The 10 Worst Places To Live In Mississippi For 2021

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 2021. This is our seventh time ranking the worst places to live in Mississippi.

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 62 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 2021

  1. Forest
  2. Louisville
  3. Holly Springs
  4. Gulfport
  5. West Point
  6. Picayune
  7. Moss Point
  8. Kosciusko
  9. Philadelphia
  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 2021.

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 2021

Forest, MS

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 5,629
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $77,200 (4th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 9.9% (17th worst)
More on Forest:  Data | Photos

Located about 45 minutes east of Jackson, Forest lives up to its name. It's located inside the Bienville National Forest, making the area a draw for tourists and giving its 5,629 residents access to plenty of outdoor fun.

There are downsides, though. Given its remote location, the area suffers from a lack of housing and a difficult job market. A weak education system and a scarcity of amenities also causes problems.

The unemployment rate in the region comes in at 9.9%. Meanwhile, the median income equals $27,165. Schools in the region are mediocre at best, topping out at a score of 6/10 on Great Schools.

Louisville, MS

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 6,124
Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $83,500 (8th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 9.8% (18th worst)
More on Louisville:  Data | Photos

Louisville, Kentucky, is one of the main metropolitan areas of that state. Louisville, Mississippi...not so much. In fact, this town of 6,124 residents is located in a rural part of the Magnolia State, more than an hour and a half away from Jackson. This Louisville is also one of the most unappealing locations in all of Mississippi.

What makes Louisville so bad? Well, the area faces challenges related to jobs, housing, and education. The unemployment rate runs 9.8% and the median income sits at $31,272.

Locals do get some benefit from their isolated location. The town is situated just south of the beautiful Tombigbee National Forest.

Holly Springs, MS

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 7,737
Rank Last Year: 3 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $85,200 (10th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 11.2% (12th 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 $27,190, and homes only cost $85,200. 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.

Gulfport, MS

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 71,676
Rank Last Year: 9 (Up 5)
Median Home Value: $122,300 (33rd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 11.6% (9th worst)
More on Gulfport:  Data | Photos

Gulfport has a great location, sitting (as the name implies) along Mississippi's Gulf Coast. It features access to beach and water entertainment, as well as other recreational options. For instance, the Island View Casino Resort is located in town.

As a result of these amenities, Gulfport draws its share of tourists. However, for the locals, it represents a tough place to make a living. These economic woes make the town of 71,676 residents one of the worst places in Mississippi to put down roots.

Despite the attractions for vacationers, there aren't many economic opportunities in town. The unemployment rate sits at 11.6%. At the same time, the local median income hovers at $39,171, and 26.3% of people struggle on the wrong side of the poverty line.

West Point, MS

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 10,626
Rank Last Year: 29 (Up 24)
Median Home Value: $89,600 (14th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 11.1% (14th worst)
More on West Point:  Data | Photos

Actually, despite its name, West Point is located in the eastern part of the state. For a town of just 10,626 people, it features a strong cultural history.

However, day-to-day life in West Point can present a struggle. A lack of jobs and a high crime rate create problems. The unemployment rate runs to 11.1% and 30.6% of the residents live below the poverty line. Meanwhile, the crime rate tracks about 30% above the national average.

There are other problems in town as well. Education and housing are also concerns. Even the best local schools only rate a 5/10 on Great Schools.

Picayune, MS

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 11,040
Rank Last Year: 6 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $110,100 (24th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 13.8% (5th worst)
More on Picayune:  Data | Photos

Located along I-59 in the southwestern part of the state, Picayune gets its name from a newspaper, the New Orleans Daily Picayune. (The word itself comes from the name of a type of Spanish coin.) Picayune is located about an hour north of the Crescent City.

This city of 11,040 residents has major economic issues. Its unemployment rate stands at 13.8%. With a median income of $30,006, 33.3% of folks make due with sub-poverty wages.

Despite these challenges, Picayune has its charms.

