Herculaneum is a city in Jefferson County, Missouri, United States. The population was 2,805 at the 2000 census. The city is currently celebrating its bicentennial. Festivals among other events are being held throughout the year in order to celebrate.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 3.5 square miles (9.0 km²), of which, 3.4 square miles (8.9 km²) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.1 km²) of it (1.44%) is water.
There were 1,028 households out of which 31.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.0% were married couples living together, 8.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.4% were non-families. 25.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.52 and the average family size was 2.99.
In the city the population was spread out with 22.6% under the age of 18, 7.2% from 18 to 24, 27.2% from 25 to 44, 21.1% from 45 to 64, and 21.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 88.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 84.1 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $40,365, and the median income for a family was $50,615. Males had a median income of $33,603 versus $25,581 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,613. About 2.4% of families and 5.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 3.0% of those under age 18 and 14.3% of those age 65 or over.
The Doe Run Company has purchased more than 130 houses as a result of toxic metal contamination in Herculaneum. It has also removed contaminated soil from the yards of at least 430 homes in the town. Due to toxic metal contamination, the company tore some down some houses and left others vacant. The Columbia Tribune reports that the town is "characterized by empty homes and vacated neighborhoods as a result of these buy outs, and the Saint Louis Post Dispatch has described the town as a "ghost town." Although the town has long been recognized as an environmental disaster area, lead continues to be emitted at high levels and testing of the soil for lead contamination has shown an upward trend at least as recently as November of 2006.
The New York Times reported in 2002 that there are clusters of brain cancer and multiple sclerosis in Herculaneum. The paper did not identify the cause of these disease clusters, although many people in the town believe these diseases were caused by exposure to toxic waste, including lead and other metals.