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:
- Forest (Photos)
- Louisville (Photos)
- Holly Springs (Photos)
- Columbia (Photos)
- Indianola (Photos)
- Brookhaven (Photos)
- Booneville (Photos)
- Kosciusko (Photos)
- Ripley (Photos)
- Laurel (Photos)
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 2019.
For more Mississippi reading, check out:
- 10 Best Places To Live In Mississippi
- 10 Cheapest Places To Live In Mississippi
- 10 Most Dangerous Cities In Mississippi
How we determined the worst places to live in Mississippi for 2019
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.
This list is a scientific analysis based on real data and is completely unbiased.
Forest’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.
Forest has the 28th worst crime index of any place in Mississippi, and has the 2nd lowest income.
You might have passed through Louisville once and probably throught it seems to be a relatively quiet, clean place.
Here’s what science says about why Louisville needs some love: The unemployment rate is nearly 15.3%, residents earn about $30,316 a year, and home prices are just over $82,000. Across the board, those are in the bottom half in the state. Not absolutely horrible, but not desirable, either.
And there simply isn’t anything to do in Louisville.
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 $28,886, and homes only cost $77,700. 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.
Nearly 1 in 5 homes is vacant in Columbia, and those aren’t vacation homes. About an hour west of Hattiesburg, this little town’s residents earn a low salary ($23,732), and have longer than average commute times(2nd longest). The cost of living is 20% lower than the national average, which is a sign that things aren’t booming here.
On a positive note, the crime here is way below the state average.
Indianola is one of the poorest cities in the state of Mississippi. This city has 16.0% of its residents out of work, and those who have jobs earn under $27,003 a year.
Cities can be charming, but not when they are dangerous. Indianola has the 28th highest crime rate in Mississippi. While the numbers aren’t staggering (Mississippi is a relatively safe place when you compare it to the rest of the country), it’s still undesirable when you consider that there are far safer (and more stimulating) places to make your home in the Magnolia State.
Welcome to Brookhaven, where criminals go to make a living. Brookhaven has the 47th highest crime rate in the state. When you’re within Brookhaven city limits, you have a 1 in 35.9 chance of being the victim of a property crime such as a car break in or home invasion robbery every year.
Plus, there were 67 violent crimes here in 2019. For a city of 12,289 people, that’s absolutely off the charts high. You have a 1 in 183 chance of being raped, attacked or killed when you’re in Brookhaven every year as well.
While numbers in Mississippi are clearly better when you compare them to the rest of the nation, the fact is when you compare Mississippi cities against one another, you see big differences.
Home values in Booneville average $104,300, which is the 25th lowest in the state. Say what you want about ‘cheap living,’ the fact is homes are priced by demand, and there’s not a lot of demand to live in Booneville.
Plus, 28.1% of the population here lives below the poverty line.
Plus, the crime rate is the 28th highest in the state here. Every year, when you’re within Booneville city limits, you have a 1 in 25.0 chance of being robbed. That’s a lot of broken into cars and homes.
If you live in Kosciusko, you’re either going to fiercely protect your town, or you agree that it should be on this list. Either way, it doesn’t matter, because science says it’s the 8th worst place to live in the state.
You’ve got the 28th highest crime rate in Mississippi, which saw 80 violent crimes last year. You have a 1 in 25.0 chance of being robbed and a 1 in 259 chance of being attacked, raped or killed here for every year you spend in the city limits of Kosciusko.
Plus, folks are simply out of work. Kosciusko sports the state’s 9th highest unemployment rate (13.1%), and families bring in a combined $27,724 a year, which is far below the state average.
No wonder homes are cheap; you can get one yourself for only $78,000.
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 26th and 28th 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.
you’re looking to live in Mississippi, Laurel might not be the best choice as it places 10th in our ranking of the worst places to live for 2019.
Laurel doesn’t have the worst crime in the state, but it’s sure up there. And when you factor in one of the lowest household incomes in the state and a sky high unemployment rate, Laurel may not be your first choice for a vacation.
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 2019.
If you’re curious enough, here are the best cities to live in Mississippi:
- Oxford (Pop. 22,092)
- Ridgeland (Pop. 24,312)
- Madison (Pop. 25,350)
For more Mississippi reading, check out:
- These Are The 10 Best Places To Retire In Mississippi
- These Are The 10 Richest Cities In Mississippi
- 10 Safest Places In Mississippi
- 10 Best Cities For Singles In Mississippi
Detailed List Of The Worst Places To Live In Mississippi
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