Casino Gambling News Biloxi Sun Herald

State of the Week 20: Mississippi

Flag: Flag of the State of Mississippi
Map: Mississippi County Map
Nickname: The Magnolia State, The Hospitality State
Demonym: Mississippian
Abbreviation: MS
Territory (prior to statehood): Mississippi Territory
Admission to the Union: December 10, 1817 (20th)
Population: 2,992,333 (32nd)
Electoral College Votes: 6
Area: 48,430 mi2 (32nd)
Population Density: 63.8/mi2 (32nd)
Countries Similar in Size: North Korea (46,540 mi2), Nicaragua (50,337 mi2), Greece (50,960 mi2)
State Capital: Jackson
Largest Cities (by population)
Rank City County Population
1 Jackson Hinds County 173,514
2 Gulfport Harrison County 67,793
3 Southaven DeSoto County 48,982
4 Hattiesburg Forrest County 46,805
5 Biloxi Harrison County 44,054
Borders: Tennessee (N), Alabama (E), Arkansas (NW), Louisiana (SW), Gulf of Mexico (S)
Subreddit: /mississippi

Government

Governor: Phil Bryant
Lieutenant Governor: Tate Reeves
U.S. Senators: Thad Cochran (R), Roger Wicker (R)
U.S. House Delegation: 4 Representatives (3 Republicans, 1 Democrat)
Mississippi Legislature
Senators: 52 (32 Republican, 20 Democrat)
President Pro Tempore of the Senate: Terry C. Burton (R)
Representatives: 122 (74 Republican, 48 Democrat)
Speaker of the House: Philip Gunn (R)

Presidential Election Results (since 1980, most recent first)

Year Democratic Nominee Republican Nominee State Winner (%) Election Winner Notes
2012 Barack Obama Mitt Romney Mitt Romney (55.29%) Barack Obama One of only six states where Obama improved from 2008
2008 Barack Obama John McCain John McCain (56.17%) Barack Obama
2004 John Kerry George W. Bush George W. Bush (59.4%) George W. Bush
2000 Al Gore George W. Bush George W. Bush (57.6%) George W. Bush
1996 Bill Clinton Bob Dole Bob Dole (49.21%) Bill Clinton Reform Party Candidate Ross Perot won 5.8% of the Mississippi vote
1992 Bill Clinton George H.W. Bush George H.W. Bush (49.68%) Bill Clinton Independent Candidate Ross Perot won 8.72% of the Mississippi vote
1988 Michael Dukakis George H.W. Bush George H.W. Bush (59.89%) George H.W. Bush Ron Paul ran as the Libertarian Party presidential nominee, his first bid for the Presidency
1984 Walter Mondale Ronald Reagan Ronald Reagan (61.85%) Ronald Reagan
1980 Jimmy Carter Ronald Reagan Ronald Reagan (49.4%) Ronald Reagan Jimmy Carter had won the state in 1976, the last Democrat to do so. This election began Mississippi's shift to a safe Republican stronghold

Demographics

Racial Composition:
  • 59.5% non-Hispanic White
  • 37.6% Black
  • 3.1% Hispanic/Latino (of any race)
  • 1.2% Mixed race, multicultural or biracial
  • 1.1% Asian
  • 0.7% Native American, Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander
Ancestry Groups
  • African American (28.3%)
  • American1 (14%)
  • Irish (6.9%)
  • English (6.1%)
  • German (4.5%) 1: American often refers to those of English descent whose family has resided in the Americas since the colonial period.
Second Languages – Most Non-English Languages Spoken at Home
  • Spanish (incl. Spanish Creole)
  • French (incl. Patois, Cajun, Creole)
  • Other Native North American languages
  • German
  • Vietnamese
Religion
  • Christian (83%)
    • Evangelical Protestant (41%)
    • Black Protestant (24%)
    • Mainline Protestant (12%)
    • Catholic (4%)
    • Mormon, Jehovah's Witness, or Orthodox (2.5%)
  • Unaffiliated, Atheist or Refused to Answer (14%)
  • Jewish, Buddhist, Islamic or Hindu (2%)

