CARUTHERSVILLE, Mo. (KFVS) - More than 52 Missouri counties lost population in 2018, according to new census data.
Pemiscot County lost 3.2 percent of its population, the biggest drop in the state. The data shows estimated county populations as of July 1, 2018.
“Grass isn’t always greener in a bigger city,” said Sue Grantham, Caruthersville Mayor.
She said she knew her city needed to do something after losing both Walmart and a local grocery store.
“And they leave because they think they’re gonna have a better life in the city and more to do there, and eventually some of them do come back home,” she said.
Mayor Grantham believes there are opportunities in Pemiscot County for everyone.
“For a small town even as we’ve progressed and grown larger over the years, the city itself there’s not as much red tape you have to go to you know to work and to find property and get stuff done," said Wade Mansfield, who owns Grizzly Jig Company in Caruthersville.
He attributes the population drop to industries changing and moving.
“A lot of stuff has changed now where before it took four or five people to plant a lot of ground and work a lot of ground with the size of the equipment and stuff like that, even the workforce in the Ag side has been cut back,” said Mansfield.
He said you can succeed in Pemiscot County.
“You have to look at it in a different light now, because a lot of the industry that was here is no longer here. So you’re either gonna have to do more agriculture or have to find a different niche,” he said.
Jana Merideth, Chairman of the Economic Development Action Team in Caruthersville, sees those same opportunities for people.
“If they’d stop and think about the different things like people retiring, there are certain services that they need. There’s an open market for a lot of younger people to come back for and have a very successful business," said Merideth.
Both Merideth and Grantham said they’re organizing events like catfish tournaments and a city branding celebration to help Caruthersville and Pemiscot County grow and attract more people and visitors.