What you need to know before moving to Mississippi

So you’re moving to Mississippi. That’s great! There are plenty of things to love about Mississippi. But before you start looking for Mississippi movers, there are some things you should know. And not the least of those is how to spell the state name (yes, all those consonants are duplicated). The climate, the job market, the cost of living – these are just some important pieces of information that you should look into before moving to Mississippi. Luckily for you, we have put together this handy primer on all things Mississippi that should help you out!

Quick statistics about the state of Mississippi

Popularly nicknamed The Magnolia State and The Hospitality State, the state of Mississippi is located in the southeastern part of the USA. Flanked by Tennessee, Louisiana, Alabama, and Arkansas, it is a part of the Deep South and the (in)famous Bible Belt. It is therefore not surprising that Mississippi is a red state and has not voted Democrat since 1976. Surprisingly, however, it is relatively diverse. The total population is just short of 3 million people. Of those, 59% are white, 37% black and 2.8% Hispanic. The titles of the largest city and the state’s capital both go to Jackson with a population of approximately 167,000 people.

Map of the US.
Mississippi is located in the southeastern part of the US.

Prepare for the hellish climate before moving to Mississippi

Probably one of the first things you’ll wonder about when moving to Mississippi is the weather. Mississippi has a humid subtropical climate. And if that doesn’t mean much to you, this might: the summers are long, hot and humid while the winters are short and mild. It hardly ever snows or even frosts here so that’s good news! The bad news is that Mississippi has frequent heavy rainfalls, thunderstorms, tropic storms, and even hurricanes. So while the temperatures are usually in the balmy 48-81 °F, you may want to reconsider moving house to Mississippi if you’re not big on humidity.

Brush up on geography: a combination of farmland and cities

Mississippi is full of farmland. Over 10 million acres of land are farms! It’s no wonder then that the state’s primary industry is agriculture which employs around 30% of the population. So if you’re a farmer and considering moving to Mississippi, you are in luck! Everything from poultry to soybeans to cotton to cattle and catfish is represented in Mississippi agriculture and farming.

Not much of a farm person? Not to worry! A number of cities dot the landscape of the state.

Largest cities in Mississippi

The largest cities in Mississippi are:

  • Jackson
  • Hattiesburg
  • Biloxi
  • Gulfport

All are located in the southern part of the state. While they can’t compete with the sheer size and numbers of places like New York, Chicago or Los Angeles, they do offer all the opportunities and commodities of a city.

Moving to Mississippi for education

Are you considering moving to Mississippi for education? The state has over 50 colleges, universities, and technical colleges so you’ll have plenty to choose from! And it actually gets better from there. Higher education is among the cheapest in the nation. Mississippi ranks 13th with the average cost of college tuition for residents only $4,624. Education here is therefore largely accessible to all citizens.

Women holding schoolbooks.
Education is accessible and affordable.

Quality of education in Mississippi

But, as ever, there’s bad news too. Education in Mississippi is hardly worth a long distance relocation, cheap though it may be. Reading and math scores are both among the lowest in the country. And despite access to higher education, only 22% of high school graduates hold a higher degree.

Moving to Mississippi for a job is not ideal

Another thing that shouldn’t be the primary reason for your move is the job market. Let’s just say that a commercial relocation to Mississippi may not be the best plan. Unfortunately, the economic state of Mississippi is far from ideal. You wouldn’t guess it from the low unemployment rate of just 4.5%. But there are other things to keep in mind! Job security, for example, is also quite low. So is the minimum wage which is stagnating at $7.25 per hour.

The number one industry is agriculture. Forestry follows closely behind. Besides these branches, manufacturing, trade, education and health services are the biggest employers.

But the cost of living (kind of) makes up for it

So the job market isn’t ideal. But the cost of living may well be! Overall, Mississippi is the 13th most affordable state in the country. And if we look only at the cost of living, it is actually the top ranked one. This may be because the cost of living is a whole 15% lower than the national average. And it doesn’t look like that is about to change. Despite the economic crisis, the cost of living has stayed more or less constant over the last decade.

Receipt on top of groceries.
The cost of living is among the lowest in the country.

Speaking of money: the taxes

As far as taxes go, Mississippi isn’t particularly special. There are three brackets for income tax:

  • 3% on the first $5,000 of income.
  • 4% on income between $5,001 and $10,000.
  • 5% on income of $10,001 and above.

The deadline to submit taxes is April 15th. This is all pretty standard.

Property taxes in Mississippi, however, are very low. The average annual property tax is just $768. This is less than half the national average! It actually makes Mississippi the state with the 5th lowest property tax in the US. Combine that with affordable housing and you have a homeowner’s dream. And that’s exactly what Mississippi is. Because nearly 10,000 people move out of state every year, the housing prices have dropped. Median home value throughout the state is just over $120,000 right now.

People and culture

One of the most important things you should know before moving to Mississippi is its culture, shaped by its people. A Southern state through and through, Mississippi is one of the most religious and most hospitable states in the country. The largely rural and low-income population embraces the Southern charm. Besides religion, soul, food, and music are the major cornerstones of the culture. Mississippi is very proud to call itself the birthplace of the King himself as Elvis was born in Tupelo, Mississippi. Overall, you can expect a pretty relaxed, slow-tempo and down-to-earth lifestyle.

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