Sunday, May 8, 2022

Bill Crawford: Out-Migration Critical Issue for Mississippi Politicians

 Too many Mississippi politicians focus on the wrong kind of migration. 

A recent column by Sid Salter exposes their over emphasis on illegal immigration. “Is Mississippi being swamped by undocumented immigrants ‘stealing our jobs?’ In a word, no. Only 1.6% of Mississippi’s population is comprised of undocumented immigrants – around 20,000 people among three million.”

The truly critical migration issue for Mississippi is out-migration.

The 2020 Census showed Mississippi lost population from 2010, one of only three states to do so. That trend continued in 2021.

“Population in 17 states declined last year, including Illinois, Mississippi, and West Virginia – the same three states that lost residents during the 2010-20 decade,” revealed a report from PEW Charitable Trusts. Notably, all states bordering Mississippi except Louisiana continued to show population increases.

Mississippi was one of four states whose population losses resulted from two trends: 1) more people moved out than in; and 2) more people died than were born.

State Auditor Shad White recently issued a report that touches on one significant factor contributing to Mississippi out-migration – brain drain. His report noted that only 50% of Mississippi students who graduate from our public universities choose to work in the state three years after leaving college. And two-thirds of those who stayed were employed in just 10 of Mississippi's 82 counties.

Calling Mississippi’s brain drain situation “particularly bad,” Mississippi Today’s article on White’s study said, “This can lead to economic stagnation, such as not having enough people to fill crucial jobs like teaching and nursing, not generating or creating businesses that create the kinds of cities that attract more people to the state.”

But bright, young people are not the only ones abandoning Mississippi. Census data showed half of the state’s counties losing population last year; from 2010 to 2020 two-thirds of our counties lost population.

The Governor and many other state politicians see high taxes as the problem. But low-wage jobs and lack of economic opportunity in much of the state are the real culprits. Mississippi has the lowest average wage in the nation and, as White’s study found, few counties provide attractive opportunities for university graduates. 

Even the Tax Foundation acknowledges that taxes may have only an indirect impact on out-migration. “People move for many reasons. Sometimes taxes are expressly part of the calculation. Often they play an indirect role by contributing to a broadly favorable economic environment. And sometimes, of course, they play little or no role.” 

“Generally, people are moving to areas with better amenities and economic opportunities that residents want," said Anne Cafer, director of the University of Mississippi Center for Population Studies. Those amenities include good schools, low crime rates, and access to affordable health care, child care, high speed Internet, and entertainment and shopping venues.

Our federal and state politicians should look beyond immigration and tax cuts to provide communities the tools needed to retain and grow their population. This year’s one-time investments in broadband and local infrastructure were positive. But many communities badly need prolonged investments in schools, health care, child care, and public safety too, plus local tax flexibility.  

 “Let us not become weary in doing good” – Galatians 6:9.

Crawford is a syndicated columnist from Jackson.


Anonymous said...

Lots of truth here.

Alt Headline: Crawford | Take us Back to the Good Old White Democrat Days said...

-0.2% population. Inconsequential. Certainly not 'sky is falling, sky is falling' hysteria level of loss.

Largest population loss counties: Hinds, Lauderdale, Washington, Coahoma, Warren County.

Who is primarily in charge of those counties? Democrats.

2020 vs 2010, Mississippi lost 14,326 in population, Jackson alone lost 19,813.

Who is leaving? Whites. Black population increased.

Counties and cities that are thriving and growing? Run by Republicans.

All inconvenient facts that Crawford and Salter selectively and purposefully decided not to share with readers.

It will take many years for Mississippi to reverse the damage done after 110+ years of lock, stock and barrel Democratic Party control.

Returning to the policies of Democrats as advocated by Crawford and Salter will ONLY accelerate the inherent problems of population loss.

Undeniable FACTs!!!

Krusatyr said...

Note Salter's focus on more taxes and socialist programs but a paucity of emphasis on private enterprise.

MS has 4X too many bureaucrats and none of them should "invest" in pie in the sky projects nor grow entitlements.

Can Reeves reduce MS counties to consolidate with double or triple combinations that rid us of a few thousand redundant fake jobs? Give Salter a reason to wet his bed in torrents.

Anonymous said...

"Out-migration?" That is correctly known as emigration.

Anonymous said...

Mississippi needs a blue ribbon commission made up of political donors to study this issue. Maybe a trip to the Farnborough or Dubai Air Show would motivate them. The Paris Air Show is already taken by those hard working, dedicated, airport commissioners, right?

Anonymous said...

11:42 Going backwards is not the answer. That's what keeps Mississippi where it is in the pecking order now. And local Republican or Democrat "leadership" is not the whole answer either. There are Southern cities busting at the seams with new young citizens that are led by Democrats and there are some led by Republicans. Certainly the richer a locale the more likely it will be Republican, that's a given, but young people seek a certain lifestyle not a political party. That's where the young brains are going, not to some enclave of the old South. Get over it.

