Discover the 10 Largest Cities in Mississippi

Written by Shreya Agrawal
Published: October 7, 2023
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Mississippi is famous for its rich history, vibrant culture, and southern charm. Thus, it is a state with a diverse range of cities, each with its own unique character and significance. In this article, we delve into the ten largest cities in Mississippi, examining their size through different parameters such as their population, total area, and economic impact. We hope this exploration will provide readers with valuable insights into the state’s urban landscape, its geographic diversity as well as its economic longevity.

Introduction

Mississippi is a state with lots of history, from its role in the Civil Rights Movement to its cultural contributions to music and literature. But beyond its historical significance, the state also has a fascinating collection of cities, each with its own story to tell.

These cities represent a microcosm of Mississippi’s diverse population, showcasing both urban and rural demographics. Mississippi’s landscape also varies from the flat Delta region to the rolling hills and pine forests of the eastern part of the state. These cities are present in these various parts and therefore, help show how people inhabit different parts of the state. Finally, these cities serve as economic hubs, contributing significantly to Mississippi’s overall economic health.

Now, let’s begin our journey by examining the population statistics of Mississippi’s largest cities.

Population

Population is a fundamental aspect of a city’s identity. It reflects not only the number of residents but also the cultural, social, and economic vibrancy of an area. Below is a table of the ten largest cities in Mississippi ranked by population, along with relevant demographic data:

RankCityPopulation (2023)Population Density (per sq mi)Notable Demographic Trends
1Jackson169,1481,674.2Cultural diversity, significant African American population
2Gulfport70,8501,215.9Growth in tourism and waterfront development
3Southaven55,6941,470.2Rapid suburban expansion, strong job market
4Hattiesburg46,521765.6Home to the University of Southern Mississippi
5Biloxi45,9681,346.7Coastal location, gaming and tourism industry
6Meridian37,899830.3Historic significance, transportation hub
7Tupelo37,789657.1Birthplace of Elvis Presley, thriving manufacturing sector
8Olive Branch37,392774.2Rapid growth, proximity to Memphis metropolitan area
9Greenville30,231632.7Cultural heritage, agriculture and manufacturing
10Horn Lake29,783941.1Suburban growth, family-friendly community
A table of the ten largest cities in Mississippi ranked by population, along with data on what makes them special.

Jackson

Jackson, Mississippi, USA skyline over the Capitol Building.

Jackson, Mississippi is the political center of the state, as seen by the presence of the Capitol Building.

©Sean Pavone/Shutterstock.com

As the capital and largest city of Mississippi, Jackson has a special place in the state’s identity. It is also famous for its cultural diversity, most of which is because of its significant African American population. Jackson is not only the political center of the state but also a hub for healthcare, education, and commerce.

Gulfport

Welcome to Mississippi Gulf Coast sign on sandy beach in Gulfport

Welcome to Mississippi Gulf Coast sign on sandy beach in Gulfport.

©CrackerClips Stock Media/Shutterstock.com

Located on the Gulf of Mexico, Gulfport is a thriving coastal city known for its beautiful beaches and waterfront developments. Tourism also plays a crucial role in its economy, drawing visitors with its long coastline, casinos, and cultural attractions.

Southaven

A flag map of Mississippi. Southaven lies in the northern part of the state and is one of the largest towns.

©DrRandomFactor / CC BY-SA 4.0 – License

Southaven, situated in the northern part of the state, has experienced rapid suburban expansion in recent years. Its strong job market, proximity to Memphis, Tennessee, and family-friendly atmosphere also make it an attractive destination for both residents and businesses.

Hattiesburg

Downtown District overhead black metal framed sign in Hattiesburg MS

Hattiesburg, MS, USA – June 6th, 2015: Downtown District overhead sign in the regenerated area of Hattiesburg, Mississippi

©csfotoimages/iStock via Getty Images

Home to the University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg is a vibrant college town with a rich cultural scene. Not only does it offer a mix of academic pursuits, but it also has cultural events, and outdoor activities, making it an appealing place to live.

Biloxi

Biloxi, Mississippi, USA

Biloxi, Mississippi, USA at Biloxi Lighthouse.

