This week’s release of national and state population totals, as well as state apportionments, marks the culmination of a year’s dedicated work by local civic and social organizations in partnership with the United Census Bureau in Mississippi and across the nation.
The 2020 Census occurred during tumultuous events: deployed in a pandemic, rolled out for the first time online and data collection cut short by more than a month. Yet, when including the Census Bureau nonresponse follow-up, 99.9% of Mississippi households were counted.
Sixty percent of households self-responded – the bureau didn’t have to come knock on their door – and nearly 40% used the internet for the first time to complete the Census.
The results of the 2020 Census bring both good and troubling news for many states, including Mississippi. Census data revealed that Mississippi will not be losing a seat in the House. However, Mississippi did see a decline (-0.2%) in population from 2,967,297 residents in 2010 to 2,961,279 in 2020.
This could mean an $18 million-$30 million decrease in federal funding for the state. The projected drop in federal funding is based on analyses from various outlets and accounting for a number of federal programs, which suggests that between $3,000 and $5,000 in federal funding was allocated per person, per year to Mississippi based on 2010 Census counts.
In contrast, the South overall saw a 10% increase in population, and Mississippi’s border states saw at least 2% growth in population. The 2020 Census shows that U.S. population as a whole grew at the second-slowest pace in history.
The new Census data and apportionments also reveal another interesting trend: growing Southern representation at the federal level. In fact, of six states that gained seats, three were from the South, for a total of four new Southern seats.
Yet, what does this mean for Mississippi? As the only Southern locale to lose population, the impacts in federal funding are clear. But there are also significant implications for workforce development, infrastructure development, tax revenue and education.
Although this week’s release focuses on the national and state total populations, future releases by the Census Bureau will provide details for the county and district levels, and will include data on race, ethnicity, age and sex. These counts have important implications for federal funding, state-level representation and redistricting.
— By the University of Mississippi State Data Center