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Latest census report indicates Mississippi’s population was undercounted in 2020

Published: May. 20, 2022 at 9:01 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - We have a follow-up tonight to a story we first reported last spring.

At the time, the census reported Mississippi lost population in the last ten years. New data includes some more positive news.

It’s been just more than a year since the headlines and our first story that fewer people were calling Mississippi home.

“The drop amounted to 0.2%...about 6,000 people. Mississippi Economic Council President/CEO Scott Waller believes COVID impacted the count.”

“I think it’s safe to say that we really are at a relatively flat growth rate,” said Waller in 2021.

The latest report from the Census Bureau shows it was an undercount in six states, most of those in the South. Mississippi is estimated to have been uncounted by 4.11 percent. In other words, the state gained population in the last ten years to the tune of more than 100,000 people.

“What’s good about this is it shows us that, yeah, we really did grow a little bit,” said Waller Friday. “But it also gives us the momentum and potential to really capitalize on how do we grow more in the future.”

Waller stresses the importance of that when you look at our surrounding states. Many showed significant growth, some in the double-digit percentages, even before the undercount. He believes it’s an opportunity to be proactive moving forward.

“So, we’re talking about what do we do to create the types of jobs to create the opportunities and to show other businesses that are located outside of the state looking to come, what we can do for them, and I think that’s where so many things are in motion,” added Waller.

The teacher pay raise signed into law this year is one of the steps in the right direction at recruiting and retaining talent.

“We’ve heard from educators across Mississippi that the teacher pay raise will keep many of our educators in the state,” said Erica Jones, Mississippi Association of Educators President. “In the past, we’ve lost educators to Tennessee, Louisiana, Alabama, and many of our other surrounding states. And we know this is going to be not only good for our public schools here in the state, but for the economy as well.”

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