Mississippi saw its first population decrease in 60 years, according to preliminary 2020 U.S. Census Bureau data released this week.
The data reported Mississippi’s resident population as 2,961,279 million people, marking a decrease of 6,018 since 2010. This is only the third time a population decrease in Mississippi has been recorded. The first was a decrease of 6,496 recorded in 1920, and the second was a decline of 773 recorded in 1960.
Mississippi was one of only three states to see a population decline in the 2020 census, though its decline was the smallest among them. Illinois’ population decreased by 18,124 and the state lost one of its 18 congressional seats as a result. West Virginia saw the greatest population decline, losing 59,278 residents.
Though 47 states increased their population over the last decade, the national rate of population growth has slowed. A declining birthrate and lower immigration numbers caused the U.S. population to grow at the second slowest rate recorded since the first census was conducted in 1790. The national population increased by 7.4%, just above the lowest ever increase of 7.3% recorded in 1940.
The release of redistricting data from the 2020 census has been delayed due to many logistical challenges the COVID-19 pandemic posed for collecting accurate counts. The U.S. Census Bureau originally planned to have all redistricting data to states by March 31, but pushed that back to Sept. 30 in February.
The bureau announced today that it will deliver the Public Law 94-171 redistricting data to all states by Sept. 30, 2021. COVID-related delays and prioritizing the delivery of the apportionment results delayed the Census Bureau’s original plan to deliver the redistricting data to the states by March 31, 2021.
The release of the redistricting data will offer insight into the demographic changes Mississippi has seen over the last decade and allow the state’s legislative boundaries to be redrawn ahead of the 2022 midterm elections.