The 10 Worst Places To Live In Mississippi

We used science to determine which Magnolia State cities are the real pits.

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Editor’s Note: This article is an opinion based on facts and is meant as infotainment. Don’t freak out we updated this article for 2020. This is our sixth time ranking the worst places to live in Mississippi.

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Mississippi is one of the nation's most beautiful states. Home to some of the most hospitable and friendly people in the United States, the Magnolia State is certainly one of the nation's gems.

However, is it all roses in Mississippi? Not at all. With every great place there, there's another one that's not so awesome. The purpose of this post is to find out, once and for all, which places in Mississippi are truly the worst. And we used scientific data to figure it all out.

Meaning, no arguing here. This is all based on science and it's unbiased.

After analyzing all 61 of the state's most populous cities, we came up with this list as the 10 worst places in Mississippi:

The 10 Worst Places To Live In Mississippi For 2020

  1. Forest
  2. Louisville
  3. Holly Springs
  4. Kosciusko
  5. Ripley
  6. Picayune
  7. Corinth
  8. Indianola
  9. Gulfport
  10. Laurel

What? Where are these places you wonder? And before you get all riled up and say we're picking on small town America, that's not the case.

We understand there's a lot of good in every place.

However, according to data (which doesn't measure things like beauty and 'friendly people'), there are far better options in the state for making a place home. And the worst place to live in Mississippi? That would be Forest.

Read on below to see how we crunched the numbers and see how your city fared in 2020.

If you're looking for something more national, check out the worst cities in America or the worst states in America.

For more Mississippi reading, check out:

The 10 Worst Places To Live In Mississippi For 2020

Forest, MS

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 5,668
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $76,900 (5th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 6.2% (44th worst)
More on Forest:  Data | Photos

When you're looking at science and data, the city of Forest is the worst place you can live in the state of Mississippi. Let's see why.

While some people have come to the defense of Forest as being 'not as bad' as it is portrayed in the media, the fact remains that this city deserves to be high on this list when you look at the data.

Crime is the 26th highest in Mississippi here. Residents have a 1 in 26.5 chance of being robbed every year within city limits. For Mississippi, that's really high.

The unemployment rate is 6.2%, which is the 44th highest in the state, and families earn just under $24,641 a year, which is the highest in Mississippi. 35.2% of the people here live below the poverty line.

Add it all up, and this is truly the worst place you could live in Mississippi.

Louisville, MS

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 6,298
Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $86,900 (11th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 12.3% (12th worst)
More on Louisville:  Data | Photos

When you're looking at the worst places you could live in Mississippi, Louisville came in 2nd. Let's see why.

When you're comparing the unemployment rate to the rest of the nation, Mississippi residents are very hard workers. But when comparing the unemployment rate among cities in Mississippi, you can see some really big differences. In Louisville, the number of people out of work is 12.3%

In Mississippi, that's the 12th highest in the state.

The residents in Louisville have the 12th lowest incomes in the state. Folks in Louisville average $32,131 a year. Which isn't too shabby in comparison to the other 'lowest' income cities in most other states.

Additionally, the homes are valued at $86,900 on average. That's the 11th lowest in the state.

Holly Springs, MS

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 7,578
Rank Last Year: 3 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $84,500 (9th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 9.6% (19th worst)
More on Holly Springs:  Data | Photos

Little Holly Springs, located near the Tennessee state line, is getting even smaller. The population here has shrunk 3% since the last census, and you can probably tell why when you look at the numbers.

Families earn almost less than any other cities in Mississippi at $27,630, and homes only cost $84,500. However, on the bright side, Holly Springs has the best weather of any other Mississippi city, measured in terms of humidity, sunny days and rain. So they have that going for them.

Kosciusko, MS

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 6,959
Rank Last Year: 9 (Up 5)
Median Home Value: $86,500 (10th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 13.1% (7th worst)
More on Kosciusko:  Data | Photos

Kosciusko is a really small, densely populated place in Mississippi.

The unemployment rate here is sky high at 13.1%, and income levels are the 4th lowest in Mississippi. Homes sell for an average of $86,500.

If you're trying to have some sort of professional career in Mississippi, this is one of the last places you would want to live.

