The 10 Best Places To Live In Mississippi For 2024

The best places to live in Mississippi for 2024 are Madison, Brandon, and Ocean Springs. Find out where your city or town ranks.

Rebel Yell!

Mississippi is a truly glorious state. A place of historical relevance, high religious identity, and deep cultural roots.

The Magnolia State is hard to beat if you’re looking for a beautiful place with some of the country’s most polite and friendly people.

Where are the best places to live in Mississippi? We used Saturday Night Science to compare Census, FBI, and Zillow data on factors like incomes, crime, and home prices. You can’t argue with data, can you?

After analyzing the 61 most populous cities, we came up with this list of Mississippi’s best places, sorry Jackson, but the best places are your suburbs.

Table Of Contents: Top Ten | Table | Map | Methodology | Summary

The 10 Best Places To Live In Mississippi For 2024

  1. Madison
  2. Brandon
  3. Ocean Springs
  4. Olive Branch
  5. Long Beach
  6. Ridgeland
  7. Clinton
  8. Hernando
  9. Oxford
  10. Diamondhead

What city is the best place to live in Mississippi for 2024? Madison is the best place to live in Mississippi if you care about low unemployment, low crime, and high quality of life.

Grab some friend catfish and a sweet tea, and continue learning about the top Mississippi cities.

For more reading, check out:

The 10 Best Places To Live In Mississippi For 2024

Best Places To Live In Mississippi Map

Madison, MS

Source: Wikipedia User Pmsyyz | CC BY-SA 3.0
Stat Madison Mississippi
Population 27,595 2,958,846
Rank Last Year 1
Median Home Value $389,530 $174,931
Median Income $124,575 $52,985
Unemployment Rate 2.7% 6.4%
Crime Per Capita 0.0063 0.0240

More on Madison: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

We’re kicking off our tour of the best places to live in Mississippi with Madison, which has held onto the HomeSnacks gold medal for the second year running. Situated just 20 minutes north of Jackson, Madison is a quickly-growing city, and it’s not hard to see why. In no time flat, you can find yourself wandering Jackson’s Fondren District, a hub of artistic expression and the cultural heart of Mississippi.

GreatSchools gave Madison’s public schools an 8.5/10 average rating with both high schools receiving College Success Awards and the city has the 4th lowest high school dropout rate in Mississippi. Adults here love to learn as well, as evidenced by about two-thirds of the population having a bachelor’s degree, and a further 25% having a master’s degree or higher to boot.

When it comes to making an economy that works for everyone, Madison knows its business. It is Mississippi’s richest city, after all. Unemployment is at a rock-bottom 2.7%, while the poverty rate is the lowest in the state at 4.7%. Not to mention that Madison has the highest rate of citizens with health insurance statewide at 95.8%.

A by-product of having an awesome city that everyone wants to live in is that it tends to drive prices up. The overall cost of living in Madison is about 25% higher than your average place in Mississippi, with housing costs coming in more than twice as high. Rent in Madison will set you back about $1,744/month, nearly twice the median rent in Mississippi. More than 90% of residents choose to buy, though, and Madison’s homes are the 1st priciest statewide at $389,530. On the plus side, Madison also has the highest median household income in the state at $124,575/year. All that cash keeps people pretty calm, seeing as Madison’s crime rate is about 60% lower than the national average.

Brandon, MS

Source: Wikipedia User Ditch Fisher | CC BY-SA 3.0
Stat Brandon Mississippi
Population 25,142 2,958,846
Rank Last Year 2
Median Home Value $272,442 $174,931
Median Income $89,051 $52,985
Unemployment Rate 4.2% 6.4%
Crime Per Capita 0.0060 0.0240

More on Brandon: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

From Jackson’s northern suburbs we move to the east to reach Brandon, a city of 25,142. Brandon has all the big city amenities while retaining its small-town charm. That’s the sort of atmosphere that delights people from every generation, which is part of the reason why Brandon topped both our lists of the best family cities and the best places to retire in Mississippi. The new Brandon Amphitheatre is always putting on shows that draw massive crowds, while you can visit restaurants, a farmer’s market, and a 60-acre safari park with some 30 exotic animals at the McClain Lodge.

