Exiting Mississippi: Census finds state again loses people

For the third year in a row, the Census Bureau estimates that Mississippi's population fell, as more people moved away from the Magnolia State than moved in.

Posted: Dec 21, 2017 6:42 PM

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — For the third year in a row, the Census Bureau estimates that Mississippi's population fell, as more people moved away from the Magnolia State than moved in.

The estimate, released Wednesday, shows that Mississippi lost about 1,300 people from July 1, 2016, to July 1, 2017, falling to 2.98 million people.

While Mississippi had 6,500 more births than deaths during the year, the state lost almost 8,000 people to out-migration. Mississippi is the only southern state besides West Virginia seeing outmigration. Only West Virginia and Illinois have lost population for more years in a row.

John Green, a University of Mississippi professor who directs the school's Center for Population Studies, says people are leaving Mississippi in search of better opportunities.

"If I had to argue one prevailing reason for net out-migration from Mississippi, I would focus on the search for socio-economic opportunities and wellbeing," Green wrote in an email.

Mississippi's recovery from the recession has been one of the nation's weakest . Although the unemployment rate has hit a record low this year, employer payrolls and the size of the overall economy have yet to straggle back to where they were in 2008. Among those who appear most likely to take flight are people who are young and well-educated.

According to a report prepared last year for the College Board, only a few more than half of the graduates of Mississippi's eight public universities are working in the state five years after graduation. Those who earn degrees in high-paying fields such as engineering, math, and physical sciences are among the most likely to leave.

Mississippi was one of eight states estimated to lose population, along with neighboring Louisiana. The state with the largest percentage decline was Wyoming. Idaho grew the fastest, percentage-wise. Estimates show Mississippi has lost about 8,000 people since its population peaked just short of 3 million in 2014. Arkansas, which had 25,000 fewer people than Mississippi in 2014, now has 20,000 more.

Tim Mask, a Jackson advertising agency executive who's active in trying to reduce Mississippi's "brain drain" said he's alarmed because the people who are leaving are those who would earn high salaries, taking potential tax revenue with them and leaving behind an older, poorer population to pay for the state's needs.

Mask is pushing legislation that would rebate some or all of a recent college graduate's state income taxes if they stayed in Mississippi for five years. He hopes to rebate the entire amount tax free to anyone who buys a house or becomes an owner of a closely-held business.

"We need to look at it not just from a standpoint of retaining individuals, but attracting new individuals," Mask said. "We're the only Sunbelt state losing population and if you look at the people we are losing, we need to do something a little more innovative."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 67649

Reported Deaths: 1912
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds5613118
DeSoto365831
Harrison252036
Madison242266
Rankin228334
Jackson227642
Jones189958
Forrest180656
Washington166341
Lee146241
Lauderdale141292
Neshoba128692
Lamar122014
Oktibbeha112239
Bolivar111334
Warren109333
Lowndes107737
Panola105913
Sunflower103925
Scott100320
Lafayette97316
Copiah95428
Pike93636
Leflore93363
Holmes89248
Grenada84721
Yazoo83112
Pontotoc8278
Lincoln81741
Monroe79655
Simpson79630
Leake78825
Wayne76721
Coahoma76013
Tate73429
Marshall6959
Marion67720
Union63616
Adams62325
Winston62016
Covington61213
George5815
Pearl River55039
Newton54211
Tallahatchie53110
Attala52225
Walthall50220
Chickasaw46219
Noxubee45711
Alcorn4285
Calhoun4189
Tishomingo4175
Prentiss41210
Claiborne40713
Smith40513
Clay39614
Hancock39014
Jasper3869
Tippah36613
Itawamba35910
Tunica3377
Clarke32726
Montgomery3265
Lawrence3238
Yalobusha31510
Humphreys29311
Quitman2691
Carroll26111
Greene25012
Perry2367
Webster23412
Kemper23314
Amite2326
Jefferson Davis2316
Wilkinson21213
Stone1995
Sharkey1975
Jefferson1967
Benton1441
Choctaw1344
Franklin1272
Issaquena261
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 99390

Reported Deaths: 1733
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson13109243
Mobile9947207
Montgomery6835148
Madison537834
Tuscaloosa421373
Unassigned359961
Baldwin354425
Shelby328335
Marshall316736
Lee267845
Morgan239318
Etowah212131
DeKalb181913
Calhoun178414
Elmore172338
Walker152664
Houston139812
Russell13682
St. Clair133817
Limestone133313
Dallas132323
Franklin127420
Cullman122512
Colbert118113
Autauga116921
Lauderdale116719
Escambia108217
Talladega102614
Jackson9894
Tallapoosa85579
Chambers84138
Dale83424
Blount8004
Chilton7926
Butler76436
Coffee7616
Covington73520
Pike7097
Clarke6629
Barbour5755
Marion57424
Lowndes57224
Marengo55215
Hale47626
Bullock46411
Winston45311
Perry4424
Bibb4385
Wilcox42910
Monroe4214
Randolph40110
Pickens4009
Conecuh39310
Washington39112
Sumter36018
Lawrence3491
Macon33514
Crenshaw3185
Choctaw28312
Cherokee2737
Henry2633
Geneva2611
Clay2585
Greene25111
Lamar2222
Fayette2075
Cleburne1271
Coosa1012
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