Ripley, MS

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 5,282
Rank Last Year: 8 (Up 3)
Median Home Value: $100,200 (19th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 9.1% (20th worst)
More on Ripley:  Data | Photos

Welcome to Ripley, which might be one of the poorest areas in Mississippi. Residents average $39,631 a year in combined income, which is right at the poverty line. In fact, 22.8% of Ripley residents live below the poverty level.

Homes here go for an average of $100,200 and the unemployment rate hovers near 9.1%.

Picayune, MS

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 11,140
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 4)
Median Home Value: $117,000 (32nd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 13.5% (5th worst)
More on Picayune:  Data | Photos

Picayune ranks as the 6th-worst place in Mississippi due to a variety of factors, placing in the bottom third for unemployment, median income, and crime.

On top of that, residents have the 5th-worst commute of any place in the state.

Corinth, MS

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 14,647
Rank Last Year: 14 (Up 7)
Median Home Value: $106,500 (24th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 13.4% (6th worst)
More on Corinth:  Data | Photos

Corinth's situation is very similar to others on the list; bottom of the barrel scores in unemployment, income, and crime, with decent education statistics keeping it from the very top of this list.

Corinth has the 26th worst crime index of any place in Mississippi, and has the 27th lowest income.

Indianola, MS

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 9,624
Rank Last Year: 7 (Down 1)
Median Home Value: $73,100 (3rd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 16.4% (2nd worst)
More on Indianola:  Data | Photos

When you're looking at science and data, Indianola is the worst place you can live in Mississippi. Let's see why.

The unemployment rate here is 16.4%. The schools are underfunded, and property values are well below the state average. A home costs $73,100, which is a sure sign of lack of demand.

You have a 1 in 26.5 chance of being the victim of some type of property crime here every year. That's not fun, either.

Indianola is a far drive south from Louisville.

Gulfport, MS

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 71,570
Rank Last Year: 15 (Up 6)
Median Home Value: $120,600 (34th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 11.5% (14th worst)
More on Gulfport:  Data | Photos

Say what you want about how beautiful Gulfport might be. The fact is that the economy here is one of the worst in the state.

The unemployment rate rankss 14th highest in the state at 11.5%. Homes are the 34th lowest priced ($120,600), and the median income per household is just a tad over $37,811.

The fact is most of the people who live here are having a hard time making ends meet, when you consider their earned incomes and lack of jobs.

Laurel, MS

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 18,607
Rank Last Year: 11 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $87,300 (12th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 10.2% (17th worst)
More on Laurel:  Data | Photos

The unemployment rate in Laurel is a sky high 10.2%, which is the 17th highest in the state. Ouch.

The median income in Laurel is $33,940. That means 29.7% of the population is living below the poverty line. Crime isn't horrible here, but you have a 1 in 21.4 chance of being the victim of a property crime when you're within city limits every year.

How we determined the worst places to live in Mississippi for 2020

To figure out how bad a place is to live in, we only needed to know what kinds of things people like and then decide what cities have the least amount of those things.

We don't think it's a stretch to assume that people like the following things:

  • Good education
  • Lots of jobs
  • Low crime
  • Low poverty
  • Nice homes
  • High incomes
  • High population density (Lots of things to do)
  • Short work commutes
  • Health insurance

The data comes from the Census's most recent American Community Survey and from the FBI Uniform Crime Report.

We broke crime down into violent crime and property crime to give violent crime a larger weight -- if you did a simple calculation of all crimes per capita, property crimes are normally 7x more common and really bias that ranking.

Furthermore, only cities with at least 5,000 people were considered -- leaving 61 cities.

We then ranked each city from 1 to 61 for all the criteria with a #1 ranking being the worst for the particular criteria.

Next, we averaged the rankings into one "Worst Place To Live Score".

Finally, we ranked every city on the "Worst Place To Live Score" with the lowest score being the worst city in Mississippi -- Forest. Read on for a detailed look at the 10 worst cities in Mississippi. You can download the data here.

This list is a scientific analysis based on real data and is completely unbiased.

Wrapping Up The Worst In Mississippi

If you're looking at areas in Mississippi with the worst economic situations, where there's higher than average crime, and not a lot to do, this is an accurate list.