©Sean Pavone/iStock via Getty Images

Biloxi’s coastal location on the Mississippi Sound has made it a popular tourist destination. Its gaming industry, beautiful beaches, and vibrant nightlife also contribute to its economic vitality.

Meridian

Okatibbee Reservoir

Aerial view of Okatibbee Dam and Lake on Okatibbee Creek, a tributary of the Chickasawhay River. The dam and lake are located in Lauderdale County, approximately 9 miles (14.5 km) northwest of Meridian, Mississippi, USA.

©Adrien Lamarre, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers / Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons – License

Meridian, located in the eastern part of the state, has historical significance as a transportation hub, dating back to its days as a railroad center. It continues to play a vital role in transportation and manufacturing in Mississippi.

Tupelo

Tupelo National Battlefield, in Tupelo, Mississippi, commemorates the July 14–15, 1864, Battle of Tupelo in which Lieutenant General Nathan Bedford Forrest tried to cut the railroad supplying the Union's march on Atlanta. Established as Tupelo National Battlefield Site February 21, 1929; transferred from the War Department August 10, 1933; redesignated and boundary changed August 10, 1961. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places on October 15, 1966. Administered by the Natchez Trace Parkway.

Tupelo National Battlefield, in Tupelo, Mississippi, commemorates the July 14–15, 1864, Battle of Tupelo.

©Ken Lund from Las Vegas, Nevada, USA / CC BY-SA 2.0 – License

Tupelo, often referred to as the “Birthplace of Elvis Presley,” is famous for its ties to the music legend. Beyond its musical heritage, Tupelo also has a thriving manufacturing sector and a welcoming community.

Olive Branch

Flag of american state of Mississippi, region of the United States

Flag of american state of Mississippi, region of the United States, waving at wind

©Ianm35/iStock via Getty Images

Olive Branch, a city in the northern part of Mississippi, has experienced rapid growth thanks to its proximity to the Memphis metropolitan area. It is also famous for its suburban charm and accessibility to urban amenities.

Greenville

Greenville Bridge

The Greenville Bridge is the longest bridge in the state of Mississippi.

©iStock.com/TreyCambern

Greenville, situated in the Mississippi Delta, has lots of cultural heritage and is famous for its contributions to the blues genre. Agriculture and manufacturing are also key components of its economy.

Horn Lake

Horn Lake, a suburban city in the northern part of the state, has seen significant growth in recent years. Its family-friendly environment and proximity to Memphis also make it an attractive residential destination.

Total Area

Mississippi’s cities vary not only in population but also in their geographical attributes. From the coastal plains to the hilly terrain, the state has diverse landscapes. Below is a table of the largest cities in Mississippi ranked by total land area, along with information about their geographic features, climate, and notable natural attractions:

RankCityTotal Land Area (sq mi)Geographic FeaturesNotable Natural Attractions
1Jackson111.0Hilly terrain, Pearl RiverLeFleur’s Bluff State Park, Ross Barnett Reservoir
2Hattiesburg54.3Pine forests, Leaf RiverLongleaf Trace, DeSoto National Forest
3Meridian55.6Rolling hills, Okatibbee LakeBonita Lakes Park, Dunn’s Falls Water Park
4Southaven39.5Flat terrainLanders Center, Tanger Outlets Southaven
5Olive Branch38.9Flat terrain, Tornado CreekOlive Branch City Park, T.O. Fuller State Park
6Tupelo51.6Undulating landscape, Tombigbee RiverElvis Presley Birthplace, Natchez Trace Parkway
7Gulfport56.4Coastal plains, Gulf of MexicoGulf Islands National Seashore, Ship Island
8Biloxi38.2Coastal plains, Mississippi SoundBeauvoir, Biloxi Lighthouse, Biloxi Beach
9Horn Lake16.4Flat terrain, Horn LakeLatimer Lakes Park, Snowden Grove Park
10Greenville27.6Mississippi Delta, Lake FergusonWinterville Mounds, Lake Chicot State Park
A table of the largest cities in Mississippi ranked by total land area, along with information about their geographic features, climate, and notable natural attractions.

