Elbow Room

According to the Mississippi Center for Public Policy, a conservative think-tank, the state population experienced a modest decline last year–just over three thousand residents. Louisiana experienced an even greater decline, while all our other neighbors saw population increases. The article linked goes on to suggest that blame for the decline may be traced to high local tax rates, which are 0.49% above the national average, and well below that of our neighbors.

I’m curious: do you find cause for concern regarding the emigration of people from Mississippi? Also, what do you see as the underlying causes? How can they be remedied?

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18 Responses to Elbow Room

  1. Bertha Mireles says:

    I am aware of many people who desire to “get the hell out” of Mississippi for a number of reasons. Finding a better education (ex. college), better job offers, or to live in a different region of the United States to experience different people. While visiting the Capitol in Jackson for Capitol Day, a bill was presented that lowered income tax for people who have graduated from any university in the United States and have come to Mississippi to work and live here for 5 years. Obviously people leaving Mississippi has become a big problem since representatives are willing to lower taxes so people can stay. I think it’s just a nonstop cycle of people leaving, therefore less taxes are being paid, therefore government programs and schools become underpaid leading to Mississippi’s decline overall which therefore leads to people leaving. There’s no simple remedy to this, and I frankly do not know of one that won’t be costly or dramatic. It’s going to take a lot of people to come together to make Mississippi a better place so more people can be enticed to stay.

  2. Khytavia Fleming says:

    People are leaving MS because we lack in almost everything. When people think of MS, they think of poor, dumb, behind, etc. MS is one of the cheapest states to live in to other states, but most people wounldn’t dare move to MS because of the lack of opprotunties, unless it benefits them greatly. From a young age, many of us were told to get an education and run as far away from MS as possible. It’s not because we were taught to dislike MS but that MS would never be able to offer us the things in life that other states could.
    However, young people, like us MSMSians, have to stay and build MS up. If we don’t then who will? We continue to talk about how bad MS is while we plan to move to another states without even trying to resolve the issues in our own state. On the other hand, there are some people who just want a different life style. Coming from the Delta, I have beeen dying to live some where different. Not because the Delta is poor or that the educational system is bad, but just the simple fact that I’m tired of looking at acres and acres of crops and flat land.

  3. Nathan Lee says:

    The population decline is definitely an issue as fewer people will hurt the economy of Mississippi as a whole. Along with taxes, I think a variety of issues like poor infrastructure and educational opportunities may factor into people’s decision to leave. Improving funding for education and fixing Mississippi’s generally poor reputation would most likely stop the population decline.

  4. Taylor Shamblin says:

    When it comes to the emigration of Mississippi residents, one cannot just assume that the reason is strictly due to the high tax rate. Though affordability plays a large part of our lives, many people are willing to sacrifice the fiscal advantage of living in a state with a low tax rate. Many who give up this fiscal advantage are usually in love with the culture, scenery, or ¨quaintness¨ of the Ol´ Sip. Most residents of the small towns that blot the map of Mississippi, though, find that they are trapped in this hometown life. I have seen this mentality ensnare many of those who were born, and plan to die, here. Myself being rather different from the general populous of this quaint state, I believe that, even if only for a few years, everyone should leave and if they truly miss the Mississippi Life, come back. So, in essence, I cannot state that the slight population decrease is a problem at all.
    The same way that people can love the environment radiating from all corners of Mississippi, there are those that deject it. Those who find themselves in the hate-it ship, are those who are often given the metaphorical shaft. This shaft can be manifested in a multitude of ways: Mississippi´s lack of cultural acceptance, strenuous education, diverse occupations, proper fiscal appropriation, diversity, and the list may continue. The first three, alone, are enough to drive hundreds of families away from settling or staying in the state.
    There is not really a ¨cure¨ for Mississippi´s shortcomings. The community and government alike would have to band together and sacrifice greatly in order to build a better state, and both parties, from the last decade, have only made minuscule steps in this movement. At that rate, the state will maintain its status, if states had Yelp reviews, of two-out-of-five stars. Great leaps in community and legislation must be enacted in order for the quality of life and enticing aspects to increase.

