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2023 Population Estimates show nominal growth

On March 14, the U.S. census office released updated county population estimates as of July 1, 2023. For Missouri, as well as our region, population estimates were relatively flat for this year.

The Census Bureau's Population Estimates Program (PEP) produces estimates of the population for the United States, its states, counties, cities, and towns, as well as for the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and its municipios. According to their press release number CB24-44:

“More U.S. counties experienced population gains than losses in 2023, as counties in the South saw faster growth and more Northeast and Midwest counties had population losses turn to gains, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Vintage 2023 estimates of population and components of change released today.”

In our region, most counties saw a slight increase in their population estimates compared to the 2022 numbers, where the majority of the region saw an estimated decline in population. Only in the bootheel counties of New Madrid, Pemiscot, and Dunklin showed a continued trend of population loss in the region. While there is some positive news in the changing trends, the majority of Southeast Missouri is estimated to be less populated than at the 2020 decennial census.

For businesses and community leaders, this trend is an area that should be a top focus as we face increasing workforce shortages, shifting market demands, and desires for growth. It is important to look at the bigger picture. Population growth in a few communities as the expense of our neighbors doesn’t build a stronger region. Working together to reverse this trend and help grow southeast Missouri should be a priority for all of us in the coming months and years.