As for the statistical side of things, Brandon ticks all the boxes. The city enjoys the 13th lowest unemployment rate and 2nd lowest poverty rate in Mississippi at 4.2% and 5.0% respectively. When people are flush, they don’t have much cause to commit crimes and that plays out in Brandon, where the crime rate is about 65% below the national average and ranks as the 2nd lowest statewide. Even if you do get banged up somehow in Brandon, you won’t be swamped with medical bills, because 94.5% of folks have health insurance, the 3rd highest rate in Mississippi.

Homes in Brandon go for a median price of $272,442, while a typical rental will set you back about $1,110/month. In any case, with such low unemployment and a median income that ranks as the 4th highest in the state at $89,051/year, you should have no trouble getting the bills paid (and then some) in Brandon.

Ocean Springs, MS

Source: Flickr User Brian Leon of Ottawa | CC BY-ND 2.0
Stat Ocean Springs Mississippi
Population 18,417 2,958,846
Rank Last Year 5
Median Home Value $250,207 $174,931
Median Income $72,500 $52,985
Unemployment Rate 4.1% 6.4%
Crime Per Capita 0.0236 0.0240

More on Ocean Springs: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

We’re taking our first foray out of the greater Jackson area to reach our 3rd best Mississippi city, Ocean Springs. As a city on the Gulf Coast, Ocean Springs was hit hard by Hurricane Katrina, but the spirit of community and volunteerism here has seen the city recover in a tremendous fashion. From the oak-lined avenues on Main Street to the soft sand of Front Beach, there’s something for everyone in Ocean Springs. The Gulf Islands National Seashore draws visitors year-round, along with the Walter Anderson Museum of Art in the heart of town, while locals appreciate the breadth of locally-grown food available at the Fresh Market. Not to mention the wide variety of art, music, and food festivals that Ocean Springs hosts throughout the year. Home to more than 150 independent shops and galleries, it’s no wonder Ocean Springs made the cut for 10 happiest seaside towns on Coastal Living’s list.

Ocean Springs is the oldest city we’ll be covering here, with a median age of 41. That doesn’t mean folks here don’t know how to take care of the next generation, though. On the contrary, GreatSchools gave Ocean Springs’s schools an average rating of 8/10 and the city has the 3rd lowest high school dropout rate in Mississippi. If you want to give Ocean Springs a try without committing to a mortgage, rent will cost around $1,223/month. If you fall in love with the city instantaneously and decide to buy yourself a home, expect prices in the range of $250,207. The median household income in Ocean Springs is $72,500/year, and both property values and income have risen by more than 3% in the last year.

Olive Branch, MS

Source: Wikipedia User Thomas R Machnitzki ([email protected]) | GFDL
Stat Olive Branch Mississippi
Population 45,938 2,958,846
Rank Last Year 6
Median Home Value $325,825 $174,931
Median Income $93,762 $52,985
Unemployment Rate 2.7% 6.4%
Crime Per Capita 0.0192 0.0240

More on Olive Branch: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

Situated on the Tennessee state line, Olive Branch offers an ideal escape from neighboring Memphis. Thanks to an exodus of middle-class families from Memphis, Olive Branch’s population has spiked by around 15% in the last decade. It’s not hard to see what draws people; an awesome City Park with all the amenities you want, the craft beer-lovers heaven, Mississippi Ale House, and city events like movies on the lawn of Wesson House, the anchor of the Old Towne area of Olive Branch.

Homes in Olive Branch go for around $325,825 and property taxes are under $1,000/year for most residents. The median household income in Olive Branch grew by more than 5% in the last year up to $93,762/year, making the city’s residents the 2nd best-paid populace in Mississippi. The poverty rate ranks as the 4th lowest statewide at 5.1%. And if unwelcome medical surprises come up, Olive Branch has you covered, seeing as the city has the 5th highest rate of health insurance in the state.

