Whiteville challenges 2020 Census population numbers

WHITEVILLE, Tenn. — One local town filed an appeal, challenging its 2020 Census population numbers.


The US Census Bureau released their 2020 Population Census. Officials with the town of Whiteville noticed something wasn’t right. That’s when town leaders took a closer look at the numbers.

“We see right away the drastic drop in the amount of our shared revenue, and we said something is wrong here. And we knew that the Census had just completed its thing, and we said it has to be with the Census,” said Whiteville Mayor Gene Bowden.

When the 2020 census was made public, 2,606 people were accounted for in Whiteville’s population. Bowden was offered a recount, but he says he didn’t think that’s where the problem was.

“So when we started to reach out and find out where the error was, I called the prison and I said, ‘Listen, didn’t anyone from the Census Bureau come in and take you guys’ count?’ And they said no, they didn’t come in. But they did call and our wardens gave them our current count,” Bowden said.

And that’s where the mistake was made. Bowden says 1,958 inmates were not included in the town’s population count, meaning that number of 2,606 people skyrocketed to 4,564 when the population was recounted.

“They are part of our infrastructure, they are a part of our sewer, our water system, which puts an extra burden on our town. And we are working diligently to get that upgraded for growth right now, and so we really needed that revenue,” Bowden said.

It took three years for Whiteville to see the changes corrected to its 2020 census. The change means an extra $30,000 a month in population-based revenue, which is about 30 percent of the town’s budget.

With the help and persistence of the city recorder, they were able to correct their census.

“Any town that experienced this problem, I would say don’t give up,” Bowden said. “Our city recorder, Miss Simmons, she did not give up. She made all the phone calls to all the right people, sent all the information they requested and did it all,” Bowden said.

Bowden says he is happy that the numbers have been updated and now hopes the revamping of the town will drive more people to move to Whiteville.

He says with Blue Oval City, only less than 30 minutes away, he hopes it will have a positive impact on the town.

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