Moss Point, MS

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 13,451
Rank Last Year: 17 (Up 10)
Median Home Value: $90,800 (16th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 8.5% (22nd worst)
More on Moss Point:  Data | Photos

Moss Point sits in the southeast part of the state, just north of Pascagoula, near the Gulf Coast. Biloxi lies about a half hour to the west, while a 40-minute drive east will take you to Mobile, Alabama.

The location does provide great access to the water. The 13,451 residents of the town can head over to the Grand Bay Savanna Coastal Preserve to take in the local national beauty. Unfortunately, a weak economy makes this one of the worst places in Mississippi to put down roots.

A lack of jobs acts as the main cause of concern in the area. The unemployment sits at 8.5%, while the median income hovers at $42,173. Meanwhile, there are also worries related to housing and education.

Kosciusko, MS

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 6,855
Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 4)
Median Home Value: $97,200 (17th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 13.5% (6th worst)
More on Kosciusko:  Data | Photos

Situated in a rural part of east-central Mississippi, Kosciusko suffers from a lack of good-paying jobs. The town's median income comes in a just $26,632, while the unemployment rate sits at 13.5%. Thanks to these figures, Kosciusko ranks as the number 8 least enticing spot in the state.

While a flailing economy causes most of the problems for the area, it suffers from a list of other issues as well. Housing, safety, and education also present challenges for the town's 6,855 residents.

Don't assume that everything about Kosciusko is terrible. The area has its selling points as well. The town acts as the county seat and provides a home for the annual Central Mississippi Fair.

Philadelphia, MS

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 7,218
Rank Last Year: 12 (Up 3)
Median Home Value: $80,600 (6th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 16.3% (worst)
More on Philadelphia:  Data | Photos

Philadelphia has a troubled history. In the 1960s, it was the site of the infamous murders of three civil rights workers. A different set of troubles haunts the town in the 21st century. Today, it stands as the number 9 most unappealing hometown in Mississippi.

A dismal economy provides the main challenge for the town's 7,218 inhabitants. Local jobs only generate a median income of $32,818. At the same time, the unemployment rate hangs at a frightening 16.3%. Education and housing are also concerns for the area.

Philadelphia has some bright spots. Counteracting those notorious murders, the area has other, more upbeat, history to commemorate.

Laurel, MS

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 18,508
Rank Last Year: 10 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $85,800 (11th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 8.1% (26th worst)
More on Laurel:  Data | Photos

Straddling I-59 in the southeastern part of the state, Laurel boasts an impressive nickname: "The City Beautiful." There is some truth to this title. The city of 18,508 people features a well-known Central Historic District.

Unfortunately, day-to-day life in Laurel isn't so pretty. A struggling economy and an elevated crime rate make this one of the least enticing locations in Mississippi.

The statistics tell most of the story. The unemployment rate sits at 8.1% and the median income comes in at $31,968. Meanwhile, the crime rate runs more than double the national average. Housing and education also present difficulties for the people of Laurel.

How we determined the worst places to live in Mississippi for 2021

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 62 cities.

We then ranked each city from 1 to 62 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 2021.

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

  1. Ocean Springs (Pop. 17,729)
  2. Brandon (Pop. 23,930)
  3. Madison (Pop. 25,592)

For more Mississippi reading, check out:

Where Are The Worst Places To Live In Mississippi?

Rank City Population Unemployment Rate Home Value
1 Forest 5,629 9.9% $77,200
2 Louisville 6,124 9.8% $83,500
3 Holly Springs 7,737 11.2% $85,200
4 Gulfport 71,676 11.6% $122,300
5 West Point 10,626 11.1% $89,600
6 Picayune 11,040 13.8% $110,100
7 Moss Point 13,451 8.5% $90,800
8 Kosciusko 6,855 13.5% $97,200
9 Philadelphia 7,218 16.3% $80,600
10 Laurel 18,508 8.1% $85,800

How Is The Area In ?

45 thoughts on “The 10 Worst Places To Live In Mississippi For 2021

  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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