As for those moving with a family, Olive Branch has some top-notch schools; GreatSchools awarded a perfect 10/10 to an elementary, middle, and high school in the district, but even if you’re not in the right area to send your child to one of those, the average rating here is still 9/10.

Long Beach, MS

Source: Flickr User Dave Bezaire | CC BY-SA 2.0
Stat Long Beach Mississippi
Population 16,809 2,958,846
Rank Last Year 4
Median Home Value $225,244 $174,931
Median Income $66,573 $52,985
Unemployment Rate 5.8% 6.4%
Crime Per Capita 0.0161 0.0240

More on Long Beach: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

Long Beach is a small town on the Gulf Of Mexico about 75 miles east of New Orleans. This town of about 16,809 ranks as the 5th best place to live in Mississippi for 2024. And whoa does it deserve its spot on this list.

Long Beach ranked well across all of our criteria without standing out in any particular area. The cost of living is better than most places on this list and the crime rate is lower than the Mississippi average. Long Beach Industrial Park is a central part of the local economy and a big source of local jobs. The University Of Southern Mississippi also has a campus in town and is a great source of things to do on the weekend.

Ridgeland, MS

Source: Flickr User pmsyyz | CC BY-SA 2.0
Stat Ridgeland Mississippi
Population 24,618 2,958,846
Rank Last Year 3
Median Home Value $262,121 $174,931
Median Income $66,171 $52,985
Unemployment Rate 4.3% 6.4%
Crime Per Capita 0.0223 0.0240

More on Ridgeland: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

Located just between Jackson and Madison, Ridgeland comes in as the 6th best place in Mississippi for 2024. Ridgeland is positioned on the Natchez Trace Parkway, a 444-mile recreational road that runs through three states. It makes for quite the scenic drive, but the more adventurous will probably be eager to get out on bikes or hike to a secluded camping spot along the parkway. Even if you’re not that ambitious, Ridgeland Bike Trail and its offshoots provide a fun and healthy way to get around town. As Ridgeland’s tourism page puts it, “there’s an undeniable vitality and energy here that makes it hard to sit still.”

Part of that energy might be attributed to Ridgeland’s young median age of just 35. Don’t let that youth fool you, though, because Ridgeland also has the know-how to make a successful city that puts its residents first. Unemployment and poverty rates both rank near the best in Mississippi, while property values continue to rise. Possibly owing to young people being less likely to settle down, more than half of Ridgeland’s population rents, and the median price on a rental here is $1,185/month. If you do decide to make Ridgeland your permanent home, know that a typical home goes for around $262,121, the 8th costliest in Mississippi.

Clinton, MS

Source: Public domain
Stat Clinton Mississippi
Population 27,668 2,958,846
Rank Last Year 9
Median Home Value $225,260 $174,931
Median Income $71,315 $52,985
Unemployment Rate 4.2% 6.4%
Crime Per Capita 0.0116 0.0240

More on Clinton: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

Situated just west of Jackson, Clinton comes in as the 7th best place to live in Mississippi. Home to Mississippi College, Clinton is a vibrant young community that has the essentials down pat and then some. Main Street Clinton is constantly putting on family-friendly events, the antique district is alive and well, and bike tours of Olde Town Clinton are a treat for anyone interested in history or just getting out into all the natural splendor the city has to offer.

If the political affiliation of your neighbors is important to you, know that Clinton ranks among Mississippi’s most liberal cities. It’s also one of the most diverse places in Mississippi, so you’d better believe Clinton is a cultural melting pot. You don’t need to worry about criminal activity in Clinton, because the violent crime rate here ranks as the 10th lowest statewide. It’s also quite easy to score your dream job in Clinton because the unemployment rate is just 4.2%.

As for cost of living, Clinton is about 8% cheaper than the national average, even though housing is 40% more expensive than the statewide average. A typical Clinton home sells for $225,260 and renting will set you back around $1,179/month.

