The last nationwide US Census figures represented a rise of 4.3% from the numbers declared at the Census in 2000. Since then, the population has grown only modestly, and it is now estimated to be just 2.99 million. If similar increases continue to occur, then the number of people living in Mississippi may soon surpass 3 million.
At the time of the Census, the population was recorded as 2,967,297. Mississippi currently has a population growth rate of 0.30%, relatively slow, and ranks at 40th in the nation.
On Novemver 3, 2020, Mississippi residents voted on a new state flag, the New Magnolia. The new flag replaced Mississippi's state flag that featured the Confederate flag.
Situated in the southeast U.S., Mississippi is the 32nd largest state in the country with an area that covers 48,430 square miles. Population figures are consistent with its size, and it is the 31st most populous state. Its population density ranks 32nd in the United States.
Mississippi has a very widely spread population with a density of just 63.2 people per square mile, which ranks 32nd in the country. For many generations, people have been leaving the United States' rural areas and concentrating in urban areas, with only 1 in 5 people in the country classified as rural. However, Mississippi is a sharp contrast, as 51.2% still live in rural areas, which is the country's 4th largest rural population.
There is only one city in the state with over 100,000, and that's Jackson. Only two other cities currently have a population of at least 50,000: Hattiesburg and Gulfport. The most populated counties are Hinds (239,479 - but has been losing population since 2010), Harrison (205,027), and DeSoto (178,751) counties. Both Harrison and DeSoto counties have a substantial growth rate of over 9% in each county.
The median age of the Mississippi population is approximately 36.7 years of age. The state's gender ratio is split at 51.5% female and 48.5% male.
In terms of preferred religions across the state, 83% of the population is affiliated with a Christian based faith, 2% affiliate with a non-Christian based faith, and 14% have no affiliation with any religion.
Most present-day Mississippi was part of Georgia until the south-central portions of Mississippi and Alabama were established as Mississippi Territory, authorized by Congress in 1798 and agreed to by Georgia in 1802. In 1804, the Territory was expanded to include the northern parts of the two future States. The Gulf Coast portions were added in 1812, although still in dispute with Spain until 1819. Mississippi was admitted as a State on December 10, 1817 with essentially its present boundaries.
Census coverage of present-day Mississippi began in 1800 in the southwestern section close to the Mississippi River. The populations shown for 1800 and 1810 exclude counties now in Alabama. The Census did not fully cover the central and northern portions until 1840.
According to the most recent ACS, the racial composition of Mississippi was:
Like most states in the US, Mississippi enjoyed a population explosion through the 19th century. In 1800, numbers were recorded at 7,600 but just ten years later, those figures had increased by over 300% to 31,306. That was by far the biggest population spike in the state’s history but further significant growth saw the figures rise to 606,526 by 1850.
By the start of the 20th century, the population of Mississippi had comfortably exceeded 1.5 million, and while growth has slowed in the modern era, the overall picture remains one of sustained growth. By 1930, numbers had already hit 2 million and continued expansion throughout the latter half of the 20th century has left the Mississippi population in 2016 close to the 3 million mark.
Over the years, the big picture is one of population growth, but percentage rises on a decade by decade basis have fluctuated to a great extent and have therefore been a little hard to predict. Mississippi also has a fairly slow growth rate. However, by the time of the next Census in 2020, numbers should have comfortably exceeded 3 million and the only question is how far can they rise beyond that milestone? According to current projections, the Mississippi population will reach 3.15 million by 2020.
Up until the 1930s, black Americans made up the majority of citizens in Mississippi, and although that picture has changed, there is still a relatively large black community in the state. In 2010, Mississippi had the highest proportion of African Americans in the United States.
People of Scots-Irish, Scottish and English ancestry are widespread throughout Mississippi, and people with these ancestries are thought to be higher than reported. One historian estimates at least 20% of the state's population is of English ancestry alone.
Interestingly, the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek of 1830 between the U.S. Government and the Choctaw allowed these people to sell their land and agree to be removed to a reservation in current-day Oklahoma, although Article 14 of the treaty allowed those who wanted to remain to become U.S. citizens. Today, about 9,500 Choctaw live in Leake, Jones, Newton and Neshoba counties in Mississippi.
Mississippi also has one of the highest rates of increase of its mixed-race population, which increased 70% from 2000 to 2012, even though the population of the state itself has not increased much.
The state of Mississippi has many counties, and when looking at the population of each county, data shows that there have been more declines across the state than there have been population increases when tracking by county. Between the 2010 Census and data taken in 2015, there have been three counties that have shown significant population growth. This includes the northern county of Lafayette, which posted the highest growth of 11.76%, central Madison County with 8.24% and southern Lamar County at 8.09%. Other counties that showed growth were mostly located in the southernmost and northernmost areas of the state.
As far as population declines, almost every county along the western border of Mississippi saw declining populations. Wilson County, located in the southwestern corner, had the most significant decline at 7.48%. Other counties that showed decreased growth between 2010 and 2015 include Washington County at 5.77%, Sunflower County at 6.92%, and Holmes County at 5.46%.
Black or African American
Two or more races
Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander
Average Family Size
Average Household Size
Rate of Home Ownership
Less Than 9th Grade
9th to 12th Grade
High School Graduate
High School Graduation Rate
The highest rate of high school graduation is among white people with a rate of 76.97%.
The highest rate of bachelors degrees is among asian people with a rate of 36.1%.
Other Indo-European Languages
Asian and Pacific Island Languages
96.08% of Mississippi residents speak only English, while 3.92% speak other languages. The non-English language spoken by the largest group is Spanish, which is spoken by 2.38% of the population.
Overall Poverty Rate
Male Poverty Rate
Female Poverty Rate
The race most likely to be in poverty in Mississippi is Native, with 33.61% below the poverty level.
The race least likely to be in poverty in Mississippi is White, with 11.7% below the poverty level.
The poverty rate among those that worked full-time for the past 12 months was 4.5%. Among those working part-time, it was 21.14%, and for those that did not work, the poverty rate was 28.27%.
Overall Marriage Rate
Male Marriage Rate
Female Marriage Rate
The age group where males are most likely to be married is Over 65, while the female age group most likely to be married is 45-54.
Second Gulf War
First Gulf War
World War II
Less Than 9th Grade
High School Graduate
Bachelors or Greater
Veteran Poverty Rate
Veteran Disability Rate
Labor Force Participation
Non citizens include legal permanent residents (green card holders), international students, temporary workers, humanitarian migrants, and illegal immigrants.
Born in Mississippi
100.85% of Mississippi residents were born in the United States, with 73.95% having been born in Mississippi. 1.37% of residents are not US citizens. Of those not born in the United States, the largest percentage are from Latin America.