Mississippi doesn't have the greatest reputation as a state, but recent years have seen an increasing interest in people curious about moving to the area. So, is Mississippi a good place to live? Yes and no. Living in Mississippi is a great idea for people who appreciate spending time outdoors or who enjoy warm weather, but not necessarily for those who want an urban experience.
In this article, we're going to examine the pros and cons of living in Mississippi, gauge why people living in Mississippi enjoy it, check out factors like its cost of living, landscapes, and geography, and help you better understand if relocating here is the right idea for you. Our team carefully researches every facet of a state to help you better understand its overall quality.
We strongly recommend this article to anyone who's curious about what it's like to live in Mississippi, such as those relocating to the area for a new job or retirement. It's also good information for college students who aren't used to living outside their parents' homes. These details can give you the inside scoop you need to live comfortably in a new state.
So please make sure that you read through this whole article and examine each fact here with a careful eye. We did the hard work of figuring out whether living in Mississippi is a great idea and fully detailed many pros and cons of living in Mississippi. As a result, it should be easy for you to understand whether or not moving here makes sense for your budget, family, and personal needs.
Mississippi at a Glance
In this section, we'll let you know what living in Mississippi is like to give you a basic answer to the question, "Is Mississippi a good place to live?" Each section has been carefully researched to provide accurate and relevant answers. So, while you can find this information elsewhere, you won't find it collected in one place and presented so fluently and effectively outside this article.
Population and Diversity
Mississippi has a mostly stable population, which declined by just 0.2% between 2010 and 2020, according to the US Census Bureau. The total population is about 2,961,279 people, with around 1,319,944 housing units available. That's about two people per home in a state with a 12.3% home vacancy rate. Population density is rarely higher than 25-99 people per square mile.
Currently, about 58.8% of the state is caucasian or white, and a further 37.8% is African American. Small numbers of Hispanic people (3.6%), Asians (1.2%), and Native American (0.6%) people live in this state. Diversity is one of the many pros and cons of living in Mississippi, with more urban areas possessing a higher concentration of different types of people.
Living in Mississippi, there are multiple age groups. There are only 23.1% of people below 18 years of age and 17.3% of people who are over 65. That leaves 58.9% of people within these age groups, creating a pretty strong working population. The population is split pretty evenly between males and females, with 51.4% being female in this state.
Another of the major pros and cons of living in Mississippi is its diverse landscapes, which include multiple rivers (Mississippi, Big Black, Pearl, and Yazoo), as well as Woodall Mountain. The state also includes a low fertile delta, sandy coastal terraces, pine woods, and prairies that spread throughout the state in various areas and create a fascinating array of landscapes.
Typically, the state is split between the East Gulf Plain from most of the state and the Mississippi Alluvial Valley. The East Gulf Coastal Plain extends from Florida throughout most of the state beyond the floodplain of the Mississippi River. There are also wooded areas throughout the Pine Belt, the Central Prairie, and even hills and rides throughout the Northern Highland.
Geography and Climate
Mississippi's long periods of drought and floods are due to its rather fertile but sometimes clay-rich land and its proximity to the Mississippi River. Even in higher areas, Mississippi is fairly flat, with most of the state at or near sea level. That helps keep Mississippi a pretty warm state, as it's in a humid subtropical climate region. This indicates long and hot summers and mild winters.
Temperatures are typically about 62-68 degrees Fahrenheit on average, though they can jump close to the 80-90 range. Extreme heat is rare here, though high humidity can make it feel hotter and more uncomfortable. Don't expect much, if any, snow and very few cold spells or frost. Rain is typically pretty evenly distributed here, with a high risk of droughts in the summer.
Schools and Universities
Mississippi is broken down into 143 different school districts with 239 schools, 10,316 full-time teachers and 152,008 students. That's a teacher-to-student ratio of 1 in 15. Top-ranked schools include Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science, Ocean Springs High School, Lewisburg High School, and Natchez Early College Academy. Try these schools for your kids.
Mississippi also has high-quality higher education facilities where you or your young ones can prepare for a career. These include Alcorn State, Delta State, Jackson State, Mississippi State, and Mississippi State universities. Other popular institutions include The University of Southern Mississippi, The University of Mississippi, and the Mississippi University for Women.
Interesting Facts about Mississippi
When you decide to move to Mississippi, it's worth knowing some interesting facts about the area. As you might imagine, the state gets its name from the Mississippi River because it's at the mouth of this mighty waterway. The name itself comes from a beautiful Ojibwe word, misi-zilbi, which means "Great River." The state gets some tourism for its proximity to the river.
When initially settled, the state was occupied by three Native American nations: the Natchez, the Chickasaw, and the Choctaw. While not considered part of Tornado Alley, Mississippi does get an average of 27 tornadoes a year and is affected by hurricanes from time to time. That makes its weather an important factor to consider before living in Mississippi temporarily or permanently.
Interestingly, Mississippi is the birthplace of Memorial Day. In 1866, several women in Columbus decorated Confederate and Union soldier graves in the Friendship Cemetery. From there, this celebration spread through the state and the rest of the nation. In those days, it was known as "Decoration Day" and was focused primarily on soldiers lost in the then-recent Civil War.
Pros of Moving to Mississippi
The pros and cons of living in Mississippi are diverse and showcase a state that's far more interesting than many people may realize. Simply put, Mississippi has a lot to offer to the right person and advantages that might surprise you. Let's take a deep look at these to help you gauge whether moving to this sometimes misunderstood state is worth it for you.
If you love beautiful landscapes and outdoor living, Mississippi might be a great state for you. It's one of the most beautiful places in the country and has sprawling landscapes that feature gorgeous hills, valleys, mountains, and waterways. The state is also heavily rural, meaning that there are often large properties available for purchase. Make sure you do your research before moving to the state to find great and inexpensive properties for your relocation.
Reasonable Cost of Living
Are you looking for a state that won't cost you a lot of money? Mississippi has one of the best cost of living indexes in the nation, with a 78.7 score compared to the nation's 100 average. Most of this decreased cost comes in housing, which is 48.6 compared to the nation's 100. This means that Mississippi has a median home cost of $155,300 compared to the nation's $338,100 cost. Other lower areas include groceries, transportation, utilities, and miscellaneous expenses.
Cozy Weather Conditions
Based on temperature, Mississippi is one of the most comfortable places to live in the Nation, with temperatures that rarely dip below 40 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter (with little to no show) and which rarely go a lot higher than the upper 80s. While there are always exceptions (including very cold winter and very hot summer days), these remain rare. Expect rainfall to be between 3-5 inches every month, giving you a decent amount of precipitation.
According to Kiplinger, Mississippi is a very tax-friendly state with some of the lowest taxes in the nation. In fact, the state recently passed a law to gradually decrease individual income tax rates to just 4.0% between 2024 and 2026. All other taxes are low in this area as well, including decreased costs on things like gasoline and property. That makes it a good state to live in if you're someone who wants to avoid heavy tax bills or who can't afford them.
Cons of Moving to Mississippi
While it's true that living in Mississippi does have advantages, the answer to the question, "Is Mississippi a good place to live?" is far more complex than you might think. That's because there are many disadvantages to living in this state that might heavily impact your decision. Please read through these issues to get a better grasp of whether this is the right state for you.
While Mississippi may offer many beautiful landscapes and some well-earning jobs, it's ranked 49th in the nation for its overall employment strength. Its best ranking is 44 for growth, which is still very poor. The state also ranks 48 in business environment and 49 in employment. As a result, Mississippi is probably not the kind of place to move if you want to jumpstart your career, though jobs in education and healthcare are available in urban areas of the state.
Mississippi's close proximity to the Mississippi River, the Gulf of Mexico, and other waterways makes it one of the most humid places to live in the United States. Its relative humidity is rarely below 49% and can get as high as 94% during the summer. That humidity can make the state's otherwise reasonable temperatures seem unbearable. If you're someone who does not like high humidity, Mississippi is not the best state for you or your family.
According to US News, Mississippi is one of the worst states for transportation infrastructure, ranking 46 out of 50 in the nation. These include rankings of 29 for commute time, 28 for bridge quality, 38 for road quality, and 46 for public transit usage. The lower public transportation numbers are likely affected by the low population density of the state, with many areas being very rural. It's not a place to move if you're used to taxis, buses, and subway trains.
Troubles With Hate Crimes
According to the U.S. Justice Department, Mississippi experiences about 31 hate crimes every year starting in 2021. That's double the rate in 2020, and in 2019 and five times the number in 2019, though lower statistics may indicate a lack of reporting. These include crimes against people based on their race, sexual orientation, and gender. Note that this problem isn't a pandemic throughout every part of the state. That said, it's important to remember.
How to Decide If Mississippi is a Good Place to Live for You?
When gauging the question, "Is Mississippi a good place to live for me?" you need to not only consider the pros and cons of living in Mississippi but also get an idea of what kind of factors influence your relocation. There are a myriad of different concerns that you need to take seriously to ensure that you're happy with moving to this state.
Mississippi is one of the most rural areas in the country, with several areas of the state being nearly 100% rural land. It's not a state you move to if you want a big-city existence. While there are the largest places in the state, they rarely have more than 100-200 thousand people. The state itself has just over 2.5 million residents, which gives it a very low-key atmosphere. People who enjoy taking it a little easy and relaxing will likely find Mississippi a great place to live.
