Mississippi, often known as ‘The Magnolia State’ or ‘The Hospitality State’, has much to boast about. The nicknames should give you a bit of a hint! Being smaller than most of the other states of America, the richness of the flora and fauna will make you feel closer and develop a love for the environment. You will find a much more friendly and relaxed atmosphere in this state because of the warmth and affection of the residents.
Ranked as one of the most affordable states of America, if you are considering moving to Mississippi for the next chapter of your life, look no further! We are here to provide you with all the details necessary to know about their economy, cost of living and more.
What Should I Know Before Moving To Mississippi?
The state of Mississippi is located in the southeastern region along the borders of Alabama to the east, Tennessee to the north, Louisiana and the Gulf of Mexico to the south, and Louisiana and Arkansas to the west. With a net area of 48,441 square miles (125,460 square km), approximately 2,976,149 residents reside in the state, according to a 2019 census. Although being a smaller state, Mississippi is considered America’s 32nd largest and most populous state.
Mississippi is unlike a concrete jungle. Half of the state’s area is forested by cultivated or wild trees like oaks and pines. The Mississippi Alluvial Plain, which is in the southern part, is decked with cottonwood and willows and the Jackson prairie consists of hickories and sugarberry trees.
Despite having a small coastline, Mississippi does have a few beaches. Locals suggest Gulfport beach as the best in the state. It is clean, does not get too crowded and there is ample space to fish or water ski. If you desire a more adventurous route, then Horn Island is the place you should go, which is not too far from Gulfport. You can get there by booking a tour boat or kayaking the journey there. It has one of the softest and whitest sands along the Gulf Coast, making it the best place for a picnic or a romantic getaway.
You should also know that several well-known celebrities like Oprah Winfrey, James Earl Jones, B.B. King, Muddy Waters, and Morgan Freeman were born in Mississippi.
Also Read: 8 Reasons to Move To The Southeast
Crime Rate In Mississippi
NeighbourhoodScout states that the annual crime rate is 26.54 per 1000 residents. For violent crimes, the crime rate is 2.78 per 1000 residents, which is less than the national median. That means your chances of being a victim of a violent crime is 1 in 360. The crime rate in Mississippi for property crimes is 23.76 per 1000 people. In other words, your chances of being a victim of a property crime are 1 in 42 as per NeighbourhoodScout.
Mississippi has a humid subtropical climate due to its geographical placement. The state is made up of lowland plains and low hills all within the Gulf coastal plain. Summers are hot and humid whereas winters are pleasant. Freezing spells are rare, so do not worry about wearing 3-4 shirts at once.
The mean annual temperatures range between 62°F in the north and 64°F along the coastal belt. May to September is unpleasant with high levels of humidity and hot days and nights. Temperatures can rise above 100°F ( 37.8°C) at the peak of summer. In the north, the average winter temperature is approximately 27°F (-2.8°C).
Mississippi is one of America’s wettest states with an average annual rainfall of 56″ (1422.4mm). The north and west receive the maximum precipitation during winter while the coast has the maximum summer rainfall. However, during the fall season, you will get 8″ (203.2mm) to 13″ (330.2mm) of rain, which makes it feasible for harvesting. Mississippi is a less snowy state, with the average annual snowfall of 0.2″.
Thunderstorms, floods, tornadoes, and droughts are common in the state. Especially, in the spring and summer season, when afternoon thunderstorms bring heavy rainfall and high winds affecting the coastal zone the most. Be aware of the summer season as the Bermuda high causes droughts that can last for weeks or even months.
How Expensive Is It To Live In Mississippi?
Moving to a different state can be tedious. It involves a lot of researching, planning, and knowing what suits best to your budget. To plan accordingly, you need to calculate the amount of salary that will potentially go into taxes, utility bills, house maintenance and then determine the choice you are making.
Cost Of Living In Mississippi
Living in Mississippi is the cheapest since the overall cost of living is 15% lower than the national average. If you are deciding to live in Mississippi, you will have to pay approximately $1,533 as the state tax with your income tax totaling $8,329 with the median household income as $45,792. Additionally, your sales tax will be $853 whereas your fuel and property tax will be $215 and $1,867, subsequently. Retirees are exempted from income taxes on retirement income that includes pension, social security, and IRA payments. So if you ever decide to retire, Mississippi is meant for you. As per SmartAsset, your total estimated tax burden will be $11,265. If you are worried about childcare, Mississippi offers the best services to the tune of $2,869 per year.
