Statewide population numbers from the 2020 Census released on April 26 show Tennessee outperforming the national growth rate with Arkansas recording a moderate increase.

However, the U.S. Census Bureau report listed Mississippi among three states that lost population during the last decade. The other two are West Virginia and Illinois.

The 2020 Census is the first to show Arkansas with a larger population than Mississippi.

Census estimates over the last three years or so accurately reflected that Arkansas was moving ahead of Mississippi.

Mississippi entered the union as the nation’s 20th state in 1817. Arkansas was the 25th state when it entered in 1836. Both were territories before that and their populations were counted in censuses before they became states.

Here are the 2020 Census numbers for the three states, the 2010 counts and the percent of change:

Tennessee – 6,910,840; 6,346,105; +8.9 percent.

Arkansas – 3,011,524; 2,915,916; +3.3 percent.

Mississippi – 2,961,279; 2,967,297; - 0.2 percent.

Overall numbers show the nation’s population growth at 7.4 percent.

In the years ahead, economists and others are expected conduct analyses and studies in an effort to determine what were the factors that propelled Arkansas ahead of Mississippi.

In the national size rankings, Tennessee moved up from 17th to 16th. Mississippi dropped from 32nd to 35th and Arkansas dropped from 33rd to 34th.

County and city numbers, which will be released over the next several months, will show that the 2020 Census is the first to reflect that the City of Nashville is larger than Memphis. Estimates placed Nashville ahead of Memphis several years ago.

The numbers also are expected to show another decline in Memphis’ population.

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