By NEMS Daily Journal
Tupelo retained its ranking as Mississippi’s seventh largest city in the 2010 Census, but its population grew only 1 percent over the past decade.
The official count released Thursday placed Tupelo’s population at 34,546, up a scant 335 from the 2000 Census.
Lee County, meanwhile, grew at a 9.4 percent clip to 82,910, also seventh in population among the state’s counties, as it was in 2000.
The U.S. Census Bureau released official totals for Mississippi’s top 20 cities and counties on Thursday. Numbers for the rest of the state’s municipalities and counties will be available today.
The most dramatic increase in Northeast Mississippi came in Oxford, which grew 60.9 percent to 18,916, jumping to 20th in state rankings from 35th. Lafayette County, now ranked 17th among counties, increased 22.2 percent to 47,351.
As the state’s seventh largest city, Tupelo ranks behind Jackson, Gulfport, Southaven, Hattiesburg, Biloxi and Meridian, followed by Greenville, Olive Branch and Horn Lake.
The three DeSoto County cities on the list showed extraordinary gains, led by Southaven at 48,982, a 69 percent increase, vaulting that city from eighth place to third.
Jackson – still by far the state’s largest city at 173,514 – lost population, as did Gulfport and Biloxi, both ravaged by Hurricane Katrina, and Greenville in the economically depressed Delta.
Besides Tupelo and Oxford, the only other Northeast Mississippi municipality in the top 20 was 15th-ranked Starkville at 23,888, a 9.2 percent increase. Oktibbeha County saw 11.1 percent growth to 47,671, ranking 16th among counties.
DeSoto County had by far the greatest growth among the state’s counties at 50.4 percent to 161,252. Madison County (27.5 percent) and Rankin County (22.8 percent), both in the Jackson metro area, also were growth leaders.
Tupelo’s minimal population growth could get a boost if its annexation effort, approved in chancery court but on appeal by Lee County, comes through. It would add approximately 2,500 people.