According to PayScale, utility prices are 4% higher than the US average. However, grocery prices are 11% lower than the national average with a loaf of bread at $2.95, a tray of eggs at $1.60, a bunch of bananas at $2.97, and a gallon of milk at $1.72. If you have a hard day and need a beer, you will have to pay 4$ for a domestic beer.
Buying A House
If you are looking to buy a house in Mississippi, the average home price will cost you $252,725, according to US News. The median home value across the state is approximately $126,837 with housing costs at around $765 per month. Looking at housing as an asset, the market has increased by 8% annually in value, thus proving that it is economically feasible to purchase a house.
Renting A House
Around 66% of the population of Mississippi have their own place. The remaining rent their homes based on the size and the number of bedrooms the place has. The average market rent is $977, which is below the national average as shared by NeighborhoodScout. A studio apartment will cost you $554 whereas $612 will fetch you a 1-bedroom apartment. Similarly, a 2-bedroom will cost you $746 and a 3-bedroom will be at $979. If you are planning to move in with your family, a 4-bedroom will be approximately $1125 as indicated by Best Places.
You will need the basic amenities to live in a new state. The average price for basic utilities will round out to $285. Electricity bills are approximately $129 while water bills are $23 per month. A basic internet plan will cost you $30 monthly whereas a cable plan starts at $40 per month. The average gasoline cost is priced at $3 per liter.
See Also: Cost Of Utilities By State
Mississippi Economy And Employment Opportunities
Being smaller than most of America’s states, Mississippi does not have a huge GDP. In 2020, the state’s GDP was $99.76 billion, a decrease from the state’s previous year’s $102.66 billion. The lush vegetation suggests that agriculture is Mississippi’s primary contributor to the economy. It is a 7.5 billion-dollar industry that employs approximately 17.4% of the state’s workforce. The state covers 34,700 farms, totaling about 10.4 million acres of land. Behind cotton, Mississippi’s main crops are corn, wheat, peanuts, rice, and sweet potatoes with soybeans being the most cultivated crop yielding approximately $1.21 billion in revenue. On the contrary, most of the state’s farms rear livestock contributing $2.16 billion to the economy.
Manufacturing is the next major contributor to the state’s economy. Well, the level of production is not as large as other states, but it is a consistent source of employment to the locals. Some of the state’s primary processes include automotive parts, wood-related products, processed foods, and furniture. If you wonder where those swanky ships come from, head over to Pascagoula, they make well-built and sturdy ships.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics determines surgeons as the highest paid profession in Mississippi. Zippia suggests that surgeons earn an average of $282,660 per annum, making it the most sought profession in the state. Also, that survey points that family medicine physicians earn an average of $229,520 per year. If you are a dentist, you will earn $168,250, whereas a pediatrician will earn $202,290. Teachers are in high demand as well. Postsecondary Chemistry teachers earn an average of $76,790 while physics teachers earn $81,790 per annum. Since manufacturing is Mississippi’s second most top contributor to the GDP, engineering is booming. Electronic engineers earn approximately $93,230 and mechanical engineers get a sum of $84,460 whereas industrial engineers get $83,140 per annum.
Mississippi is not seen as an education-centric state, but a report on Wlox shows that the state’s education has improved nearing the national average. If you are considering completing your education over there, Mississippi has 41 public colleges and 35 private institutions to choose from. Some of these are Millsaps College and Belhaven University in Jackson, Delta State University in Cleveland, and Alcorn State University in Lorman.
All major decisions for the public education sphere are taken by the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) in terms of governing policies or monitoring funds. The state has 8 public universities to choose from. If you are seeking to pursue a degree in digital communication or media, then many locals will tell you to enroll at the University of Mississippi. If you prefer a women’s only institution for you or your child, the Mississippi University for Women Academics offers quality business administration and management; health and physical education, and registered nursing courses.
Getting Around Mississippi
If you need airway commute options, the state has three main airports to select. For international travel, choose the Jackson-Medgar Wiley Evers International Airport (JAN) or the Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport (GPT). They have more international routes and airlines to book from. The third, Stennis International Airport (KSHA), is more local and provides nonstop flights to or from Atlanta.
