Where are the best places in the state of Mississippi?
To the untrained eye they are the places that have awesome economies. They’re the places in Magnolia State where people have the best jobs, residents are all above average, and the sun shines the most.
However, here at HomeSnacks, we don’t trust the untrained eye and instead look to data to understand the best places to call home in Mississippi.
There might be some surprises on this list, but when you look at the unbiased data, it’s hard to argue against.
After analyzing 61 places in Mississippi, we came up with this list of the best places:
- Madison (Photos)
- Brandon (Photos)
- Ocean Springs (Photos)
- Olive Branch (Photos)
- Hernando (Photos)
- Southaven (Photos)
- Oxford (Photos)
- Long Beach (Photos)
- Petal (Photos)
Follow along as we provide more insight into how we reached our overall best places to live in Mississippi.
The Pressing Question: Size
Before we even started to collect data, we had to answer a tough question: Is it fair to pit Jackson with a population of 172,039 against places with a population of 18?
We firmly decided no, that just isn’t fair.
So to create our ranking, we broke places to live into three tiers:
- Cities — Populations over 5,300
- Towns — Populations between 1,000 and 5,300
- Small Towns — Populations below 1,000
This left us with 61 cities, 134 towns, and 160 small towns.
We then decided, no matter how much anyone loves their town, the best places have more of everything and therefore you need to have over 5,300 people to truly be ‘the best’.
You can see those two top tens at the bottom of the post.
How We Calculated The Best Place To Live In Mississippi
Now that we had our set of cities, it was time to rank them.
We ranked each place in Mississippi across a number of criteria from one to 61, with one being the best.
We then took the average rank across all criteria, with the city posting the lowest overall score being crowned the winner of the title “Best Place To Live In Mississippi”.
The criteria we looked at were:
- Median Home Values
- Median Income
- Population Density (Higher better)
- Unemployment Rate
- Commute Time
- Education Levels
- Health Insurance Coverage
- Poverty rates
If your city or town isn’t among the top 10, jump down to the bottom of the post to see a detailed chart of the best places in Mississippi.
Otherwise, buckle up for a ride down good living lane with Madison at the end of the cul-de-sac.
Population: 25,473Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Home Values: $243,500 (1st best)
Unemployment Rate: 3.5% (3rd best)
According to scientific data, Madison is the best place in Mississippi, and it’s not even close.
Residents here earn the 1st most per household in the state and crime is basically non-existent.
No wonder the population here has jumped more than 30% in the last five years. Everyone who can afford it wants to live here. So if you’re in the Jackson area and want to settle in an awesome suburb, look no further.
Population: 23,186 Rank Last Year: 3 (Up 1)
Home Values: $169,800 (6th best)
Unemployment Rate: 4.2% (5th best)
Folks in this Jackson suburb have great jobs, and hardly any of them are without work. Plus, the crime is the 3rd lowest in the state of Mississippi..
Brandon can make a case that it’s the best place to live in the state, just based on those numbers alone. Hint hint wink wink.
Population: 24,338 Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 1)
Home Values: $176,700 (3rd best)
Unemployment Rate: 5.5% (8th best)
There seems to be a pattern here. It seems that the best places to live are just outside of Jackson. Ridgeland is a very nice place to live, where residents are employed gainfully, and the public schools are well funded.
The hometown of country artist Faith Hill has seen a 10% spike in population growth since 2010.
4. Ocean Springs
Population: 17,547Rank Last Year: 5 (Up 1)
Home Values: $151,500 (12th best)
Unemployment Rate: 6.1% (14th best)
Ocean Springs is right across the bridge from Biloxi on the Gulf Coast. Residents here earn a really high salary each year, and crime is fairly low, in comparison to the rest of Mississippi. It’s considered a cultural community, as it boasts an arts scene, and many ethnic restaurants, too.
Which means you can’t be bored here.
5. Olive Branch
Population: 35,508Rank Last Year: 7 (Up 2)
Home Values: $166,100 (8th best)
Unemployment Rate: 5.9% (11th best)
We think the motto in Olive Branch should be “Everything is greater in Olive Branch,” and that seems to be pretty close to the truth.
