a popular and busy town. St. Joseph was also the second city in the U.S. to have electric streetcars. It has a diverse and dynamic economy, with many major employers in various fields. Food processing is a large part of the economy, including biofuels, candy, meat, and grain processing, with ​​Triumph Foods being the second largest employer in St. Joseph. Packing and processing equipment factories have also blossomed in the area, creating even more jobs. St. Joseph has the 3rd largest manufacturing economy in Missouri, behind only Saint Louis and Kansas City. St. Joseph also hosts Animal Health Pharmaceutical companies and Animal Nutrition facilities. Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc. is one of the top ten employers in the region. It is estimated that St. Joseph Metropolitan Area employs roughly 65,000 people.

10. Blue Springs - 60,412

Blue Springs has a population of roughly 60,412 people, making it the tenth-largest city in the state. The city gets its name from a spring of the Little Blue River and is located approximately 30 km outside of Kansas City. Blue Springs is considered one of the best places to live in the state, with predominantly suburban makeup with ample park areas and green spaces. This makeup draws young families and couples to the region. The largest employer in Blue Springs is the Blue Springs School District, and the school system is one of the draws to the area - younger families can enjoy a peaceful suburban lifestyle while still having access to the city. This is an excellent option for those looking for a quieter option with a city feel. 

Boasting old-world charm, rich history, prominent landmarks, scenic views of the countryside, and friendly people, these cities of Missouri are truly among the best in the state to both visit and build a forever home. 

50 Biggest Cities Of Missouri

Rank Name Population
1 Kansas City 522,580
2 St. Louis 296,262
3 Springfield 172,080
4 Columbia 131,579
5 Independence 124,865
6 Lee's Summit 104,030
7 O'Fallon 94,913
8 St. Charles 71,903
9 St. Joseph 71,180
10 Blue Springs 60,412
11 St. Peters 59,280
12 Florissant 52,647
13 Joplin 52,245
14 Chesterfield 50,755
15 Wentzville 48,962
16 Jefferson City 43,273
17 Cape Girardeau 40,020
18 Oakville 36,349
19 Wildwood 35,387
20 University City 34,972
21 Ballwin 31,313
22 Liberty 30,473
23 Raytown 30,159
24 Kirkwood 30,037
25 Mehlville 29,129
26 Maryland Heights 28,527
27 Gladstone 27,558
28 Grandview 26,728
29 Hazelwood 25,386
30 Nixa 24,529
31 Webster Groves 24,316
32 Belton 24,205
33 Raymore 24,063
34 Ozark 22,322
35 Sedalia 21,827
36 Arnold 20,873
37 Affton 20,450
38 Rolla 20,057
39 Old Jamestown 19,973
40 Republic 19,950
41 Warrensburg 19,487
42 Creve Coeur 19,134
43 Farmington 18,811
44 Manchester 18,405
45 Concord 18,043
46 Spanish Lake 18,041
47 Clayton 17,781
48 Ferguson 17,723
49 Kirksville 17,536
50 Lake St. Louis 17,355
Share