Anonymous said...

If you want to attract urban dwellers moving to the South, a good start would be accepting what attracts them to a location.

Tacky, poorly constructed areas and redneck notions of entertainment isn't it.

And, the legislature could attract professionals and businesses back to Jackson , improve the "university" atmosphere in Hattiesburg and make the coast more of an attraction to gamblers.
As long as the corruption is free to reward rural areas and small town politics and tribal connections matter more than contribution and accomplishment, we will continue to have our bright young people of any color who don't have an " in" to take over Daddy's fiefdom, will leave.

Anonymous said...

Take Washington County for example. Greenville was once the state's third largest city (trailing on Jackson and Meridian). And this was long after the air base left Greenville. Greenville was once the mecca of the 19 delta county area. Shopping and industry abounded. Beautiful homes, churches on every corner, automobile dealerships, eateries, good schools, a port full of industries as well as thousands upon thousands employed in a multitudinal cross-section of industrial classifications.

Now...The county is surprised to find itself losing population? Gang violence, failed democrat leadership for twenty of the last twenty five years. Horrible public school system. Transfer payments by far the leader among things that result in the movement of money. Industries have left by the tens, at least forty in the past 30 years employing each of 150 people.

Is this what has Salter's britches in a bind? What do he and Jerry Mitchell possibly could be the answer to this reality? Or the solution?

Anonymous said...

11:42, you twist the facts only to turn this into a tiresome political rant against democrats, but the fact remains that the outflow of educated young white people is killing this state. Yes, whites left Jackson. They left Mississippi also. In droves.

Anonymous said...

Lauderdale County is “run” by Republicans.

Anonymous said...

2:49 opined: "Certainly the richer a locale the more likely it will be Republican, that's a given."

I wonder if he is even remotely familiar with the 'cart before the horse' theorum.

Anonymous said...

Young people are leaving for the progressive big cities where there are jobs, culture, and far less Ross Barnett type politicians. Nearly every family I know has children or grandchildren living in Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, etc.

Anonymous said...

11:42 don’t turn this into an us versus them debate. This has nothing to do with Jackson and Itta Bena versus Madison and Pearl. College educated whites are headed for greener pastures despite what you might see in Madison. Read the census numbers as a whole, not block by block. We are losing.

Anonymous said...

Pretty much a lot of things in Mississippi been on a downward trend since people come up short on the War of Northern Aggression and started pining for a grudge match. All Tater and Phil and Shad's posturing can't fix that.

Anonymous said...

3:59, that might be the most ignorant post I've read on here in a month, and that is saying a LOT. Greenville's demise is due to mechanization of farm life, not a black Mayor. Come on man. There were tens of thousands of farm jobs there a century ago. And all of a sudden, there were none.

Anonymous said...

We encouraged both our kids to leave this state after graduating from high school. They both went on to attend much better out of state universities that were more competitive and offered much more in the form of internships and opportunities. They have both thrived and never plan to come back.

Often I see high school kids stay in-state for college, graduate with no real trajectory or skills, and then get a “job” making 30k working for their Daddy’s insurance company or construction company. If not that, then the only real opportunity is in teaching or nursing. Insurance or some middle-manager role. Many graduate from college with no direction, or ability to apply what they did learn, because of the terrible career opportunities here.

We have great jobs here, but we are in the minority. We worked hard and we’re able to find decent careers Unfortunately we have no connection to Mississippi, other than attending college here. But I don’t recommend our path to anyone. This state lacks any real recreational opportunities, outside of hunting, and for the coast, fishing. Entertainment and cultural background events are either lame or nonexistent. There is no leadership or vision for this state moving forward.

As our youngest graduates, we will be packing up soon too. There are so many better places to live, with a better quality or life , a more educated popular, and where I do t have to listen to constant BS about race relations every f*cking day.

Moving Out!

Anonymous said...

There are Southern cities busting at the seams with new young citizens that are led by Democrats ...

Name the "Southern cities busting at the seams with new young citizens that are led by Democrats". Give us your Top 5. Be specific.

Anonymous said...

11:43 You are kidding of course. Or perhaps you are simply in agreement with the statement and want to help. Here's five if you are not, Atlanta, Dallas,
Austin, Orlando, Charlotte.... This ain't hard. Young people out of college black and white do not give a damn about which party runs the city, they are looking for a progressive lifestyle and money. Sorry, but they ain't looking for Mayberry. Get over it!

Anonymous said...

11:42 confuses two things, 1) Mississippi citizens migrating within the state, which is a thing and 2) Mississippians leaving Mississippi altogether which is all too common.

You do know that Mississippi is projected to have a minority majority within 20 years right? Its your precious republicans who are moving away. They don’t all move to Madison. Mainly just the old ones.