And in the end, Forest ranks as the worst city to live in Mississippi for 2020.

If you're curious enough, here are the best cities to live in Mississippi:

  1. Oxford (Pop. 23,037)
  2. Madison (Pop. 25,522)
  3. Ridgeland (Pop. 24,265)

For more Mississippi reading, check out:

Where Are The Worst Places To Live In Mississippi?

Rank City Population Unemployment Rate Home Value
1 Forest 5,668 6.2% $76,900
2 Louisville 6,298 12.3% $86,900
3 Holly Springs 7,578 9.6% $84,500
4 Kosciusko 6,959 13.1% $86,500
5 Ripley 5,282 9.1% $100,200
6 Picayune 11,140 13.5% $117,000
7 Corinth 14,647 13.4% $106,500
8 Indianola 9,624 16.4% $73,100
9 Gulfport 71,570 11.5% $120,600
10 Laurel 18,607 10.2% $87,300

How Is The Area In ?

45 thoughts on “The 10 Worst Places To Live In Mississippi

  1. Again, my opinion is that you missed…really big with some ‘misinformation’, errors on the part of the author. As a one-time resident of Vicksburg, it was a quaint, quiet town rich in culture…and crime was present, yet I just feel you missed again.

  2. Two of these cities had the 4th worst crime in the state??? One, you called 4th worst, the other you called 4th highest. Was there a tie, or is this sloppy journalism?

  3. I grew up in two of those towns and they reserve a taste for simplicity. There is some places that don’t need to change.

  4. I really don’t think it is right to add Waveland in this situation, that town was completely wiped out by Katrina, they have had a really hard time coming back, the insurance rates are so high for the coast, so many people were displaced that siting them as a bad city is not really fair

  5. This is the most ridiculous list I’ve ever seen….I’m not trying to be ugly, but you think theses places are worse than many towns in the Delta? Give. Me. A. Break.

    1. I agree. Unfortunately thats just how bad the delta is. Its so bad that their notierity isn’t even considered in a top worst list. I live in Greenwood, MS and life is a living hell here. The only thing we don’t have is a high crime rate but there’s nothing worth taking. And I’m far from poor only due to still kiving with my mom I’m jobless because no one wants to hire, There’s no formal demand for anything so I can’t even take a driver’s ed course. Among other things it’s complete shit

  6. I don’t know where you get your information but I live in Waynesboro ms.All my live
    It’s growing it don’t have the worst crime hardly none.
    IT is a small town but who ever your are you need to stop telling people
    This is this worst. Town
    Matter of fact
    Where do you new York.

    1. Seriously!! Meridian has a gang shooting every day and it didn’t even make the list?! Sounds like someone is just making things up as they go along.

      1. yeah meridian is WAY more violent. Maybe it’s not on the list because of the higher population? High population does NOT always equal better. Waynesboro is much safer than Meridian or Jackson, based on my experience.

  7. First as the Program Manager for Carthage Main Street I would like to ask the author when was the picture taken that was used in the articule. Carthage has undergone a renovation of its down at the tune of $700,000.00. Baptist Medical Centers must have felt there was something here because they just spent $22 plus million dollars on a new hosptial. As for defending your articule on scentific data grounds you should use more than a comment on Facebook from a man that leaves in Brandon. I challenge the author to come and spend the day with me and lets see what he thinks then. Plain and Simple. My treat.

    1. You misspelled article twice and he lives not leaves in Brandon. Thanks for making Carthage look dumb program manager.

  8. Sorry but your information is wrong about waveland. There are no vacant houses however there are vacant lots since we were ground zero for hurricane Katrina. We have spent more than 300 million dollars on infrastructure since Katrina. People please come to Waveland and see for yourself what a wonderful city we have. In fact our crime rate is very low. Also we have a July 4th celebration this Saturday on the beautiful beach that is being put on by USA today and destimation America that will be spectacular. It’s free so please join us and decide for yourself

    1. Crime is not low in Waveland, I just recently moved my family far away from Waveland partly due to the crime. I’ll agree that its a nice city that’s trying to come back from a tragedy like Katrina but something definitely needs to be done about the crime.

