Citizenship-Census

An envelope containing a 2020 census letter mailed to a U.S. resident.

Census: Mississippi one of three states to lose population

{child_byline}BY CALEB BEDILLION

Daily Journal{/child_byline}

TUPELO • Across the last decade, Mississippi’s population has slightly declined, losing about 6,000 people, according to the 2020 U.S. Census.

The U.S. Census Bureau on Monday released statewide population data and Congressional apportionment figures, showing Mississippi with a population of 2,961,279.

In the 2010 census count, Mississippi had a population of 2,967,297, so the state’s resident population has declined by 0.2 %, according to the nation’s once-a-decade headcount.

With those numbers, Mississippi will retain four congressional seats in the U.S. House of Representative. The Magnolia State has had four U.S. House seats for 20 years now, since the 2000 Census caused Mississippi to lose a seat.

Only statewide totals were released by the Census Bureau on Monday. Population numbers for cities, counties and other local jurisdictions are expected to be released later this summer, by Aug. 16.

Mississippi’s nearly stagnant population came even as the South was the region with the highest amount of growth in the county, at 10.2%.

Across the country, only three states showed a decline in population: Illinois, Mississippi and West Virginia.

Mississippi is now the 34th most populous state, falling from the rank of 31 it held under the 2010 population numbers.

Nationwide, the country’s total population is now 331,449,281, a growth rate of 7.4% since the 2010 census. This is the second lowest decade of population growth in the country history, as measured by the census. The slowed decade of growth occurred from 1930 to 1940, at 7.3%.

The 2020 Census occurred even as the COVID-19 pandemic delayed the count and curtailed many traditional outreach efforts.

Rural residents, as well as racial minorities, are often undercounted by the census. In Northeast Mississippi, local civic and political leaders had planned efforts to raise the visibility of the census in these populations. Pandemic restrictions largely halted those efforts.

In a digital press conference, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo highlighted the “unprecedented challenges” that faced the 2020 population count, including the pandemic, wildfires, hurricanes and civil unrest.

“With all of that happening, the Census Bureau had to quickly adapt its operations to meet this challenges head on,” Raimondo said.

Beyond its impact on congressional apportionment, the census has financial significance as well. Every year, federal money flows to states, local governments and other entities, and much of it is based on the census population data. The numbers are annually adjusted according to estimates using birth and death data, but the decennial census count provides a baseline.

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