Mississippi, often regarded as one of the worst states in the US, has its fair share of socioeconomic challenges. From a struggling education system and a floundering economy to high poverty rates and obesity levels, the state faces numerous difficulties. However, it’s important to highlight that amidst the adversity, the people of Mississippi are known for their down-to-earth and honest nature. Additionally, the cost of living in the state is impressively low, with residents keeping about 50% of their income after taxes and expenses. In this article, we will explore the ten worst towns in Mississippi and delve into the key factors that contribute to their rankings.
1. Flora, Mississippi
Flora, named after an early resident named Flora Man Jones, is a town located just northwest of Jackson. Unfortunately, the education system in Flora is far from satisfactory. Despite a low student-teacher ratio, the average test scores in the town are 65% lower than the national average. This indicates a lack of resources for the teachers and students. Moreover, the poverty level in Flora is a staggering 161% higher than the national average. Despite these challenges, the town has low crime rates and is characterized by a strong sense of community.
2. Delisle, Mississippi
Situated along the Wolf River, near the St. Louis Bay, Delisle struggles with a higher cost of living compared to other areas. The goods and services index in Delisle is almost 10% higher than the state average, while the housing index is 92% higher. The overall cost of living is approximately 32% higher than the rest of the state. In terms of employment, Delisle faces significant hurdles, with the unemployment rate being 84% higher than the national average. Additionally, the poverty level in Delisle is 100% higher than the national average. Despite these challenges, crime rates in the town remain significantly lower than the national average.
3. Durant, Mississippi
Founded in 1858, Durant is a small town with a population of less than 2,500. The income per capita in Durant is relatively low, standing at $12,000, which is 201% higher than the national average. The town’s poverty level is, sadly, correspondingly high. In terms of education, only 72% of the population has completed high school. While Durant exhibits lower crime rates, it’s worth noting that incidents of violence do occur, as evidenced by a recent stabbing incident.
4. Walnut, Mississippi
Walnut, a small town with a population of only 750 residents, struggles with a significantly lower average school test score, which is 57% lower than the national average. Furthermore, the graduation rate in the town is approximately 67%. Despite these academic challenges, Walnut’s crime rates are relatively low. The town was established in 1872, initially known as Hopkins, before being renamed to Walnut in 1876. The decision to change the name just four years after establishment might have caused some awkwardness for the town’s founder, Henry Hopkins.
5. Maysville, Mississippi
Located on the banks of the Mississippi River in the Mississippi Delta, Maysville faces significant challenges regarding employment opportunities. The income per capita in the town is a mere $6,000 per year, 79% lower than the national average. As a result, the poverty level in Maysville is 207% higher than the national average. However, crime rates remain relatively low, making it somewhat of a silver lining in an otherwise struggling town.
6. Derma, Mississippi
Derma, with a population of approximately 900 residents, unfortunately experienced a spike in crime rates in recent years. The year-over-year crime rate has increased by a staggering 187%. Incidents such as burglaries of fast-food establishments, robberies of the post office and church, as well as a murder case, have contributed to this alarming trend. The poverty level in Derma is 169% higher than the national average, reflecting the town’s economic challenges.
7. Bude, Mississippi
Bude, situated outside the northern area, near the Chitto National Forest, faces a crime rate 47% higher than the national average. Although the town’s crime rate has seen a slight decrease of 2% over the past year, it still remains a concern. With an economy mainly reliant on a diner, Bude struggles to provide ample employment opportunities. Consequently, the poverty rate in Bude is 186% higher than the national average.
8. Byhalia, Mississippi
Byhalia, boasting a population of around 1,200 residents, faces higher crime rates compared to the Mississippi average. However, efforts are being made to address this issue and it’s expected that the crime rate in 2019 will decrease. The town’s educational system also presents challenges, with only 69% of the population having completed high school. Additionally, the poverty level in Byhalia is 145% higher than the national average.
9. Crosby, Mississippi
With a population of just 285 residents, Crosby suffers from high unemployment rates, which are 115% higher than the national average. Similarly, the poverty level in the town is significantly higher, standing at 195% above the national average. Crosby, located within the Houma Chitto National Forest, struggles to provide adequate employment opportunities for its residents.
10. Tutwiler, Mississippi
Tutwiler, with a population of approximately 1,000 residents, is known for its high incarceration rates due to the presence of the Tallahatchie County Correctional Facility. The town has become a destination for problematic inmates from states such as South Carolina and Vermont. Unfortunately, the education system in Tutwiler is particularly challenged, with only 62% of the town’s population having completed high school. The crime rate is also 64% higher than the national average, with a significant increase of 94% year-over-year.
Despite the challenges faced by these ten worst towns in Mississippi, it’s important to note that they are not representative of the entire state. While issues such as crime, poverty, and struggling education systems persist in these towns, the people of Mississippi continue to embody resilience and a strong sense of community. By addressing the various complex factors contributing to the difficulties faced by these towns, there is hope for a brighter future for their residents.