2020 Census

Last year’s census results haven’t been fully disaggregated, but we know this much: Mississippi is one of just three states whose populations shrank during the previous decade. Plenty of potential culprits will show up on lists of explanations for this: brain drain amongst younger folks; less than robust opportunities for education, entertainment, and employment; the state’s politics; the state’s history.

The state will not lose a congressional seat this time, but it might if the trend continues–especially if neighboring states continue to grow. Some point to a silver lining: that the state has become more diverse. Nonetheless, what must be done to make Mississippi a state where more people want to live?

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12 Responses to 2020 Census

  1. Zuyi Li says:

    I really like the location of Mississippi. It is close to major cities like Atlanta, Memphis, and Houston. It is also close to beautiful beaches in Florida. On top of that, the housing price is really cheap compared to other states. I am also glad to see that the diversity of the state has been increasing. This means that there will be more perspective and culture will be introduced to the state of Mississippi. However, the problem with brain drain in Mississippi is not a new problem; this issue has plagued us for years. Mississippi does not have industries that pull in people. The technology industry has been growing faster than ever and that’s where all the money is. However, if people with the skill set stayed in Mississippi, there are not many opportunities for them to make money. At the end of the day, people need money to survive, but staying in the state will only waste their potential. To solve the problem, I think Mississippi will need to attract not only the technology industry but a diverse set of industries. There are lots of unused lands in the state which could be put into use. By introducing more tech companies, more opportunities will be created in the state of Mississippi. Not only the residence of Mississippi wants to stay, but also more people from outside of Mississippi will also be attracted by these new opportunities.

  2. Max Dobbs says:

    If Mississippi is becoming more diverse, it seems likely that white people (who comprise a majority) are moving out. In that case, it saddens me that black and brown people who often bear the worst of Mississippi’s problems lack the resources to leave. But on the bright side, they do gain more voting power if they become a majority, and many problems they face derive from a state government that does not represent their interests.

    I do have an economic idea if it is legally plausible. If Mississippi were to let in a greater number of immigrants and provide them an easy route to citizenship, they could be a tremendous benefit to the state. The population would immediately start growing, and more jobs would be created as immigrants work and start businesses. Contrary to what most Mississippians might believe, immigrants are universally better for the economy, and even indirectly lift the wage of the average worker. And without fear of deportation, immigrants could live much better lives as they participate in Mississippian society freely. This idea would likely be a federal decision more-so than a state one, so I do not know how it could play out in practice.

    With regards to brain drain and poor education, I do not think we should take the approach of pressuring intelligent people to stay here. As one of the white wealthy women moving out of here, I would be a hypocrite not to tell every individual to do what is best for themself; that often involves leaving the state. If Mississippi wants to stop brain drain, it is its job to overhaul the education system (though the federal government can help, as our state government is quite stubborn). Our teachers are under-valued and under-qualified. The environments they work in are often terrible; one of my teachers received threats from students for grading work, and his job was essentially brought to a halt for his own safety. This state of education is unacceptable. We need to divert much greater funding towards hiring qualified teachers and awarding students who succeed academically. Mississippian education is a complex issue that I certainly could not solve myself, but this absolutely would be a step in the right direction.

  3. Xiaohan Yu says:

    Mississippi generally has a good footing in the nation geographically. While our weather may be a little random, we still have a lot of nature’s finest beauties. We almost never suffer from any natural disasters and our forest coverage is above average in the country. This environment allows for great Catfish productions and hunting. On top of that, Mississippi also has very rich history and is considered to be very hospitable by visitors. All of these qualities are very understated to outsiders and should be advertised far more to attract more tourists and guests.

    Now for the downsides that Mississippi needs to patch. Our state currently is ranked near bottom in Health care funding and education nationally. Both of which heavily sways potential traveler’s decisions, as their future is better guaranteed in other states. Another factor is the soaring obesity, which doesn’t contribute to helping this state.

