Figures released August 12 by the U.S. Census Bureau show Red Bay has appeared to stop a population decline with an increase of 74 residents over the 2010 Census. Belmont and Tishomingo County as a whole, though, appear to have lost population.
According to the Census Bureau, Red Bay’s population in 2020 stood at 3,232 – which is the same number the Census tabbed for the community in the 1980 census. Red Bay, Russellville and Franklin County as a whole showed population increases, while Vina, Phil Campbell and Hodges each showed declines.
Vina’s new population figure stands at 325, which is a loss of 33 people, or 9.2 percent, from the 2010 count. Hodges lost 23 people, down to 265, while Phil Campbell was hit the hardest, losing 156 residents, or a 13.6 percent drop, for a new population of 992.
Russellville appears to have led in Franklin County’s overall increase as the county seat showed a gain of 10.4 percent, for a new population count of 10,855.
In county results, Franklin and Itawamba counties experienced slight growth between 2010 and 2020, while Marion and Lawrence counties in Alabama and Tishomingo County in Mississippi each saw a contraction in their population base.
Figures from the 2020 Census show Franklin County’s population grew by 409 residents in the 10-year period, from 31,704 to 32,113, for a growth rate of 1.3 percent. Franklin joined Colbert (5.1 percent) and Lauderdale (0.9 percent) counties in seeing population growth.
Other neighboring counties, though, saw decreases in population. Lawrence County’s population declined 3.7 percent, down 1,266 to 33,073, while Marion County’s population decline was more significant, down 1,435, or 4.7 percent, to 29,341. Winston County’s population declined as well, down 944 or 3.9 percent, to 23,540.
In Mississippi, Itawamba County saw nearly an identical amount of growth as did Franklin County, adding 462 people to increase to 23,863. Tishomingo County, though, lost 743 residents between 2010 and 2020, or 3.8 percent, to register 18,850.
Change of classification
Belmont will likely lose its classification as a city according to Mississippi state law as the community lost 162 residents from the 2010 Census. The 2020 count shows Belmont now stands at 1,859 residents. The classification change will also mean changes for the town, such as the loss of the ability to run radar in its police cars. An appeal of its final count and a change that would show a population over 2,000 residents would be required in order for Belmont to maintain its current status. The town of Nettleton faced the exact same situation in 2010, when its population count showed 1,992 residents, just eight shy of the threshold. An effort to change that count was not successful.
State law requires at least 2,000 residents, or the classification as a city, for a municipality to run radar. This will leave Iuka as the only city in Tishomingo County with that ability and will place speed detection for the rest of the county in the hands of the Mississippi Highway Patrol.
In other nearby Mississippi communities, Iuka’s population grew 3.7 percent to 3,139; Tishomingo was up 3.7 percent to 370; Golden was essentially unchanged, gaining one resident for a new population of 192, while Fulton saw the largest increase at 14.7 percent for a new population count of 4,542.
Regional 2020 Census Results