  5. JoJo Kaler says:

    I do not think that the reason why Mississippi is losing people is taxes. When talking about populations moving and staying you have to have push and pull factors. Mississippi is not viewed by the rest of the country to be a desirable place to move to. Other than a few decent colleges there is not much pull factors. No kid dreams of growing up one day and moving to Mississippi to make a name for himself. This is not because of our taxes but because of the lack of major urban areas that draw people from the outside in. Lots of people grow up hearing stories of how you can make a name for yourself in LA or New York or hear of the computer industries in Seattle and want to move there. There is no such stories here in Mississippi. The opportunities do not match those that other states have which drives people who can away from the state and doesn’t bring people back into the state to balance it out.

  6. Ellen Overstreet says:

    Many people in Mississippi decide to leave because they are looking for something better. In fact, I’ve heard a lot of people at this school say they are leaving this state as soon as they can. This is mostly due to the fact that there in problems with Mississippi that most people refuse to fix. Declining population in Mississippi can be a problem because of raised taxes, but also because the people who are itching to leave may also the ones who can fix some of Mississippi’s problems.

  7. Linda Arnoldus says:

    From my perspective, Mississippi’s population decrease is due primarily to the “Brain Drain.” In my experience with MSMS students, those who can get out of Mississippi will. Smart people move out of Mississippi because of a lack of opportunities, which creates an endless cycle because they are the ones who can help pull Mississippi out of the loop. This problem is because of more than just lack of educational opportunities though- it’s tied to poverty, Mississippi’s reliance on agriculture, etc. I personally think that funding good education in Mississippi and kick us out of the loop, because people might travel into MS from out of state, like some do for MSU, Ole Miss, etc.

  8. Eli Dosda says:

    Well, if people keep leaving then we’ll continue to rank lower in the country. It takes new people to help invigorate policies and reform. Unfortunately, MS has backed itself into a wall, and the only way to get itself out is if it addresses it’s issues instead of running away from them. If MS is to get new people back we need to get some help and change crucial aspects like the education system and our production of innovative tech.

  9. E. T. says:

    Emigration out of Mississippi is certainly an issue as it pertains to all of us. With an aging population, I suspect many the population decline has two aspects. One, the older generation is moving into the last phase of their life. Secondly, the younger generation is moving away towards the most vigorous part. Statistically, the U.S Census Bureau estimates that 25.3 % of the population will be 60+ by 2030. This is a dramatic 38% increase from 2012. With an aging population, elders are likely moving to assisted living or even nursing homes. This points to less community involvement for the younger generation as fewer business owners, local leaders, and folk progressing forwards. This drives students towards finding better opportunities elsewhere, further increasing the cycle of slowing down. Better education alongside more technology-driven companies is necessary to improve this issue. The future lies in knowledge-work with examples such as Silicon Valley. I do not know the immediate steps towards solving this dilemma, but I firmly wish for a remedy for emigration and our forefathers.

    Source: ttps://acl.gov/sites/default/files/programs/2016-11/Mississippi%20Epi%20Profile%20Final.pdf

  10. Xavier Lucas-Cooper says:

    As of now, I am not concerned about the number of people leaving Mississippi. However, it could become a large problem if it continues in the future. A reason for people living might be state (no pun intended) of Mississippi itself. Mississippi tends to be on the bottom of the list for good things and at the top of the list for bad things. Not to mention its racist history. It may also be because people are becoming more liberal in their political views and they don’t like that Mississippi is a majority conservative state. In my opinion, I do not think there is a suitable remedy that the government can procure.

  11. Erin says:

    I think there is a concern with people emigrating from Mississippi. When people leave, it gets harder for people who stay. For example, taxes go up because of less people. A reason people could be leaving Mississippi could be because there aren’t many opportunites for people with certian degrees from colleges. A way to remedy this would be to find more chances to open branches of businesses that are not located in Mississippi, like Google or IBM.