    The best solution for change is to implement different financial strategies or edit the current budget. Currently, Mississippi is most focused its finances on Public welfare and elementary / secondary education. Proposing adjustments to this budget to incorporate more spending on Healthcare and higher level education will at least improve its public image. We can also improve the tax system, as it heavily relies on federal transfers right now. Some of these might have negative impacts, but they aren’t irreversible, so it is worth an attempt to enhance the state’s publicity.

  4. Khushi Patel says:

    Mississippi is a beautiful state with a lot of greenery and charming nature. The weather is also normally nice and not too crazy. For those who do not like cold weather, this could be a state for them because it does not get too cold and usually stays warm. I personally enjoy living in Mississippi and have been here almost my whole life. It is not an overly crowded state and there is a lot of space. This state has a lot of unused lands that could be used to build new attractions for more people to want to come here. We could make more tourist sites where people will want to come to visit Mississippi and learn more about the environment and culture here. Most costs and expenses are also cheaper here than in another big state such as California or Texas. Developing new industries and job opportunities can also make people want to live here. Education is not good here and if the quality of education improves more people might come to study here. For example, better colleges will bring more out-of-state students. I also agree with Max that if we encourage immigrants to come to Mississippi by providing them with an easier way for citizenship, then more people will come here and eventually populate the state.

  5. Courtenay Sebastian says:

    I’m going to be honest with you. SOO many people from the New Orleans and surrounding areas fled to Mississippi during Hurricane Katrina. I know I was little, but I remember people talking about how there was no room for everyone, and how the school classes were WAY too big. So, take that into consideration when thinking of the Mississippi population. We already at stereotyped at “yee haw rednecks who marry cousins on their farm” kind of people, no one would want to live here if they thought that that is what Mississippi is like. Now, if we did want more people to live in Mississippi, it would be rather difficult, our education isn’t the best, other than the coast, Mississippi doesn’t have much. I think we would really need to improve entertainment. have something that makes Mississippi special, to outsiders at least. Everyone who lives in Mississippi knows its charm, and if they stay, they can enjoy that, but honestly, the charm of Mississippi isn’t for everyone.

  6. Chloe A Sharp says:

    I think that the root of many of Mississippi’s problems is its education system. As we all know from growing up in Mississippi, the public school systems here suck. We rank 43rd in the nation for education and the reputation of the Mississippi education system is even worse than that. Really, the only thing that the Mississippi public school system has going for it is MSMS. From teachers who still teach the “Lost Cause” version of the Civil War to many schools hardly offering any advanced or AP classes, much of Mississippi’s youth has one goal after they finish high school: to get the hell out of here. This sentiment is further heightened by the fact that none of Mississippi’s universities are wonderful schools. Of course, this isn’t true for a lot of people who have grown up here, but it is true enough to make a significant difference in the population. Further, it’s not like a ton of people are dying to come to live here either, with Mississippi being ranked last or close to last in most of the good State qualities. I feel like if Mississippi invested in and improved its education system, both on a K-12 and higher education level, more people would want to move here and fewer people would want to leave.

  7. Hunter Chunn says:

    Talking with my peers who grew up around Mississippi, the state’s biggest problems are racism and its poor education system. Mississippi has a tragic past to say the last, much of which is intertwined with The Civil War and slavery. Mississippi schools espouse an apologist view of The Civil War. “It was about state’s rights” is a phrase all too common. Of course, a robust and diverse education system would educate Mississippians on the true nature of The Civil War, a war fought for slavery. But that has not happened, Mississippi doesn’t value education. As of 2019, Mississippi is ranked 47th out of 50 in education. In a state that doesn’t value education, there is no reason for intellectually gifted students to stay. It makes more sense to leave for a state that values education than to stay here.

    Mississippi is a state many already enjoy living in. The climate, vast wilderness, and abundant wildlife entice many to stay. But, these factors are not enough to keep everyone. If Mississippi wants to present itself as someplace anyone would want to live it would need to do some things that might be impossible. First, it would need to condemn its racist past and pay reprimands, socially or financially. While a perfectly fine idea, Mississippi will not take these steps. It was only earlier this year that Mississippi adopted a state flag not bearing emblems of the confederacy. Mississippi still maintains confederate monuments and Columbus has a statue with a KKK member in front of its courthouse. Unless Mississippians decide they want to rid themselves of these archaic effigies, Mississippi will not be a place that people want to live.

