The Economy of Mississippi

A casino on a water raft in Robinsonville

Mississippi is one of the cheapest States to live in with houses and living expenses comparing well with the other parts of the United States. This is necessary as the average income per head of 27,000 US dollars per head, is the lowest of any State. Only 56% of adults work and currently 10% of the population claim disability allowance. The State suffered from its over-reliance on the cotton industry after the civil war and whenever it seems that the State shows any signs of economic recovery there appears to be a natural disaster like a flood. The state has had to invest huge sums of money, building up the Levees in order to protect the area from floods. The dominance of the plantation economy severely hindered the regions development as the large land owners would not allow new roads and railways to be built on their land. When the price for cotton dropped it sent the area into an economic decline. One of Mississippi’s economic successes has been the State opening its borders and welcoming in casinos. Both the coastal resort areas and the towns along the river have been opened to the Casinos and they are now known as gambling towns. Tunica is the third largest gambling area in the United States. To comply with the law the casinos are built on rafts in the Mississippi, so that they qualify for a riverboat license. They are mostly concentrated in Robinsonville and the area is dominated by cotton fields and casinos and attract visitors from all over the country.After hurricane Katrina in 2005 many casinos were damaged and this resulted in the gambling laws being changed. They are now allowed to be built on dry land as long as they are within 800 yards of the river.Still the most successful industry in the State is agriculture. The most popular crops are cotton, soya bean and rice that is farmed on 11 million acres of land. The most popular livestock produce are chickens that are farmed intensively in the region. The most popular manufacturing appears to be cars with both Toyota having a plant in Blue Springs, and Nissan having a plant in Canton. The food processing industries also have numerous factories in Jackson. In Pascagoula the State’s largest employers, Ingalls shipbuilding is located.

A shrimp boat sailing out of Biloxi

Fishing is also big business in the state. The biggest and most popular port for fishing is Biloxi where commercial fleets harvest the brown shrimp, white shrimp, oysters and crabs that are found in the area. The annual sales of fish from the port is worth around 650 million dollar each year and the local government are continually to improve the facilities at Biloxi’s harbor. Gas and oil have been found in Mississippi with 4% of the country’s gas reserves being located in the area. This is an area of the economy that is likely to be exploited. There are many other potential sites in the State and it will be only a matter of time before these finite resources are drilled for and harvested. There are already an abundance of oil refineries in the area that have oil piped into them from other areas of the United States. These refineries employ many workers and it won’t be long before much of the petroleum that arrives will have done so from local wells. The economy is always in a fine state of balance in Mississippi as the area appears to hit worse by natural freak weather conditions than in other States. The rich agricultural soils do yield bountiful harvests, and there are also good natural resources in terms of the fish in both the river and the sea. There are also potentially rich gas and oil supplies so the future for the State is quite positive.

If Mississippi can continue to develop its tourist industry then local people will soon start to benefit from the extra income that will be brought into the local region.