As one of the cheapest places to live in the nation, Mississippi is a great place to live if you have a low budget. Even in its biggest cities, the cost of living is well below the national average, which makes it easier for you to relocate here and live comfortably with a low-earning job. Note that rural areas are even cheaper, making it easier for you to enjoy a cozy lifestyle without having to work yourself to death trying to stay financially solvent.
Do you have low-level career ambitions and don't mind working in retail or service industries? Mississippi might be a good state for you. We can't recommend moving here if you want a high-earning job in tech or other industries. People with moderate or even low ambition typically find Mississippi welcoming, while those who want more out of life do not. You should also consider your children's career ambitions if you have any to consider.
Mississippi is probably a better state to live in if you are single or don't have children with your partner. Unfortunately, its weak economy and poor education are likely to make your kids' lives tougher, particularly if they want to stay in the area. While Mississippi does have family and children services, they aren't particularly strong or effective in helping your little ones. As a result, you should probably consider a different state if you have children.
Mississippi is not a state to move to if you value higher education. Though it does have strong universities, most of its graduates don't live in the state. With just 23.2% of its residents having bachelor's degrees, Mississippi is not an educational mecca. Furthermore, only 85.6% of its citizens have a high school degree, which is one of the lowest rates in the nation. If you're someone who doesn't mind lower education rates, you may enjoy Mississippi.
Interestingly, Mississippi is a fairly safe place to live for the most part. Its violent crime rates decreased by 42.3% between 2022 and 2023. Furthermore, its property crime rates decreased by nearly 43% in the same span, and society crimes dropped by 34%. These trends show that the state is a fairly safe place to live. We strongly recommend researching each county and city that you're considering moving to and ensuring that your family is safe.
Tips for Moving to Mississippi
Now that you understand the pros and cons of living in Mississippi, you should have a pretty clear answer to the question, "Is Mississippi a good place to live for me and my family?" If you plan on moving to this state, it's important to consider the following factors to ensure that you don't make any mistakes. These can greatly influence how easy it is for you to relocate.
- When to Move: It's best to move to Mississippi during the early fall season to avoid heavy humidity and high heat levels. Moving in the winter might seem smarter for that reason, but the many universities in the state are in session, which can make relocation tougher.
- Where to Live (and Avoid): Some of the best places to live in Mississippi include Madison, Ridgeland, Flowood, and Tupelo due to higher earning potentials and strong amenities. High crime and poor economies mean you should avoid Forest, Louisville, and Holly Springs.
- Job Types in Mississippi: Mississippi doesn't have a high earning potential, with many careers in retail and other service-based jobs being the most common. That said, there are opportunities for careers in education, healthcare, and even mechanic work available in the state.
- Renting vs. Buying: According to Go Banking Rates, average mortgages in Mississippi are $906, and average rental costs are $1,125. As a result, they strongly urge people to buy when moving here because the state has the ninth-lowest mortgage rate of all the states.
- Moving Companies: Before living in Mississippi, it's important to find moving companies that can help you relocate. There are many in the state, including highly ranked teams like John Fayard MOving, Marshall Moving Services, My Two Movers, and Mighty Men Movers.
While Mississippi does have several challenges that make it a tough place to live, it's worth living here if you enjoy comfortable weather and a rural environment. It's probably a better place to retire after your career is over and you can afford a comfortable and large property.
According to Go Banking Rates, Mississippi is the 42nd best place to raise a family due to a cheaper cost of living but a poor median income and low ACT scores. Its high school graduation rate is 83%, which is one of the worst rates in the nation.
Typically, people from Mississippi are considered friendly (it's called the Hospitality State, after all) due to the traditions of southern hospitality. Unfortunately, it also gets ranked as the most racist state in America, so make sure you're prepared for that when moving here.
Due to Mississippi's low cost of living, you can enjoy a living wage making just $15.42 per hour if you don't have a child. In homes where two adults work and you don't have children, a wage of just $12.61 per hour is good. Having a child often doubles the money you need to make.
When compared to all 56 American states and territories, Mississippi has the 53rd-highest rent average. Expect to pay $705 per month for a two-bedroom house in most of the state, though studio or efficiency apartments cost as little as $576 per month, which is suitable for younger students.
Unfortunately, Mississippi typically ranks as the worst place to work in the nation, with poor earning potential, minimal job opportunities, and an overall poor workforce. It's definitely not a state you move to if you're looking to make a lot of money quickly.
Even if Mississippi ranks as the 48th best state to live in overall with a 36th ranking in opportunity, it is considered the cheapest place to live in the country. Its cost of living and housing affordability are reasonable, making it a good place to live if you want to save money.
Written by Allen Lee
Read more posts by Allen Lee