  8. Nina Patel says:

    Mississippi is a beautiful state. There are many great qualities to Mississippi. Unfortunately, our good qualities are out shadowed by our faults. Our education system is not good at all. There are lots of children who lack the skills to excel in adulthood. Mississippi also gets a horrible rep. We are stereotyped as these red necks who own trackers and have southern accents. Although there are a lot of these in Mississippi, we are diverse in cultures. We much history other than white people here. We have African American history, Indian culture, American Indian culture, many others. I have enjoyed living in Mississippi my whole life; others might disagree because they might want to live far away from here. I agree with the rest of the comments that our education system is the worst thing about our state. There is not enough being done to fix our education system. If legislators act more to improve education, Mississippi will be a place that everyone is attracted to. Even though we do not have many fancy things in Mississippi, we have a rich culture that no one can get rid of.

  9. Aadhav Senthil says:

    Mississippi is a great state, but there are some minor problems that cause many people to leave. One of those being of lack of higher level jobs in Mississippi. If large companies introduce headquarters in Mississippi then it is likely that Mississippi will retain a large portion of its population. Another reason for a decrease in population is education. The state of Mississippi almost refuses to increase taxes in order to better education, but what is not understood is that education is the root of all of the problems in Mississippi. If the education system is fixed then there will be less kids on the streets causing problems. If the education system is fixed more people will go on to a higher form of education and will be able to pursue a better job than they would have before. If the education system is fixed it is likely that many large companies will have branches in Mississippi in order to hire talented graduates. From there the cycle starts over. With more companies, more people stay in Mississippi to pursue a higher standard of living and work.
    However one possible problem with that solution is the rise in taxes. Many people in Mississippi are not the wealthiest, so it will be difficult on them to pay high taxes. Sadly, higher taxes are needed in order to increase funding for schools.

  10. Alexis Sorg says:

    Mississippi is a beautiful state. There is plenty of land, greenery, and woods for those who enjoy nature walks or hunting. However, Mississippi ranks extremely low on education. I think this is partly due to many areas in Mississippi being poor and run down. My hometown is poor and there is not much to do. If we want to eat out or do something fun, we have to drive to another town to do so. When we drive to that town, like Olive Branch, it almost seems like a different world. There are many people, things to do, and the buildings do not look as if they are about to crumble. The schools in the area are much better as a result too. So, theoretically, if the poorer areas of Mississippi were given more money to fix up some buildings and use it to work towards better education, it would be a step in the right direction.

  11. Mikayla Jones says:

    I think in order to attract people to Mississippi, the state’s reputation must change. When most people think of Mississippi they think of racism, homophobia, and stupidity. The majority of the skilled people in Mississippi leave and don’t come back. I think, even if the people have to venture out of state to get a better education in the beginning, the skilled people must eventually move back to Mississippi to improve the quality of education. They must teach people what they have learned instead of keeping it in the states that already know it. Also, we need to bring more industries to Mississippi besides agriculture and fishing. If Mississippi becomes known for an industry that is rapidly growing such as engineering or health care, more people would definitely move here. Furthermore, even if it doesn’t seem like it, Mississippi has a lot to offer. The weather is great compared to other states, the majority of the time. Also, the cost of living in Mississippi is much cheaper than other states such as California and New York. If we emphasize those things and improve many others, we could repopulate the state.

  12. Maddie Flowers says:

    I honestly feel like Mississippi itself has a bad reputation that will require drastic improvements to debunk. Although we are a state prided on “southern hospitality,” we have a prominent history of homophobia, racism, and being considered the “dumbest state in the nation.” Most of the skilled people who don’t tolerate these conditions leave Mississippi and never come back. For instance, several of my peers and I agreed we want to go to college anywhere but Mississippi. However, Mississippi does have its highs, such as affordability and better weather than most, as Mikayla stated. However, I feel the main issue of Mississippians is their outdated conservative viewpoints. You cannot change someone’s mind that easily. However, I feel over time; the upcoming generations can help Mississippi’s population prosper.

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