Jackson

Jackson, the state capital, is famous for its hilly terrain and its location along the Pearl River. LeFleur’s Bluff State Park and the Ross Barnett Reservoir also offer residents and visitors opportunities for outdoor recreation.

Hattiesburg

Hattiesburg lies amid pine forests by the Leaf River. The Longleaf Trace, a popular rail-to-trail conversion, creates a scenic route for walking, biking, and horseback riding.

Meridian

Meridian lies among rolling hills and is home to the picturesque Okatibbee Lake. Bonita Lakes Park and Dunn’s Falls Water Park are also popular destinations for outdoor lovers.

Southaven

Southaven, located in the flat terrain of northern Mississippi, has several recreational opportunities. The city is famous for the Landers Center and Tanger Outlets Southaven, both of which can fulfil any entertainment and shopping needs.

Olive Branch

Olive Branch also has flat terrain and is crossed by Tornado Creek. Residents can enjoy spending time in Olive Branch City Park as well as proximity to T.O. Fuller State Park for other outdoor activities.

Tupelo

Tupelo landscape is highly influenced by the Tombigbee River. As mentioned earlier, it is famous as the birthplace of Elvis Presley and offers attractions like the Elvis Presley Birthplace and the scenic Natchez Trace Parkway.

Gulfport

As mentioned earlier, Gulfport, situated on the coastal plains along the Gulf of Mexico, is known for its stunning beaches. The Gulf Islands National Seashore and Ship Island are popular natural attractions.

Biloxi

Biloxi, another coastal city, gets beauty from the Mississippi Sound and has attractions such as Beauvoir, the Biloxi Lighthouse, and Biloxi Beach.

Horn Lake

Horn Lake, with its flat terrain, creates a relaxed suburban environment. It is home to Latimer Lakes Park and Snowden Grove Park, which are essential green spaces for residents.

Greenville

Finally, Greenville, located in the Mississippi Delta, is adjacent to Lake Ferguson. Winterville Mounds and Lake Chicot State Park are important parts of the region’s natural beauty and history.

After looking at the geographic diversity of Mississippi’s largest cities, let’s now explore their economic impact on the state.

Biloxi, Mississippi, casinos and buildings along Gulf Coast shore at sunset

Biloxi, Mississippi, casinos and buildings along Gulf Coast shore at sunset.

©Rob Hainer/Shutterstock.com

Economic Impact

Economic activity is a vital component of any city, contributing to its growth and prosperity. Here, we present a table of the largest cities in Mississippi ranked by their economic output. We also delve into each city’s key industries, major employers, and any notable economic trends.

RankCityKey IndustriesMajor EmployersNotable Economic Trends
1JacksonHealthcare, Education, Government, FinanceUniversity of Mississippi Medical Center, State of MississippiGrowing healthcare and education sectors, stable government employment
2GulfportTourism, Gaming, TradeIsland View Casino Resort, Port of GulfportTourism industry growth, increased trade activity
3SouthavenRetail, Healthcare, DistributionBaptist Memorial Hospital, Tanger Outlets SouthavenExpanding retail sector, distribution centers
4HattiesburgEducation, Healthcare, ManufacturingUniversity of Southern Mississippi, Forrest General HospitalStrong contributions from the education and healthcare sectors
5BiloxiTourism, Gaming, HospitalityBeau Rivage Resort & Casino, Golden Nugget BiloxiRobust tourism and gaming industries
6MeridianManufacturing, Healthcare, AerospaceKeyTronicEMS, Rush Health SystemsManufacturing sector growth, aerospace contributions
7TupeloManufacturing, Healthcare, RetailToyota Motor Manufacturing Mississippi, North Mississippi Health ServicesThriving manufacturing and healthcare industries
8Olive BranchLogistics, Manufacturing, RetailFedEx Ground, Roxul Inc.Expanding logistics and manufacturing sectors
9GreenvilleAgriculture, Manufacturing, HealthcareDelta Regional Medical Center, Milwaukee Electric ToolAgriculture and manufacturing remain key sectors
10Horn LakeRetail, Manufacturing, DistributionKroger Distribution Center, Johnson ControlsGrowth in retail and distribution industries
A table of the largest cities in Mississippi ranked by their economic output, including each city’s key industries, major employers, and any notable economic trends.

Jackson

As the capital and economic hub of Mississippi, Jackson’s economy is primarily driven by healthcare, education, government, and finance. The University of Mississippi Medical Center and state government offices are its major employers. The city is experiencing growth in the healthcare and education sectors, all of which contribute highly to its economic stability.

Gulfport

Gulfport’s economy is significantly influenced by its tourism, gaming, and trade sectors. The Island View Casino Resort and the Port of Gulfport are the major players in the city’s economy. The region is now witnessing growth in tourism and increased trade activity, which bolsters its economic impact.

Southaven

Southaven relies on retail, healthcare, and distribution industries. Baptist Memorial Hospital and Tanger Outlets Southaven are the key contributors to the local economy. The city’s retail sector is also expanding, along with the development of distribution centers.

Hattiesburg

Hattiesburg is supported by its education, healthcare, and manufacturing sectors. The University of Southern Mississippi and Forrest General Hospital are its prominent institutions and contribute greatly to the city’s prestige. The city therefore benefits from the strength of its education and healthcare industries.

Biloxi

Biloxi thrives on tourism, gaming, and hospitality. Beau Rivage Resort & Casino and Golden Nugget Biloxi are significant economic drivers. Thanks to them, Biloxi continues to experience growth in its tourism and gaming industries.

Meridian

Meridian’s economy is fueled by manufacturing, healthcare, and aerospace. KeyTronicEMS and Rush Health Systems play vital roles. Thus, as the city’s manufacturing sector is expanding, these companies play an important role. Aerospace contributions are notable.

Tupelo

Tupelo is also known for its manufacturing, healthcare, and retail sectors, apart from being Presley’s birthplace. Toyota Motor Manufacturing Mississippi and North Mississippi Health Services are its key employers. Thus, apart from its cultural popularity, the city’s manufacturing and healthcare industries are also thriving.

Olive Branch

Olive Branch relies on logistics, manufacturing, and retail. FedEx Ground and Roxul Inc. are significant contributors. The city is slowly witnessing growth in its logistics and manufacturing sectors.

Greenville

Greenville is supported by agriculture, manufacturing, and healthcare. Delta Regional Medical Center and Milwaukee Electric Tool are major employers. Even after all this time, agriculture and manufacturing remain key sectors in the city’s economy.

Horn Lake

Horn Lake is driven by retail, manufacturing, and distribution. The Kroger Distribution Center and Johnson Controls are key players. As city is experiencing growth in its retail and distribution industries, its economy sees several benefits.

The Mississippi Governor's Mansion in Jackson, MS. Largest house in Mississippi.

The Mississippi Governor’s Mansion in Jackson, MS. It is the largest house in Mississippi.

©Chad Robertson Media/Shutterstock.com

Conclusion

In this comprehensive exploration of Mississippi’s largest cities, we have uncovered the dynamic nature of the state’s urban landscape. These cities, with their varying populations, geographic features, and economic impacts, collectively contribute to Mississippi’s cultural richness, environmental diversity, and economic vitality.

From the bustling capital city of Jackson to the coastal allure of Biloxi and Gulfport, from the growing suburban charm of Southaven to the historical significance of Tupelo and Meridian, each city plays a unique role in shaping Mississippi’s identity.

While cities like Jackson stand out as the state’s political and economic center, coastal cities like Gulfport and Biloxi thrive on tourism and gaming.

The economic contributions of each of these cities are therefore essential to Mississippi’s overall prosperity,.

In conclusion, understanding the largest cities in Mississippi is not only a lesson in demographics, geography, and economics but also a glimpse into the heart and soul of the Magnolia State. Each city adds a small piece to the beautiful puzzle that makes Mississippi, contributing to its cultural heritage, natural beauty, and economic strength.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © f11photo/Shutterstock.com


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About the Author

Shreya is a climate scientist. She also studies paleontology and evolutionary biology. She enjoys reading all kinds of literature and listening to rock music in her free time.

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