Mississippi Facing Mass Exodus; Residents Are Leaving These Cities

Mississippi, known as the Magnolia State, is experiencing a concerning decline in its population. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, between July 1, 2022, and July 1, 2023, the state witnessed a net loss of 11,791 residents, marking the largest decline nationwide. This trend has persisted for several years, resulting in a loss of over 60,000 people since 2010.

The question arises: Why are individuals departing Mississippi, and which cities are they leaving? Let’s explore some potential reasons and examples.

Limited Economic Opportunities

A primary factor prompting people to leave Mississippi is the scarcity of economic prospects. The state boasts the lowest median household income in the country, standing at $45,792, coupled with the highest poverty rate at 19.6%. Mississippi also lags in education, healthcare, and infrastructure, impacting the overall quality of life and growth potential.

Cities experiencing population decline due to economic stagnation include:

Jackson, the state capital and largest city, witnessed a 5.1% decrease, losing 6,267 residents between 2010 and 2020. Jackson grapples with challenges like crime, unemployment, and a shrinking tax base, leading to budget cuts and declining public services.

Greenville, situated along the Mississippi River, experienced a 14.9% decrease, losing 4,226 residents between 2010 and 2020. Once a thriving hub of commerce and culture, Greenville has faced challenges from the decline in agricultural and manufacturing sectors, racial tensions, and environmental issues.

Clarksdale, a city in the Mississippi Delta, saw a 16.4% decrease, losing 2,768 residents between 2010 and 2020. Despite being the birthplace of the blues, Clarksdale grapples with issues such as poverty, crime, and insufficient investment and innovation.

Attraction to Other States

Another contributing factor to Mississippi’s population decline is the allure of states offering better opportunities, amenities, and lifestyles. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2020, top destinations for Mississippians moving out of state included Texas, Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, and Florida. These states present advantages such as:

Higher incomes and lower costs of living. For instance, Texas boasts a median household income of $67,444, with a cost of living index at 93.9, compared to Mississippi’s $45,792 and 86.1.

Diverse and dynamic economies. Tennessee, for example, features robust industries like healthcare, tourism, music, and automotive, generating more job opportunities and income.

Attractive and livable cities. Georgia, with cities like Atlanta, Savannah, and Athens, provides a blend of culture, entertainment, education, and recreation.


Mississippi grapples with a significant outflow of residents, leaving behind cities wrestling with economic and social challenges. Addressing these issues is crucial for the state to retain and attract people, preventing further population decline and unlocking its full potential.


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