Anonymous said...

Charleston, South Carolina is teeming with young professionals from all over. It has not had a Republican mayor since Reconstruction.

The elephant in the room is white Mississippians’ refusal to accept integrated public schools. When the white middle class and working class chose to spend all their disposable income on tuition at the local segregationist academy, local economies were doomed. It was a major divestment of white Republicans, as former segregationist Democrats, from their own home towns, and now they blame everyone but themselves. Jackson, Greenville, Greenwood, Columbus, and Clarksdale have all crumbled because of it — to name a few.

Anonymous said...

The same people have been running the state since reconstruction...
the letter by their name just changed from D to R
Nothing has changed , this is not a party issue its a control issue.

Anonymous said...

The sweet irony that so many believe Mississippi can't be successful unless it retains it white citizens, some college educated.

Young people move for jobs. Jobs, jobs, jobs.

Not 'vibrant' downtowns, 'progressive' policies (whatever the hell that is), because they love high taxes and don't give a damn about who governs a city, and other bullshit. Jobs.

Anonymous said...

The wheels of stupidism go round and round.

Anonymous said...

9:03 - Your ignorance is glaring. After the advent of high-dollar farm equipment, thousands of Deltans, who were considered 'displaced farm workers', were placed in free D.O.L. training programs all over the Delta. Free training in multiple trade and craft professions, free transportation, training stipends while enrolled, payment to the employer for hiring them and free placement in jobs. Any who wanted to work were placed in employment. Millions of state and federal dollars spent on these efforts in the Delta alone.

Generation after generation was trained, some cycling through multiple programs, men and women of all ages and educational levels. Thriving industries across the delta. Are you going to suggest the failure of all of that is also due to agriculture? Or was the failure due to mean ole white people expecting people to get up and show up? Or was it simply due to the fact that they could reap more, better and easier from LBJ's never ending programs, forever?

Anonymous said...


Most of the people who trained through those programs left Mississippi.

Anonymous said...

Thanks 9:04 The chicken plants in Mississippi and Arkansas got plenty of jobs and they can't fill all the jobs in the fruit picking industry in California. That's why they're flocking to fill those jobs. Move to Mississippi and kill chickens, jobs galore young people!

Anonymous said...

11:27 Your powers of exaggeration are fantastic. I was born in Belzoni and lived in the Delta for twenty-four years and you sure summed it up in a few words. Bullshit words.

Anonymous said...

Sorry @12:23, those chicken jobs are reserved for the illegal alien labor market. Give Sid Salter a shout for more information. He's got a hotline right into those farmers and has been looking the other way on their practices for decades.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mississippians,

Your culture is dysfunctional and from another era, make this a part of the conversation and fix it. If you don't your death spiral and depopulation trends will continue.


Right of center millennial who moved to Central Texas.

Anonymous said...

7AM, I dont get why "white middle class and working class" going to private schools doomed the economy/ remaining public school attendees?

Why cant they flourish with the sizable state funding they receive?

I don't fully understand why one group is dependant upon the other for success?

Anonymous said...

7:00am is a closet racist

Charleston is 75% white and has had 2 mayors in 50 years

Anonymous said...

11:27 that’s just plain ignorant. Maybe it helps you sleep at night. Tens of thousands of laborers were kept undereducated. The system exploited them and everybody knows it. They could not go to good schools, could not vote, and we’re lynched if they complained. And then the jobs went away.

Anonymous said...

12:10 pm on May 8 nails it and makes good points while not being a racist a hole. I’d like to buy him a beer.

Anonymous said...

11:27 AM The factories in the Delta closed and moved to China and other countries. There are NO manufacturing jobs left in those towns. Some farms only employ 2 to 3 people now because everything is tech driven.

God Bless The Ignorant said...

I see at least five posters who took a sociology class at Millsaps and know zero about the reality of life after agriculture in the delta.

They can't get past lynching 78 years ago.

They think schools are still segregated by white folks after having been integrated since 1965.

They still think the white man is the boogie-man.

They think that 'line' in front of the WIC/TANF/EBT/UI office is a line of folk ready to put in for training and employment opportunities.

If Bennie drove a Red-Wing work-boot truck through the delta, he would not have three customers.

Anonymous said...

"Most of the people who trained through those programs left Mississippi. May 9, 2022 at 12:09 PM"

You have no idea what you're talking about. We watched almost 100% of them return, after 13 weeks of classes, to porch-sitting and having progeny who would also cycle through these programs. We made the mistake of cycling a lot of them through three or four different courses. Welding, Skin-Man, production machine operator, auto mechanics, auto painting, aircraft painting, clerical occupations, maintenance electrician.

Not only did they not leave Mississippi, as you suggest...they stayed here, happily unemployed, which is why we're having this discussion. And the're still here, as are their grandchildren.

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If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

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