By Jimmie Covington

It is now less than six months before the once-a-decade federal census will be taken on April 1.

The results of the population headcount will affect a lot of things and will answer a lot of questions.

As far as Memphis and Shelby County, some of the questions are: 

–Is Memphis one of the top areas in the county where Millennials have chosen to move during the last decade? Millennials are people who were born between 1981 and 1996 and reached young adulthood early in the 21st century.

A Time magazine story said that a firm the advises real estate companies had compiled data that showed Memphis ranked as the fourth most popular place in the country where Millennials were choosing the live.

The finding was based in part on an analysis of statistics produced by the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey and the bureau’s annual population estimates. Will the census headcount show a significant increase among residents here in the Millennials’ age group between 2010 and 2020?  (Note: This blog has pointed out that Time Magazine misinterpreted the data.)

— Will the new census reflect that Memphis has continued to lose thousands of residents each year to outward movement? At the start of his mayoral administration in 2016, Jim Strickland said one of his major goals was for Memphis to achieve a population increase without annexation.

According to Census Bureau population estimates over the past decade, Memphis and the nine county Memphis Metropolitan Statistical Area as a whole have lost thousands of residents to outward migration to other parts of the country.

The Census Bureau estimates for July 1, 2018, released earlier this year, show that Shelby County’s population had increased 8,082 since 2010. A breakdown of the figures showed Shelby County had 46,461 more births than deaths while losing a net of about 38,355 residents to movement of people.

For the metro area, the numbers were: A 25,791 population increase; a “natural increase” of 58,562 from births exceeding deaths, and a net loss of about 32,900 to migration.

All local, state and federal political districts here and nationwide will be redrawn based on the 2020 Census counts.

It likely that Shelby County’s representation in the Tennessee General Assembly will be reduced as a result of greater population growth in Middle and East Tennessee than in West Tennessee and Shelby County.

When the Tennessee General Assembly is redistricted before the 2022 elections how much more if not all of state Senate District 32 will be moved out of Shelby County. Paul Rose of Covington won election to the seat earlier this year to fill the vacancy created when the appointment of Mark Norris of Collierville to a federal court judgeship went into effect.

The new census numbers will determine how much more of District 32 will move out of Shelby County.

It is considered likely that Shelby County will lose one state House seat and at least part if not all of a second seat under the redistricting. Since Republicans have political control of the legislature and will be in charge of redistricting, House districts that will be eliminated undoubtedly will be those currently held by Democrats.

This post is written by Jimmie Covington, veteran Memphis reporter with lengthy experience covering governmental, school, and demographic issues. He is a contributing writer with The Best Times, a monthly news magazine for active people 50 and older.  


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