Lincoln County leads growth in Southwest Miss. counties

Published 5:00 am Wednesday, April 11, 2001

Census 2000 totals show a striving southwest Mississippi, withLincoln County leading the way in terms of both percentage andactual people growth, county and chamber of commerce officialssaid.

From 1990 to 2000, Lincoln County’s population grew from 30,278to 33,166, according to census totals that are now in the processof being released. That represented an increase of 2,888 people anda 9.5 percent growth rate.

Chandler Russ, executive vice-president of theBrookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce, said those are”positive numbers.”

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“Without a doubt, there’s not another county in southwestMississippi that’s growing faster than Lincoln County,” Russsaid.

From a regional standpoint, all but one of nine area countiesposted population gains over the 10-year period.

Adams County was the only one to post a population decline. Itstotal fell from 35,356 in 1990 to 34,340 in 2000, a loss of 1,016people and a drop of 2.8 percent.

Experiencing the second-largest actual population growth, PikeCounty remained the most populous area county. Its 38,940 totalrepresented the addition of 2,058 more people and a growth rate of5.5 percent.

Copiah County was the only other area county with growth of morethan 1,000 people. Its population grew from 27,592 in 1990 to28,757 in 2000, an increase of 1,165 people and a growth rate of4.2 percent.

Franklin County, the least-populous area county, was virtuallyunchanged over the 10-year period. Its population was up less than1 percent, rising by 71 people from 8,377 to 8,448.

Lincoln County ranked third in total population behind Pike andAdams counties. Population, sales tax collections, banking andother economic activity are all on the list of positive attributesfor the county, Russ said.

“We can go on and on, but the bottom line is we’re growingfaster than any other county in the area,” Russ said.

W.D. “Doug” Moak, president of the Lincoln County Board ofSupervisors, agreed.

“A good thing to add to that is low unemployment,” Moak said,citing a recent chamber of commerce labor force analysis.

In 1997, Russ said the civilian labor force average was 13,310.For 2001, it is projected to be 15,570.

However, the unemployment rate over that period is expected tofall from 5.6 percent for 1997 to a projected 4 percent for 2001.Russ said the jobless totals were further evidence of a growinglocal economy.

“Even though the civilian labor force grew by 15 percent, theeconomy grew and was able to absorb the additional workers over thefive-year period,” Russ said.

Regarding Lincoln County’s growth, Moak said it appeared to bein rural areas and across much of the county.

“You can look in the county most any place and see a lot ofconstruction,” Moak said.

Moak also mentioned school-related construction activity. Inrecent years, the county’s schools have been undergoing renovationsand expansions to accommodate larger student populations.

“In the rural areas, you can see small developments, or smallcommunities, were landowners are dividing up and selling plots andpeople are building new homes,” Moak said.