The 10 Worst Places To Live In Mississippi For 2020

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

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.

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

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.

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 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, 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

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.

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

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.

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

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).

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

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, 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

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, 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

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

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 For 2020

  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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