Hernando, MS

Source: Wikipedia User Thomas R Machnitzki | CC BY-SA 3.0
Stat Hernando Mississippi
Population 17,262 2,958,846
Rank Last Year 8
Median Home Value $326,012 $174,931
Median Income $69,761 $52,985
Unemployment Rate 2.2% 6.4%
Crime Per Capita 0.0075 0.0240

More on Hernando: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

We conclude our tour of the best places to live in Mississippi for 2024 with Hernando, a city of 17,262 located about a half-hour south of Memphis, Tennessee. Here you’ll find several bike trails both inside and outside the city. More adventurous cyclists can even make their way to Arkabutla Lake; heck, if you can manage to bring your fishing rod along, you could even enjoy a spot renowned for some of the best bass and crappie fishing in the southeast. If your ride tuckers you out, there are three pristine beaches for swimming, picnicking, or just plain chilling. In Hernando itself, you’ll find the action at historic Courthouse Square and the surrounding areas.

It’s fair to say that Hernando is booming economically. Folks here enjoy the 10th highest median household income in Mississippi at $69,761/year. A typical Hernando home goes for $326,012, the 2nd highest statewide. And it’s not like the 1% are laughing it up while their neighbors struggle to get by here, either. Hernando has the 8th lowest poverty rate and 2nd lowest unemployment rate in the state at 7.8% and 2.2% respectively. And tax dollars find their way to the right places, as evidenced by the 9/10 GreatSchools average rating given to public schools in Hernando.

Word to the wise, though; Hernando’s population has grown by nearly 20% since 2010, making it one of Mississippi’s fastest-growing cities. Property values have also gone up during this time, so the sooner you make the move, the better.

Oxford, MS

Source: Wikipedia User The original uploader was Enjoybeta at English Wikipedia | CC BY-SA 2.0
Stat Oxford Mississippi
Population 25,713 2,958,846
Rank Last Year 11
Median Home Value $323,812 $174,931
Median Income $56,784 $52,985
Unemployment Rate 3.3% 6.4%
Crime Per Capita 0.0185 0.0240

More on Oxford: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

Welcome to Oxford, the county seat of Lafayette County and the “Cultural Meca of the South.” Here you’ll find the youngest crowd on this list, with a median age of 27. It’s easy to see why Oxford is so young; it is home to the University of Mississippi, after all. An Ole’ Miss game at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium is one of the best college sporting events you’re likely to see in the country (especially if LSU or Alabama is in town). The historic Downtown Square is the cultural and economic hub of Oxford, complete with independent bookstores, art galleries, regular events, and some of the finest dining the South has to offer. And the annual Double Decker Festival is a real treat to look forward to each year.

With all these young folks and awesome amenities, it’s no wonder that Oxford topped our list of the best cities for singles in Mississippi. It’s also unsurprising that the city has been drawing the attention of people looking to relocate for the past decade; since 2010, Oxford’s population has swelled by nearly 30%. Maybe they’re sick of driving so much and want to get into the place with the 32nd shortest commute time in Mississippi at 21 minutes. Or maybe they’re attracted to the safe streets, low crime, and that college town vibe.

If you want to join the 40% of people who own homes in Oxford, know that the median home price here is the 4th highest in Mississippi at $323,812. Hey, we weren’t joking when we said Oxford was the most expensive city in Mississippi. On the bright side, both household income and property values increased by about 8% in the last year, so buying seems like a safe investment.

Diamondhead, MS

Source: Public domain
Stat Diamondhead Mississippi
Population 9,360 2,958,846
Rank Last Year 12
Median Home Value $246,567 $174,931
Median Income $80,504 $52,985
Unemployment Rate 2.5% 6.4%
Crime Per Capita 0.0386 0.0240

More on Diamondhead: Data | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

Conveniently situated between New Orleans and Gulfport, Diamondhead comes in as Mississippi’s 10th best place to call home.

Diamondhead isn’t just one of the richest spots in the state; it’s also one of Mississppi’s most affordable places to live. That’s not just because Diamondhead has an overall cost of living 4% lower than the national average. It’s also because residents earn a median household income of $80,504 and pay a median home price of $246,567.

