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Population shifts, political dynamics reflect changing times

By Staff
Jan. 1, 2002
The political dynamics under which east Mississippians elect their public officials changed drastically in 2001 and implications of congressional redistricting and population shifts are enormous.
Census 2000, released in April 2001, showed that, for the first time, Meridian's population became majority black. The city now has a voting age population that is 52 percent black.
Meanwhile, as the city showed a decline in total population, Lauderdale County's population edged upward to just more than 78,000 reflecting that more city residents are relocating to the county than new residents are moving in from outside the area.
Mississippi's relatively slow growth caused the loss of one seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, setting up a potential political showdown between U.S. Rep. Chip Pickering, R-Miss., and U.S. Rep. Ronnie Shows, D-Miss.
After often-contentious debate laced with political overtones, the state Legislature was unable to draw new congressional districts in Mississippi this year, throwing the issue into the courts.