The Waterloo Community Unit School District #5 is located in Monroe County, Illinois, with a small portion of the district extending into St. Clair County. The total population of Monroe County in 1980 was 24,763, in 2004 had grown to 30,491, and as of 2015 was roughly 33,879.
The county’s largest ethnic population is of German heritage, with the Irish and English population coming in a distant second and third, and English the language of choice. A greater majority of the population is of white, non-Hispanic origin. Education is important in that most residents have graduated from high school (94%) and 27.5% of the population has transitioned to a post-secondary education (four year college/university, junior college, trade or technical school). There is no heavy industrial base in Monroe County and the light industry located here primarily deals in providing services rather than products. The area is fast becoming less of an agricultural employer (1.8%) and more of a bedroom community for the greater St. Louis area.
The county seat of Monroe County is Waterloo. Retail, education, and healthcare companies employ many of Waterloo’s citizens. Ten major employers exist in the area, with only one company (Wal-Mart) employing 300+ persons (primarily part-time employees.) The County Government and Waterloo School District combined employ more than 530 people.
The Waterloo community is also experiencing a rapid population growth. Population of Waterloo in 1980 was 4,646, with a current 2015 estimate of 10,236 people. The State of Illinois Department of Transportation completed a four-lane highway through Waterloo that connects the area directly to the Metro-East and Greater St. Louis areas and is a direct factor in the continuing rapid growth of the community.