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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:
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.
For more Mississippi reading, check out:
- Best Places To Live In Mississippi
- Cheapest Places To Live In Mississippi
- Most Dangerous Cities In Mississippi
The 10 Worst Places To Live In Mississippi For 2020
If you're looking to live in Mississippi, Forest might not be the best choice as it places 1st in our ranking of the worst places to live for 2020.
The unemployment rate here is 6.2%, and households bring in a combined $24,641 a year in income. That's not too far from the poverty line, even though money goes a lot further in the boonies of Mississippi.
Crime is the 26th highest in the state in Forest as well. Just not a very desirable place at all to make home.
If you're looking to live in Mississippi, Louisville might not be the best choice as it places 2nd in our ranking of the worst places to live in the Magnolia State for 2020.
The average family earns $32,131 a year out here, and 34.2% of the population is below the poverty line. Nearly 12.3% of the population is out of work.
And when you consider the crime, it's just crazy to think of how dangerous it is to live way out here. When you're in Louisville, every year, you have a 1 in 26.5 chance of being robbed. Can you imagine? Perhaps it's an economic factor, or the fact that the people out there are so isolated, but the fact remains, it's the 26th most dangerous place in the state, per capita.
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 is another place in the Magnolia State that has some real eye-opening numbers. The unemployment rate in Kosciusko is a staggering 13.1%, but at least those who have jobs earn a modest salary ($26,968 a year). Homes are actually priced respectfully at $86,500, but still far lower than the state average.
Crime in Kosciusko is bad, but not horrible.
Ripley needs some tough love.
Years ago, someone told me the sun never shines in Ripley. That's not true, of course, but you can understand why she might say that when you analyze certain facts about Ripley. Of the 61 cities considered in this ranking, Ripley had the least to be proud of across the board.
Not only does Ripley have Mississippi's 19th lowest home value rank, but it also had the 20th and 26th highest rankings in unemployment and crime respectively. Statistics like that will certainly make the sun shine a bit dimmer, and it will win you are in contention for title of "Worst City in Mississippi."
If you know anyone in Ripley, tag them on Facebook and tell them you love them. They can probably use it right about now.
The same problems that plague other cities on the list also affect Picayune. The only real difference is Picayune is a tiny bit safer, and the schools are rated a lot higher in terms of resources for students.
However, the unemployment rate in Picayune is at 13.5%, which is the 5th worst in Mississippi. And households earn a combined $33,451 a year, which is far below the state average. An average home in Picayune is merely $117,000.
Picayune is across the Tangier Sound on Route 50.
When you're looking at science and data, the city of Corinth is the 7th worst place you can live in the state of Mississippi. Let's see why.
You may be surprised to hear that the crime here is the 26th-highest in the state per capita, according to the FBI data base.
Residents in Corinth had a 1 in 26.5 chance of being robbed in 2019. To put things into perspective, since the average person has 300 friends on Facebook, if everyone you friended lived in Corinth, statistically, 25 of them would have been the victim of a property crime, meaning a home robbery, car break in or a stolen wallet.
Corinth's other issues are a very high unemployment rate (13.4%) and income levels of its residents ($36,461).
If you live in Mississippi, you may or may not be surprised that Indianola ranked, at least on paper, as the 8th worst place to live in the state. It has the 2nd highest unemployment rate in the state, and the 26th most dangerous.
Incidentally, Indianola is the 5most densely populated city in Mississippi. Draw your own conclusions.
Gulfport places 9th in our ranking of the worst places to live in Mississippi. Here, 15.0% of the adult population lack's even a high school degree. That makes Gulfport have the 30th highest adult drop out rate in Mississippi.
Income levels are also near the poverty line, and home prices are around $120,600 each -- the 34th lowest in Mississippi.
As you can imagine, there's not a lot of demand to live here.
Laurel ranks as the 10th worst city in Mississippi. Located in Jones County, Laurel has the 20th lowest income levels in the state of Mississippi ($33,940), and some of the lowest number of doctors in the state. Crime is above average, and the unemployment rate is 10.2%.
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
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:
- Oxford (Pop. 23,037)
- Madison (Pop. 25,522)
- Ridgeland (Pop. 24,265)
For more Mississippi reading, check out:
Where Are The Worst Places To Live In Mississippi?