  9. I lived in waynesboro over half my life and currently live in foxworth just outside of columbia. Waynesboro is not a dump and is sure not the worst place in Mississippi to live. No there arent a lot of jobs but its an upstanding friendly community with a lot of good ppl, same with columbia. Being a very populated city does not appeal to everyone. Some folks like to keep it simple and live places that have value in its ppl not its attractions

  10. I’m not aware of the crime you are referring to. I have lived here for 29 years and haven’t seen that crime. We have a very well trained police force who is also very proactive. Sorry but I don’t agree with you.

  11. I live in Clarke County outside Quitman. My son is a DAV and a few years back we started going to Brandon after his visit to the V.A. hospital. We went to Kroger because we like the huge selection of produce and the meat/butcher dept. and their on sight sushi section where we often watch the people preparing it. Even the few non-Wal Mart stores in Meridian have very limited selections. Brandon is a beautiful city, it is clean and well maintained and the people are typical MS. friendly. We always enjoy going there. My only complaint is the roads. There are car eating pot holes that we have dodged over a year!! I also appreciate the presence of law enforcement, not so much that I want to leave, but enough that if I need them they are close by. Perhaps the author should have visited these cities or at least asked residents how they feel about their city,(on line) using the same questions that were used to get the inaccurate information.

  12. Clarksdale should be #1 on this list and they aren’t even in it.

    Now way Senatobia is in the top 10 worst places to live in this state.

  13. Ok. A lot of these towns I have been to and I agree with this list. As far as places in the delta,it said places with 5k + population. I lived in waveland and did a lot of work there and yes a lot of vacant homes not to mention the crime in bayside and shoreline.

  14. You obviously didn’t visit these towns, because if you had, you would have noticed the hospitality that Aberdeen, MS shows to all their visitors. The people of Aberdeen are dedicated to make their town a beautiful and friendly place to live. Because there’s limited industry in Aberdeen, many people who have grown up there don’t stay. It has almost become like a retirement community. There are hundreds of visitors who come thru Aberdeen during the Pilgrimage to tour the beautiful Antebelum homes. I suggest you go visit for yourself! You’ll find yourself taking this beautiful town off your silly little list. I wish there was a place where I could post pictures of Aberdeen on here. You might be surprised at how beautiful Aberdeen really is!

  15. Your misinformation about these municipalities is almost as atrocious as your sloppily written article. You’ve also selected some of the worst photos on the web to represent these beautiful towns. If you want to be taken seriously you need to get it together.

    1. The many beautiful antebellum homes in Holly Springs, and this “journalist” uses a photo from a dilapidated building that I don’t believe is even standing anymore…

      1. Although I totally disagree with your inaccurate data, Holly Springs, happens to be a border city to Memphis & the majority of there residents work & play on the other side of the state line. There are a lot of promonient families that reside there and own businesses. Your article is probably just a negative ploy against the many wealth/ affluent African american families that run that town. I think in order to be a credible journalist & to be taken serious you should perhaps take road trips to gather valid information. I’m baffled as to how a non Mississippian could publish such information & blame it on scientific fact….I beg to differ! When unicorns fly I might consider your findings valid, until then….stick to your day job!

  16. Waynesboro by far is a terrible jobs or place in life.the fortunate class of people thrive on the lower class for riches

  17. I was born and raised in Waynesboro. I had no idea that median income is so low, or that crime is so high. I have personally never experienced any problems with crime, nor has anyone I know.

    A lot of people are ready to defend this town, but in all honesty, to me, it really, really does suck. HOWEVER, it’s my home and I will always love it even though I am moving away. I think that things like this are very subjective. It is not something that should be measured by statistics and immediately written off as a bad place to live. I do not like it here, but I know a lot of people that are perfectly happy and will never move.

  18. I have heard that Waynesboro does not want new development as the business owners like the low wages in this town. When I was a kid in the 1960’s, Waynesboro had two movie houses, a vibrant downtown with shops, and several new car dealerships. Now NO new car dealers, no movies or entertainment, and the town center is essentially the Waly-Mart. The only new businesses are liquor stores as Waynesboro finally had the good sense to vote itself out from the States stupid prohibition laws. I have worked there and lived near Waynesboro most of my life.