Living in Diamondhead grants you easy access to some of the most premier golfing Mississippi has to offer. And don’t worry if you pull a muscle golfing because Diamondhead has the 2nd highest rate of residents with health insurance in Mississippi. It’s not just some who succeed while others fall by the wayside in Diamondhead either, considering the city has the 3rd lowest poverty rate in the state.

Ultimately, Diamondhead lives up to its Motto that it’s “where living is easy.”

Mapping The Best And Worst Places To Live in Mississippi

Best Places To Live In Mississippi Size Requirement

Before we even started to collect data on the best places to live in Mississippi, we had to answer a tough question: Is it fair to pit Jackson, with a population of 153,271, against places with a population of 18?

We firmly decided no, that just isn’t fair.

So, to create our ranking, we broke the best places to live into three tiers:

  • Cities — Populations over 5,000
  • Towns — Populations between 1,000 and 5,000
  • Small Towns — Populations below 1,000

This filter left 61 cities, 129 towns, and 141 small towns.

We then decided no matter how much anyone loves their town, the best cities to live in Mississippi have more of everything, and therefore, you need over 5,000 people to truly be ‘the best.’

Methodology: How We Calculated The Best Cities To Live In Mississippi

Now that we had our set of the best possible cities, it was time to rank them using Saturday Night Science.

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, crowning the city posting the lowest overall score, the “Best Place To Live In Mississippi.”

The criteria we looked to determine the best places were:

  • Median Home Values
  • Median Income
  • Population Density (Higher is better)
  • Unemployment Rate
  • Commute Time
  • Crime
  • Education Levels
  • Health Insurance Coverage
  • Poverty rates

Sources of criteria include the New Census Data, FBI Crime Data, and Zillow. We updated this article for 2024. This report is our tenth time ranking Mississippi’s best places to live.

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.

Summary: The Best Places 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.

The best places to live in Mississippi are Madison, Brandon, Ocean Springs, Olive Branch, Long Beach, Ridgeland, Clinton, Hernando, Oxford, and Diamondhead.

Madison made a strong showing to take in the overall number one spot for the best place to live in Mississippi for 2024.

If you’re curious enough, here are the worst places to live in Mississippi according to the data:

  1. Louisville (Pop. 6,061)
  2. Corinth (Pop. 14,520)
  3. West Point (Pop. 10,063)

For more Mississippi reading, check out:

