In the late 19th century the area that is now Swansea was a mix of farming and commerce. It was home to underground coal mines, foundries, brickyards, and the Gundlach Drill Works, manufacturers of the most efficient grain drills of that era. The early residents were fiercely independent and bent on conducting their own affairs. When the municipality that sat on their doorstep reached out to annex their lands and businesses they decided to start their own community.
On November 27, 1886 a group of 35 area residents petitioned the county government "that they are desirous of having said territory organized as a village...That the name of the proposed village shall be New Swansea."
The residents voted on December 16, 1886, to form their own community and name it “New Swansea”. A petition for annexation to the city of Belleville was being circulated in the territory. Establishing an independent community was a quick and effective method of avoiding annexation. And so a new municipality was incorporated on December 20, 1886. In 1898 the lot at the corner of Brackett and Illinois Streets was purchased for $300. The Village Hall was completed shortly thereafter at a cost of $619.50.
Swansea is located at 38°32′30″N 89°59′14″W (38.541750, -89.987353).
According to the 2010 census, Swansea has a total area of 6.434 square miles (16.66 km2), of which 6.26 square miles (16.21 km2) (or 97.3%) is land and 0.174 square miles (0.45 km2) (or 2.7%) is water. Swansea is largely flat and runs primarily in a north-south direction along the Illinois route 159 corridor. It is bounded by Belleville to the south and west, Fairview Heights to the north and Shiloh to the east. The City of Saint Louis, Missouri, lies 16 miles to the west.
As of the census of 2000, there were 10,579 people, 3,937 households, and 2,799 families residing in the village. The population density was 2,085.6 people per square mile (805.6/km²). There were 4,110 housing units at an average density of 810.2 per square mile (313.0/km²). The racial makeup of the village was 88.03% White, 8.59% African American, 0.24% Native American, 1.61% Asian, 0.08% Pacific Islander, 0.33% from other races, and 1.12% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.54% of the population.
There were 3,937 households out of which 37.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.6% were married couples living together, 10.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.9% were non-families. 24.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.59 and the average family size was 3.11.
In the village, the population was spread out with 26.6% under the age of 18, 7.4% from 18 to 24, 29.6% from 25 to 44, 21.5% from 45 to 64, and 14.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 90.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.1 males.
The median income for a household in the village was $49,851, and the median income for a family was $58,032. Males had a median income of $40,747 versus $29,911 for females. The per capita income for the village was $25,634. About 4.9% of families and 6.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 8.5% of those under age 18 and 1.5% of those age 65 or over.
Swansea is home to two school districts:
District 113 - Wolf Branch School District. This district includes Wolf Branch Elementary School and Wolf Branch Middle School. The mascots for both schools are the Wolverines.
District 116 - High Mount School District. This district includes High Mount School.
High school aged students in Swansea attend school in Belleville Township District 201, including both Belleville East and Belleville West high schools. Alternate private high schools include Althoff Catholic High School and The Governor French Academy.