Three main railroad companies provide transportation within and outside the state. Amtrak is the best option for traveling to Mississippi from other states. Amtrak Crescent has lesser coverage in-state with 4 cities and towns whereas the Amtrak City of New Orleans has the best coverage with 7 cities in total. All in all, trains aren’t really the best way of getting around Mississippi because the overall connectivity within the state isn’t that great and the mode of transportation is slow as well.
All highways within the state are supervised by the Mississippi Department of Transport (MDOT). The state has 4 primary interstate highways that connect from New Orleans to the Gulf Coast of Mississippi. There’s also the Greyhound Bus services and the Delta Bus Line which serves numerous parts of the state. Although, there are parts of the state where both these bus services won’t really have a strong connection in, so it’s better to check that up.
Fortunately, there are transportation services provided by the Mississippi Department Of Transportation for various counties and regions. These are segregated under regional groups such as Trans-Con, Southern Connect and SMART among others. Interestingly, these can also be specialized transportation services for students, college staff and employment trips to business areas among a few others.
Best Cities To Live In Mississippi
Madison reeks with history and culture. Named after America’s fourth president, James Madison, the city is regarded as the best city to live in, according to Niche. What’s great is that the city is located just 10 miles away from the state’s capital, Jackson, with a small population of 25,592. The people here are friendly and educated, so you will have good company when you have moved in. New Orleans and Memphis are just a 3-hour drive from Madison, so if you have friends or family living there, you’re in luck. Also, Jackson International Airport is 30 mins away from the city, which means you will escape long distances or heavy traffic.
Madison has several recreational activities as well. Need to practice your swinging skills? Head over to Liberty Park. They have a couple of baseball, softball, and soccer fields including two volleyball courts. Malco Grandview Cinema’s multiple screen facility will surely coerce you to watch a movie with your loved one with rocking chairs, cup holders, and stadium seating too. Madison is recognized as one of America’s safest cities due to the low crime rate and is seen as the best place for retirees.
- Median Home Value: $261,900
- Median Rent: $1,549
- Unemployment rate: 3.7%
Having a population of 24,269, this suburb of Jackson is ranked second as one of the best cities to live in Mississippi, according to Niche. With a median household income of $60,823, Ridgeland is growing fast due to new businesses and restaurants. All of this is possible due to the community’s amiable behavior towards each other and to visitors alike, making it one of America’s warmest communities to live with. Apart from a sound neighborhood, Ridgeland’s scenic beauty will make you take frequent trips up and down the driveway.
The Natchez Trace Parkway is a recreational hub for cyclists and motorists alike who enjoy a scenic route. If you are searching for a spot to fish and sail, Ross Barnett Reservoir has ample space for watersports or to spend the evening with family. Ridgeland also runs a professional tennis center called the Ridgeland Tennis Center, consisting of 17 courts that are publicly viable to anyone who enjoys the game. Speaking of security, Ridgeland is safer than 39% of cities in the United States with a crime rate of 8%, which is lower than the US average.
- Median Home Value: $186,500
- Median Rent: $1,043
- Unemployment Rate: 4.8%
3. Ocean Springs
This might be the town of your dreams. With a population of 17,729, the small coastal town of Ocean Springs is a breath of fresh air, hemmed with a diverse range of shops and restaurants suited to the tastes of locals and visitors. Known as ‘The City of Discover,’ Ocean Springs is pervaded with a rich artistic community and is known for the Peter Anderson Arts And Crafts Festival, the largest festival in the state curtating approximately 300 artists that showcase all sorts of talents. Crime rates are 16% higher and 40% safer than the national average.
- Median Home Value: $174,000
- Median Rent: $954
- Unemployment Rate: 6.7%
Is Mississippi A Good Place To Live?
It goes without saying that no state is perfect. Yes, Mississippi has its cons, but the lush vegetation and laidback lifestyle accounts for it. The weather is decent, and the employment opportunities are vast in the agricultural, technological, and education sector. The people are good and the air is much healthier than other states of America. If you desire a serene lifestyle away from the hustle and bustle, then Mississippi must be on your planning list.
Also Read: List of Affordable Movers in the US