Olive Branch has some of the highest home values in Mississippi, and they’re going up fast. Additionally, Olive Branch only has 810.0% of its residents living in poverty.
Crime is also well below the state average, making Olive Branch a solid option for people who value safety. At least those who can afford it.
Population: 15,227Rank Last Year: 8 (Up 2)
Home Values: $173,300 (5th best)
Unemployment Rate: 4.2% (5th best)
There’s two types of people who live in Hernando. Either the old hold outs who have lived there forever and are watching their home values skyrocket, or those d who can afford to buy a $173,300 home there.
Either way, you’re set. Your kids go to great schools, there’s a ton of things to do, and you earn a great salary. Hernando is exactly what you hoped for when you played that board game, LIFE as a kid.
Population: 51,816Rank Last Year: 5 (Down 2)
Home Values: $139,400 (16th best)
Unemployment Rate: 5.9% (11th best)
The crime is the 8th lowest in the state in Southaven, and there were only 59 violent crimes in the entire city last year. We think it’s even safer here than the numbers indicate.
The schools are some of the best in Mississippi, and residents live in very expensive homes. They also earn more than most every other city in the state. Residents in Southaven earn $58,427 a year.
Population: 21,634Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 4)
Home Values: $227,400 (2nd best)
Unemployment Rate: 6.9% (16th best)
Oxford has a strong showing in our best places to live in Mississippi analysis, coming it at 8th best.
It ranks highly like many others in the top ten for a low unemployment rate and high adjusted median income. It scored extra points relative to the top ten for its size and things to do.
If you’re thinking of moving to Mississippi, Oxford is a great option.
9. Long Beach
Population: 15,450Rank Last Year: 9 (No Change)
Home Values: $143,900 (15th best)
Unemployment Rate: 7.9% (22nd best)
Just to the west of Gulfport is the small community of Long Beach. Here, residents enjoy a low unemployment rate as well as really high salaries.
The student-teacher ratio is 12:1 in Long Beach, which is the lowest in the state. That’s some really serious devotion to the future of that community. Plus, you get to live along the Gulf, so that’s awesome.
Population: 10,736Rank Last Year: 9 (Down 1)
Home Values: $136,100 (17th best)
Unemployment Rate: 7.5% (18th best)
Taking its place as the 10th best place in Mississippi is Petal. Residents here earn a really high salary each year, and crime is fairly low, in comparison to the rest of Mississippi.
It’s considered a cultural community, as it boasts an arts scene, and many ethnic restaurants, too. Which means you can’t be bored here.
An unemployment rate of only 7.5% helps thing too.
Wrapping Up The Best Of The Best In Mississippi
If you’re looking at areas in Mississippi with the best economic situations, where there’s lower than average crime, and a lot to do, this is an accurate list.
Madison made a strong showing to take in the overall number one spot for 2018.
Best Towns To Live In Mississippi
- Saltillo (Pop. 4,988)
- Hide-A-Way Lake (Pop. 1,883)
- New Hope (Pop. 3,393)
- Beechwood (Pop. 4,365)
- Columbus AFB (Pop. 1,489)
- Tunica (Pop. 1,249)
- Lynchburg (Pop. 2,197)
- Florence (Pop. 4,313)
- Bridgetown (Pop. 2,045)
- Tunica Resorts (Pop. 1,839)
Best Small Towns To Live In Mississippi
- Lyon (Pop. 322)
- Meridian Station (Pop. 623)
- Henderson Point (Pop. 144)
- Sumner (Pop. 313)
- New Hamilton (Pop. 523)
- Louin (Pop. 381)
- Kossuth (Pop. 237)
- Sylvarena (Pop. 100)
- Falkner (Pop. 627)
- Sebastopol (Pop. 317)
If you’re curious enough, here are the worst places to live in Mississippi:
- Louisville (Pop. 6,373)
- Columbia (Pop. 6,292)
- Holly Springs (Pop. 7,591)
For more Mississippi reading , check out:
- These Are The 10 Dumbest Cities In Mississippi
- These Are The 10 Snobbiest Places In Mississippi
- These Are The 10 Worst Places To Live In Mississippi
Detailed List Of The Best Cities In Mississippi
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