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Lewis: Mississippi – The Worst State?

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"Heritage, not hate!"

By Drawn by User:Pumbaa80 [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By Drawn by User:Pumbaa80 [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

"Heritage, not hate!"

Timothy Lewis, Staff Writer

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Mississippi is, by almost every possible metric, the worst state to live in, and I want out as soon as possible.

I find Mississippi’s terrible educational position as being the prime reason for its overall failings.  According to the National Center for Education Statistics, Mississippi ranks 49th out of 51 in educational attainment, which is the percentage of adults with at least a bachelor’s degree; only 31% of those who graduate high school graduate college.  A little over half of the people who graduate from one of Mississippi’s public universities end up staying to work in the state after graduation. The effect of this on the state is telling: Mississippi is among the eight states in the U.S. whose population is steadily declining.

Poor education isn’t the only thing that Mississippi excels in.  In fact, Mississippi ranks highly in a lot of things: we consistently rank in the top three states for teen pregnancy, first in STI/STDs and other such dubious honors.  We also consistently rank among the last in things like healthcare (worst), infrastructure (second worst), opportunity (second worst), etc.

Mississippi also faces social issues, such as police racism and violence, as well as sexist and homophobic discrimination.  In a poll taken in 2016, only 32% of Mississippians supported allowing homosexual marriages, for example. We are also one of the few states that insists on keeping the Confederate imagery in our state flag, all the while preaching things like “heritage, not hate.”  It sickens me.

About the only good thing Mississippi has going for it are its universities, like Mississippi State and Ole Miss, however, even they are lacking in many areas.  According to a few friends I know currently going to Mississippi State University, they find the faculty to be intolerably bad. I want to get out of this place as fast as possible.  Is this a defeatist attitude? Should I stay in-state and try to improve it, rather than flee and call it someone else’s problem? Yes. However, I simply can’t bear the thought of spending another four years or more of my life down here where everywhere I look I see hateful, ignorant people and abject poverty.

Did I mention how stifling the heat is?

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