Panola population growth

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 11, 2011

‘Raw’ population figures show slow growth in Panola

By Billy Davis and David Howell

Panola County’s population increased by 443 people during a 10-year period from 2000 to 2010, U.S. Census figures show.

The newest Census figures show Panola County has almost climbed to 35,000, with the present population estimated at 34,707. The 2000 population was estimated at 34,274.

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The newest population numbers, if accurate, would indicate a 1.01-percent jump in population, which would be the slowest growth since the 1970s.

Panola County’s largest population boom came in the 1990s, when the county population jumped 14.5 percent by the 2000 Census.

2010 figures for Batesville show its population grew by 530 people,  easily leading other municipalities.

The census figures that became public last week are “raw” figures that have yet to be examined closely, said a spokesman for Slaughter and Associates.

The Oxford-based planning firm is aiding Panola County government, the City of Batesville, and the South Panola School District in examining data and legally moving boundary lines.

Slaughter urban planner Meg Crockett said the firm is waiting for so-called “block data” that was set to be released as early as this week.

Block data, because it shows more detailed boundary lines, is considered a more accurate count than the preliminary data already released, Crockett said.

The more reliable block data will trickle from Jackson-based MARIS, the Miss. Automated Resource Information System, she said.

Census data is used every 10 years to move political boundaries — federal, state and local — according to population shifts, ensuring equal representation.

In Panola County government, a preliminary look at data shows District 4 experienced the biggest population increase among the five districts.

The district jumped by approximately 1,700 people while the other four districts lost population, said District 4 Supervisor Kelly Morris.

Board president Gary Thompson said he had viewed the same figures that showed the growth and loss.

The population of Panola’s five supervisor districts goes from a high of 8,577 in District 4 to a low of 6,177 in District Five.

District 1 has 6,331 people, District 2 has 6,873 people and District 3 has 6,749 people.

The growth in District 4 means surrounding districts will likely gobble up some of the district to shift the populations equally.

District 4 stretches from the southern shores of Sardis Lake to the Eureka community in southeast Panola County.

The data also showed that Panola County’s municipalities north of the river have declined over the 10-year period while Batesville and Courtland increased.

Sardis dropped 16.5 percent, from 2,038 to 1,703; Como declined 2.4 percent, from 1,310 to 1,279; Crenshaw dropped 3.4 percent, from 916 to 885.

Batesville’s population was up 4.6 percent, from 7,133 to 7,463.

Courtland posted an 11.1 percent increase, up from 460 to 511.

In Pope, the population was down 10.7 percent, from 241 to 215.

The racial makeup of Panola County is 53 percent white and 44.9 percent black.

The black population is down 3.5 percent from 2000, according to the 2010 Census data.

The Hispanic population increased a tenth of a percent, to 1.2 percent.

The largest county is Hinds with a population of 245,285.