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Population shifts in Mississippi will...

Population shifts in Mississippi will result in gain, loss of legislative seats

By: Sarah Ulmer - August 16, 2021

Mississippi showed a decrease of 6,000 residents but some cities showed significant gains as populations shifted. 

Mississippi lawmakers will soon face the reality of redrawing district lines after the 2020 Census. The Joint Legislative Redistricting Committee is currently holding hearings across the state to gather input from the public regarding the way this will be done when they return in January 2022, if not before.

RELATED: Redistricting set to happen in Mississippi after new census numbers

The U.S. Census Bureau has steadily rolled out information regarding population and diversity shifts across the country. According to their report, Mississippi lost roughly 6,000 residents from 2010 until 2020. This is a 0.2 percent decrease for the state of nearly 3 million. Mississippi, West Virginia and Illinois were the only three states to lose residents in the 10-year gap.

According to the most recent redistricting data, some of Mississippi’s cities did see growth. Oxford saw the largest percent increase of 6,500 people, a 34.4% increase.

D’Iberville and Flowood followed closely behind with increases of 3,235 at 34.1% and 2,379 at 30.41%, respectively. However, some cities saw a larger increase in general.

Olive Branch grew by 6,227 residents, Brandon by 3,433, Madison by 3,598, Biloxi by 5,395, and Southaven saw an increase of 5,666 residents.

RELATED: US Census Bureau releases 2020 data with impacts on redistricting

But not every Mississippi municipality saw an increase in population.

Those that saw the highest percent of loss in current population were Tutwiler, with a loss of 1,074 or -30.3% of residents, Shaw, with a lose of 495 or -25.4% of residents, and Centreville, with a loss of 426 or -25.3% of residents.

**It was brought to our attention that a large majority of population loss in Tutwiler was due to fewer prisoners being housed at the Tallahatchie County Correctional Facility. Inmates are counted in Tutwiler’s overall population.**

In total, Meridian lost 6,096 residents while Clarksdale lost 3,069 residents and Canton lost 2,241 residents.

According to an analysis by Chism Strategies, population in the Delta area of the state is significantly down and the area is likely to lose at least one House seat in the legislative redistricting process.

Only state Senate District 22 in the Delta increased in population but those gains were all in Madison County. It is important to mention that the lines of district 22 were redrawn by the Legislature in 2020 after a court order.

Population losses were also found in Jackson, which will likely result in the loss of one state House seat. However, the suburbs of Jackson had such gains that they are likely to see an increase in up to two legislative seats. Madison’s House District 73, currently held by Rep. Jill Ford, shows a population of 50% larger than the ideal size.

According to the report, only 9 of the 42 House districts with a majority of African American residents now have populations that are within the 5% legally allowable deviation. A loss of population in North Mississippi could be handled due to creating a district drawing in which they would not lose a seat.

Desoto County’s growth will likely afford them an additional state House seat, as could be the case in the Harrison County area on the Coast.

About the Author(s)
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Sarah Ulmer

Sarah is a Mississippi native, born and raised in Madison. She is a graduate of Mississippi State University, where she studied Communications, with an emphasis in Broadcasting and Journalism. Sarah’s experience spans multiple mediums, including extensive videography with both at home and overseas, broadcasting daily news, and hosting a live radio show. In 2017, Sarah became a member of the Capitol Press Corp in Mississippi and has faithfully covered the decisions being made by leaders on some of the most important issues facing our state. Email Sarah: