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Some Census Quick Hits

February 7, 2011

Lots of interesting takeaways from last week’s release of county Census information as we look at the changing face of Mississippi demographics:

- The suburban areas are the only parts of the state that are showing any signs of growth. That has been a long-term trend that we have seen nationwide, and doesn’t show any signs of slowing down in state.

- The nationwide trend of young professionals moving back to cities is not happening with Jackson. Throughout the country, many major cities have been revitalized after decades of white flight. The white flight seems to be continuing, rather than reversing, when we talk about Jackson.

- The official numbers on Jackson show a loss of 11,000 residents. The city actually added about 7,500 blacks while losing 19,000 whites. This means that whites now makeup about 18 percent of the city, compared to nearly 28 percent 10 years ago. A Clarion-Ledger article had quotes from some residents who mentioned moving back to the city, but there doesn’t appear to be any strong numbers to back this up.

In 2000, whites made up 37 percent of Hinds county. Today, that number is around 28 percent.

- At the same time, the growing suburban counties are becoming less white. Over the past 10 years, Rankin has gone from 81 to 77 percent white, Madison has gone from 60 to 57 percent white, Desoto has gone from 85 to 72 percent white, and Lamar has gone from 84 to 77 percent white.

- One of the funny (or interesting) things about Desoto’s increasing black population is that neighboring Marshall county has now become majority white. In 2000, blacks made up 50.3 percent of the county. Today, whites are now 50.1 percent of the county.

- While Marshall county flipped in one direction, Pike county is now majority black going from 51 percent white in 2000 to 52 percent black today. Warren county is borderline majority white, but will soon be majority-minority (not necessarily majority black yet).

- The Delta is experiencing flight of every kind. Looking at numbers off hand, I would say whites are leaving at a slightly higher clip than blacks. In one drastic example, Washington county has gone from 34 percent white in 2000 to 27 percent today.

- Here’s something interesting to think about: In 2020, Desoto could be larger than Hinds county. If Desoto adds another 53 or 54 percent, there population will be around 245,000. That is the population of shrinking Hinds county today. While I believe Hinds will continue its trend, I find it hard to believe Desoto will grow in such a big way again. I would expect Tate and Marshall to begin seeing bigger gains.

- Credit to Lamar county for their outstanding growth. In the past 10 years, the county population has very quietly increased 42 percent. Expectations were around 28 percent.

- Probably the strongest growth areas outside of your traditional suburbs were the college-based counties of Lafayette and Oktibbeha. In fact, the two counties now have near identical populations. Lafayette has a population of 47,351 while Oktibbeha is slightly higher at 47,671. Lafayette’s growth rate, however, was slightly higher than that in Oktibbeha and it would be the bigger of the two in 2020 if current rates hold.

Forrest county, home of Southern Miss, didn’t share in the growth of the schools to their north. The county showed just a 3.2 percent growth; while the city of Hattiesburg grew only 2.7 percent. Of course, Lamar’s growth may have had something to do with this.

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