  19. The writer of this article has undoubtedly never set foot in Pontotoc. If so, I believe he could have found a much better picture to post. I think he is wrong on the data about the number of tobacco stores. Why not make a visit to our fair city, meet some of the people, drive down Main Street and see if you will change your mind about Pontotoc?

  20. Ok most Mississippians prefer small town living. We deal with big cities when we have to but most prefer small town country living over city living. If you think small town living is for the birds guess what hit the state lines and go some where else cause we don’t need your negativity. The southern part of our state has suffered major losses from Katrina to the tornadoes that hit a lot heck. Yes there is a lot of unemployment but you will find that in any city or state look at the economy for the US so get it right. If you don’t personally visit each town then you can’t really down grade it. By the way your pictures are old I go to Waynesboro a lot and it doesn’t look like that and the one for Columbia must have been before the tornadoes hit Christmas week 2014. So get a life and leave our towns alone.

  21. My wife is from Grenada. We recently went house shopping there. We did not find a place to live. So your statistics are atleast wrong on that one. Probably wrong for some more of your facts too. Grenada has Grenada lake and which offers fishing boating camping and many other activities. My step siblings and their families spend most of their summers up their with their families. They have lots of good, non chain food places, they have a movie theatre gyms, local unique shopping. My father in law goes fishing every day, catches his limit & comes home.

    Your article should say 10 worst places to live based on our web searches of towns over 5000 people.

    Look at Tchula and Durant and, belzoni, Lexington, MS. They are some of the worst. You might not be familiar with some of our cities and what they truly have to offer, but as I spent years in the military and now travel with my wife to her contract assignments for her work, (by the way she graduated from Grenada HS and makes on average over 35 dollars an hour.) There is no place like MS. Id rather live there than anywhere else!!! You need to really look into other towns. There’s a lot worse than the ones you named. You people need to pull your heads out of your butts and clean out your ears and noses. The only thing else I can say to you is “Bless your heart”
    And you’ll have guess how it’s meant. It has a few meanings but my MS friends will know exactly what I’m trying to convey to you.


  23. I would like to see the methodology you used derive one number from the eight data sources. You seemed to randomly pick “bad” items to quote about the worst towns. I also question why you did not include Olive Branch and Southaven which would fall on the “better” end of the ranking. This omission makes me question then thoroughness of your journalistic reasearch

  24. In the 2015 U.S. News Best High Schools rankings, 93 Mississippi schools earned bronze medals. Only one Mississippi school, Pass Christian High, earned a silver medal.

    Grenada High earned a bronze medal. Grenada Elementary frequently gets national accolades. Don’t judge education by amount of spending. Look at what’s being done (or not done) with the money. Typical of this day and age that a ‘journalist’ would look at dollar figures rather than quality.

  25. I live in Waynesboro and I love it! Wouldn’t of wanted to raise my Kids anywhere else, small town with a lot of love. We do have some crime, but we’re very loving God fearing small town country living! We do need more things for kids to do and entertainment but to say we’re the worst place to live is wrong and need to get your facts right before posting

  26. The facts on Mississippi:

    1. Most Uneducated State
    2. Most Obese State
    3. Most Religious State
    4. Jackson, MS is the 3rd Most Dangerous Mid Size City in America
    5. Poorest State
    6. Most Charitable/Giving State
    7. New HIV/STD infections are the highest in the country here
    8. Highest Teen Pregnancy rate

  27. How does one forget Clarksdale? During the late 1980’s, the crack epidemic took off. A lot of Chicago gang members caught drug charges and fled to Clarksdale to live with relatives. Their mentality spread like fire…In some neighborhoods, it is not safe to walk in the daytime, let alone at night. Do your research.

  28. They left out Greenville. The so-called Queen City of Delta & the seat if Washington County with 30 something thousand population and not even 1 friggin taxi cab! Aug 1 2017 I’m leaving never to return to this Dump!

  29. Im just wondering why utica is not on any of the worst lists. I just moved from there and that was the best decision i ever made.

  30. Yes I am from waynesboro ms and it use to be a safe to live but now u have worry about the youth today and we are changing if u can get the police to solve some muders and stop trying to worry about drugs we can change and yes remember we are talking about Mississippi

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