Economy of Mississippi State

By: EconomyWatch   Date: 29 June 2010

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Overview of Mississippi

Mississippi is home to nearly three million people producing approximately $84 billion in GDP per year (2006). It is lowest among the 50 states in per capita income, at a mere $26,908 (2006), but it also has the country's lowest cost of living.

Prior to the US Civil war, however, Mississippi was ranked number five in the US in wealth. Much of this wealth was derived from its large slave population. In 1860, 55 percent of the population of Mississippi was slaves. And because slaves counted as property, they greatly contributed to the state's overall wealth.

During these times, and well into the 20th century, the economy was focused on development of the state's agricultural areas. These included then and include now cotton, soybeans, corn, peanuts, pecans, rice, sugar cane, sweet potatoes, feed crops, and horticultural crops.

Mississippi is the world's largest producer of pond-raised catfish, and also produces considerable amounts of poultry, eggs and dairy products.

Mississippi's capital is Jackson. The state was first organized as a territory on April 7, 1798, and was 20th to enter the union. It did so on December 10, 1817.

The state of Mississippi is situated in the south of the US, bordering the Gulf of Mexico and Louisiana on the south, Alabama on the east, Tennessee on the north, and Louisiana and Arkansas on the west.

The Mississippi River separates it from Louisiana and Arkansas. Other major rivers include the Pearl River, the Yazoo, Big Black River, the Tombigbee and the Pascagoula.

Mississippi Demography And Social Indicators

With about 37% of its population African American, Mississippi has the largest black proportion of any other state.

Following is a breakdown of racial percentages in Mississippi:

62.37% are Caucasian, 36.66% are black, .82% are Asian, and the rest are American Indian, Alaskan Natives, or Pacific Islanders (2000).

Business and Economy of Mississippi

Due to its rural, agricultural background, Mississippi's economy only became manufacturing-based in 1965 when investment in industry was emphasized.

Various areas of manufacturing and industry include chemicals, plastics, wood products, food processing, and fishing.

Cotton, soybeans, and rice are the state's main agricultural crops, but the cotton industry has been damaged by the boll weevil and poor soil quality from overcultivation.

Nevertheless, Mississippi remains the second or third cotton producer in the US.

The Stennis Space Flight Center at Bay St. Louis is noteworthy, as are the various military bases in Columbus, Biloxi, and Meridian.

Gambling has begun to take hold along the Gulf Coast and in Tunica County in the northwest.

Tourist Attractions Of Mississippi

  • The state's 24 state parks
  • Vicksburg National Military Park
  • Brices Cross Roads National Battlefield Site
  • Tupelo National Battlefield
  • Natchez Trace National Parkway

    Pre-Civil War mansions can be found in:

  • Natchez
  • Oxford
  • Columbus
  • Vicksburg
  • Jackson

Colleges, Schools and Universities In Mississippi

Below are some of the private and public colleges and universities in Mississippi:

  • Alcorn State University
  • Delta State University
  • Jackson State University
  • University of Mississippi
  • Mississippi State University
  • Mississippi University for Women
  • Mississippi Valley State University
  • University of Southern Mississippi

Further Readings

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