Education

Mississippi's Constitution, which was drafted after a convention in 1868 by a biracial committee, provided free public education for all people between the ages of 5 and 21 years. The state had little tax money to fund the school system, however, due to a heavily agricultural economy. Many black communities matched money raised by Julius Rosenwald to build schools and develop the educational systems in their communities.
Public schools were heavily segregated until the late 1960's (despite the 1954 Brown v Board of Education ruling which declared "separate but equal" schools to be unconstitutional). While a small minority of white students were withdrawn from public schooling following integration, 91% of the state's students remain publicly educated.
Mississippi has the ignoble distinction of ranking last or near-last in many measures of educational achievement, including in spending per student (45th), math scores (50th), science scores (50th) and in ACT scores (50th); it ranks well-above average in SAT scores. However, only 3% of students take the SAT.
Colleges and Universities in Mississippi include (shown are four-year schools with enrollment over 9,500):
School City Enrollment NCAA (Nickname)
University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) Oxford 23,838 Division I (Rebels)
Mississippi State University Starkville 20,873 Division I (Bulldogs)
University of Southern Mississippi Hattiesburg 14,845 Division I (Golden/Lady Eagles)
Jackson State University Jackson 9,802 Division I (Tigers)

Economy

State Minimum Wage: $7.25/hour
Minimum Tipped Wage: $2.13/hour
Unemployment Rate: 6.6%
Largest Employers, excluding Wal-Mart and state/federal government
Employer Industry Location Employees
University of Mississippi Medical Center Medical Center Jackson 9,000+
Nissan North America Inc. Automobile Manufacturing Canton 6,300+
Baptist Health Systems Healthcare Jackson 6,000+
North Mississippi Medical Center Medical Center Tupelo (HQ) 5,000+
Beau Rivage Resort & Casino Entertainment Biloxi 4,000+

Sports in Mississippi

With no professional franchises in the state, Mississippi's sports scene is dominated by college and minor-league athletics. Southern Miss, Ole Miss and Mississippi State all have successful NCAA programs and have significant following throughout the state.
Several developmental baseball franchises, soccer and hockey teams call Mississippi home, including franchises for the Atlanta Braves and the Milwaukee Brewers.

Fun Facts*

  1. Washington Nationals relief pitcher Jonathan Papelbon pitched for Mississippi State University. This is widely regarded as the worst thing to come from Mississippi in the last 25 years.
  2. The Teddy bear can trace its origins to a hunting trip Teddy Roosevelt took to Mississippi in 1902, when he refused to shoot a bear that had been captured and tied to a tree.
  3. The international Checkers Hall of Fame is in Petal, Mississippi. If you are standing next to another patron at an exhibit, you may only move by attempting to jump over that person.
  4. The world's first lung and heart transplants were performed in Mississippi in 1963 and 1964, respectively.
  5. Free slaves from many states, including Mississippi, would go on to found the nation of Liberia, which became an independent nation in 1862.
  6. Jackson (along with Moscow, Helsinki and Varna) is one of only four cities of the world sanctioned by The International Theater-Dance Committee to host the International Ballet Competition.
  7. Coca Cola was first bottled in 1894 in Vicksburg (it was previously only available as a fountain drink). Barq's Root Beer was invented in the state four years later in 1898.
* Facts may not actually be entirely factual.

List of Famous People

Previous States:
  1. Delaware
  2. Pennsylvania
  3. New Jersey
  4. Georgia
  5. Connecticut
  6. Massachusetts
  7. Maryland
  8. South Carolina
  9. New Hampshire
  10. Virginia
  11. New York
  12. North Carolina
  13. Rhode Island
  14. Vermont
  15. Kentucky
  16. Tennessee
  17. Ohio
  18. Louisiana
  19. Indiana
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