Best Places To Live In Mississippi Table

Rank City Population Unemployment Rate Home Value Median Income Rent Crime Per Capita
1 Madison 27,595 2.7% $389,530 $124,575 $1,744 0.0063
2 Brandon 25,142 4.2% $272,442 $89,051 $1,110 0.0060
3 Ocean Springs 18,417 4.1% $250,207 $72,500 $1,223 0.0236
4 Olive Branch 45,938 2.7% $325,825 $93,762 $1,504 0.0192
5 Long Beach 16,809 5.8% $225,244 $66,573 $1,132 0.0161
6 Ridgeland 24,618 4.3% $262,121 $66,171 $1,185 0.0223
7 Clinton 27,668 4.2% $225,260 $71,315 $1,179 0.0116
8 Hernando 17,262 2.2% $326,012 $69,761 $1,079 0.0075
9 Oxford 25,713 3.3% $323,812 $56,784 $1,096 0.0185
10 Diamondhead 9,360 2.5% $246,567 $80,504 $1,369 0.0386
11 Byram 12,922 3.7% $200,046 $72,536 $1,334 0.0135
12 Flowood 10,204 4.6% $318,663 $89,144 $1,398 0.0184
13 Petal 11,047 6.4% $210,789 $61,957 $911 0.0052
14 Southaven 54,908 4.1% $258,896 $72,513 $1,228 0.0357
15 Pass Christian 5,802 8.4% $289,217 $65,000 $1,072 0.0240
16 New Albany 7,657 1.0% $175,466 $50,890 $886 0.0235
17 Pearl 27,255 5.3% $182,229 $56,838 $1,101 0.0184
18 Richland 7,208 4.2% $201,415 $54,753 $1,065 0.0154
19 Tupelo 37,939 5.1% $185,761 $62,686 $922 0.0445
20 Waveland 7,075 9.0% $204,521 $56,396 $914 0.0150
21 Horn Lake 26,652 7.9% $186,016 $57,111 $1,251 0.0225
22 Starkville 24,274 7.9% $248,103 $36,076 $861 0.0270
23 Bay St. Louis 9,788 9.2% $236,101 $63,508 $995 0.0386
24 Senatobia 8,288 5.1% $220,794 $56,780 $804 0.0222
25 D’Iberville 12,922 6.2% $195,552 $52,625 $1,102 0.0576
26 Batesville 7,464 4.5% $170,642 $57,813 $923 0.0308
27 McComb 12,295 5.8% $88,612 $37,288 $808 0.0126
28 Biloxi 49,141 8.1% $224,489 $55,775 $1,007 0.0518
29 Amory 6,642 7.8% $144,341 $52,298 $766 0.0402
30 Booneville 9,027 4.6% $127,177 $48,655 $653 0.0448
31 Kosciusko 7,056 5.5% $108,104 $33,719 $687 0.0166
32 Hattiesburg 48,466 7.8% $199,812 $41,024 $936 0.0466
33 Gautier 19,007 10.4% $172,204 $57,757 $960 0.0251
34 Pontotoc 5,676 5.0% $176,634 $49,235 $756 0.0381
35 Jackson 153,271 9.3% $62,707 $42,193 $980 0.0428
36 Columbus 23,896 9.8% $151,954 $38,954 $885 0.0333
37 Grenada 12,594 6.3% $120,441 $40,714 $752 0.0333
38 Greenwood 14,242 7.9% $84,541 $37,718 $650 0.0333
39 Indianola 9,572 12.8% $102,937 $36,243 $755 0.0333
40 Holly Springs 6,942 7.9% $123,433 $45,552 $832 0.0063
41 Vicksburg 21,337 6.7% $161,758 $45,147 $836 0.0477
42 Philadelphia 7,065 10.5% $132,847 $38,713 $771 0.0126
43 Picayune 11,804 5.7% $183,125 $35,649 $873 0.0358
44 Cleveland 11,082 7.4% $147,968 $42,005 $842 0.0556
45 Brookhaven 11,714 5.6% $166,022 $32,869 $673 0.0438
46 Canton 10,951 4.0% $200,822 $33,411 $886 0.0223
47 Gulfport 72,524 11.4% $190,647 $43,499 $988 0.0471
48 Ripley 5,440 9.6% $132,221 $53,175 $658 0.0293
49 Laurel 17,241 6.3% $133,004 $36,336 $738 0.0513
50 Pascagoula 21,904 12.0% $130,667 $41,679 $869 0.0492
51 Greenville 29,495 11.5% $66,483 $35,148 $814 0.0333
52 Natchez 14,380 8.3% $118,158 $31,800 $736 0.0512
53 Leakesville 5,463 11.6% $134,411 $49,250 $719 0.0333
54 Clarksdale 14,769 12.6% $45,333 $35,377 $745 0.0333
55 Moss Point 12,173 9.9% $125,200 $44,779 $1,033 0.0492
56 Meridian 34,990 8.6% $107,888 $32,797 $824 0.0427
57 Forest 5,416 7.1% $99,558 $50,093 $616 0.0323
58 Columbia 5,831 8.6% $122,969 $29,470 $545 0.0333
59 Louisville 6,061 7.0% $127,400 $36,078 $492 0.0340
60 Corinth 14,520 8.4% $144,798 $40,546 $641 0.0549
61 West Point 10,063 11.0% $124,955 $32,846 $711 0.0337

About Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar has been in the real estate business for almost ten years now. He originally worked for Movoto Real Estate as the director of marketing before founding HomeSnacks.

He believes the key to finding the right place to live comes down to looking at the data, reading about things to do, and, most importantly, checking it out yourself before you move.

If you've been looking for a place to live in the past several years, you've probably stumbled upon his writing already.

You can find out more about him on LinkedIn or his website.