  12. X says:

    Mississippi has a lack of opportunity for ambitious young adults to develop their skills and reach their full potential. I can see how it might be concerning as people flood to the northeast or west, and there it could get overcrowded. But, I do not personally find it that big of an issue. The south just does not have the allure that other areas do in general, with its regular stereotype of being filled with rednecks and countrymen. The history of the south also explains why people want to emigrate. Mississippi does not have the same opportunities as places like New Jersey do. It is not well funded; the schools, roads, buildings, all are cracked, graffitied, breaking down. Increased funding would solve these issues, but the picture that everyone paints of Mississippi in their minds would be more difficult to change.

  13. N says:

    There are more opportunities outside of Mississippi for the younger generations — better educational and career opportunities. Mississippi’s long history of being a strong red state may have influence. I do not speak for everyone, but a vast majority of liberals are desperate to leave this state, and even the south for that matter. Times are changing , but Mississippi is not. The 3000 people may not have a big effect now, but if change isn’t made, this number will grow.

  14. Alyssa says:

    I don’t think that high taxes is the real issue behind people leaving Mississippi. It might just be a minor problem among many. Many people native to here that lead successful lives often leave and never look behind. There just are not enough opportunities here for everyone. The thing that people often forget to take into account is that people are less focused on the tradition of making a family at an early age, and more focused on making a career and reaching the goals. Even when people do become parents young, they want to give their child a better life than they felt they had and sometimes that doesn’t include Mississippi. So we should be less concerned about this problem because that would just mean that the cycle of poverty would continue. Now more than ever, people are able to live and afford their dreams. Mississippi should catch up with the times, get more attractions and such to encourage people to come and stay here.

  15. Kerrigan A Clark says:

    I honestly don’t find cause for concern regarding the population drop. As high local tax rates are a problem, I don’t think that it would result in a 3000 resident decline. If anything, the decline would be due to people finding more job opportunities in the states surrounding us or college students leaving for college out of state, finding a job, and then making their home there. But no I don’t think we should be concerned about the population drop because there is always going to be an influx of people in and out of states and 3000 people aren’t enough to shake up the economy of Mississippi to its core.

  16. Samuel Patterson III says:

    I’ll take a crack at this one.

    The Mississippi brain drain is very concerning. I am from a community that has suffered heavily from the “modest” population decline. Greenville has lost nearly 40 percent of its population since 1990. There is nothing “modest” about that. Greenville once manufactured everything from brand named clothes to carpets to bricks, all gone now. The story of my hometown is not unique, though, it is true for communities all over the state. What can we do to fix this? Fully fund education and infrastructure. Simple as that. You cannot expect reputable companies to set up shop and grow in a state that doesn’t value its own people enough to adequately educate them. Further, you can’t expect them to come here when we have a laughable transportation system, riddled with potholes and bridge closures. Who’s to blame? State leaders, from both parties. These leaders have done a poor job investing in the state and its people. This state is well overdue for fresh leaders with new and effective ideas. Otherwise, Mississippi will continue to “modestly” rot away.

  17. KT says:

    I don’t know that a decline in population is a cause for worry. Our gets a pretty rep in terms of ignorance, obesity, etc. It ranks #49 out of the fifty states, only beating Louisiana. As well, Mississippi also has the lowest cost of living out of all fifty states, so I’m unsure that just taxes are to blame for the emigration. I think that we need to improve the overall quality of our state, and then, if emigration is still a “problem,” try and fix other possible factors.

    https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/mississippi

  18. Ayden Dusek says:

    There definitely is a concern regarding the emigration of people from Mississippi, but this would most likely result in a harder time for the people that choose to stay, as the taxes may rise, due to decreased population. The underlying cause would most likely be the increase in taxes. A remedy could possibly be to “crack down” on traffic violations, such as speeding, expired car tags, and driving a trailer without tailights. This would most likely alleviate the problem of taxes, but still give the state government the money that it needs.

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