The Largest City in Mississippi Now and in 30 Years
Mississippi is a Southern U.S. state that is bordered on the south by Louisiana and the Gulf of Mexico, east by Alabama, and north by Tennessee. It is the 32nd largest state by area and the 35th most populous state in America. Native Americans originally coined the word Mississippi, meaning “great river” or “father of waters.” The state is known for its many rivers, which include the iconic Mississippi River — the largest river in North America. Mississippi became the 20th state to join the Union in 1817 but seceded in 1861.
Mississippi is known for its vibrant culture, which includes historic sites, delicious food, southern hospitality, and musical heritage. In fact, the blues originated there after the Civil War. With diverse wildlife, Mississippi is home to alligators, squirrels, armadillos, and bottlenose dolphins — the official state water mammal. A state with such a rich culture is bound to have some impressive cities. Keeping growth rates in mind, let’s explore Mississippi’s largest city and its expected growth over the next 30 years.
What Is the Largest City in Mississippi?
Jackson holds the title of the largest city in Misssisppi, and it is also the capital city. According to the 2022 U.S. Census, Jackson has a population size of 145,995 residents, making it the 177th largest city in the U.S. The second closest city in the state is Gulfport, with an estimated population of 72,236 people.
Unfortunately, Jackson lost 5% of its population between 2020 and 2022. With this decrease, it is now the fastest-shrinking city in the country. In the summer of 2022, the state capital’s central water treatment plant failed due to significant flooding from the Ross Barnett Reservoir and Pearl River, leading to one of the most significant public health crises in recent U.S. history. The crisis left residents without access to safe bathing and drinking water for multiple days. Jackson eventually privatized its water system, bringing on a third-party corporation, JXN Water, to manage the city’s water and sewage systems.
Jackson covers seven counties and is one of the county seats of Hinds County. The city has a female population of 53.8% and a majority African-American population of 85%. Interestingly, most residents work in healthcare, protective services, transportation, and maintenance.
A May 2022 report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that workers in the Jackson, MS Metropolitan Statistical Area made $23.34 an hour. That rate is 22% lower than the national average of $29.76. In addition, the U.S. Census reported that the median household income in Jackson is $39,969.
What Brings People to Jackson?
Jackson takes pride in its strong cultural heritage. Deemed “The City With Soul,” Jackson has a vibrant music scene. That’s no surprise since Mississippi is the birthplace of blues music.
Jackson football fans have had a lot to celebrate in recent years. Under the leadership of Deion “Prime” Sanders, Jackson State University (JSU) captured an overall record of 27-6 through three seasons (2022-2023). The HBCU recorded its first undefeated season in his final year as head coach.
The capital city is well-known for its culinary traditions, historical sites, and museums. Museum enthusiasts would be delighted with the city’s diverse offerings, which include several options:
- The Mississippi Civil Rights Museum
- Mississippi Museum of Natural Science
- Mississippi Children’s Museum
- Mississippi Museum of Art
- Mississippi Agriculture and Forestry Museum
For sports and recreation enthusiasts, Jackson boasts many activities for individuals and families. Visitors of Capital City Kayak Adventures can enjoy a guided tour and explore the area’s natural wonders. Located on 110 acres of land, Jackson Zoo provides enriching experiences for animal lovers of all ages, serving up to 85,000 visitors each year with a total of 200 animals and 70 different species. There is also an approximately 3-mile, multi-use trail called the Museum Trail that provides access to the following sites:
- LeFleur’s Bluff State Park
- The Mississippi Museum of Natural Science
- The Mississippi History Museum
- The Mississippi Civil Rights Museum
What Will Be the Largest City in Mississippi in 30 Years?
While Jackson has experienced a population decrease, it is still likely to remain the largest city in Mississippi. The second most populous city, Gulfport, has the population count of Jackson, with 72,236 residents. The annual population change in Gulfport is -0.9%, which means their population is also decreasing and will not eclipse Jackson for the top spot in the state. Below, you will find a chart detailing the top five cities in Mississippi based on population size, annual growth rate, total area, and median household income.
Comparison: Top 5 Largest Cities in Mississippi
|Ranking||City||Population||Annual Population Growth Rate (2022)||Total Area||Median Household Income|