Named after the Mississippi River which provides the lifeline of shipping up and down the Midwest, the state of Mississippi sits in the category of the deep south, with a long history of agrarian development and farming. The city of Jackson, named after the famous President Andrew Jackson, is the official capitol of the state and its largest urban center. Mississippi's main industry is predominantly agriculture as well as fishing. The state enjoys a coast on the Gulf of Mexico to the south, but rivers also criss-cross the state as well as make up its western border. Vicksburg in the west and the cities of Tupelo, Aberdeen and Biloxi on the east make up a couple of the bigger urban locations in the state, offering visitors and relocations a varied difference in state climate as well as environment.
The Magnolia State is home to nearly 3 million Americans, making it the 31st largest state in the country. By area, MS is 32nd largest. The state produces about $100 billion annually, and it's nearly $27,000 per capita income is the lowest in the USA.
The average home in MS is worth about $125,000. The most and least expensive areas in the state do not vary too much from this average - the median sales price in areas like Madison and Ridgeland is around $350,000, and the average in cheaper places like Moss Point and Pearl is from $100,000 to $150,000. In terms of the best places to live, this discussion of locals mentions Oxford, Hattiesburg, and Natchez.
Mississippi's largest city is also its capital. According to Forbes, Jackson is one of the cities where people get the most value for their money. Publicly traded companies like Cal-Maine Foods, Trustmark, and Parkway Properties call Jackson home.
Unfortunately, Gulfport was one of the cities hit hardest by Hurricane Katrina, and the city has been slowly rebuilding since then. Today, the largest employers are the US Navy, the Harrison County School District, and Hancock Bank.
Whether you're new to the state or a native of MS, you will need to find the right bank to make managing your personal finances a breeze. The choice will likely come down to a community bank / credit union or a national bank that has branches near where you live. If you'd like a more personal relationship with your bank, you'll likely want to choose the former. If you're more interested in access to the best online banking technology and the convenience of branches around the country, pick a national bank instead.
Community banks with headquarters in MS:
The biggest local credit unions:
Now that you've seen a few of your options, you're likely wondering how to find the best deal. One of the best ways to get started is to compare rates on a financial search engine like RateZip. You can see offers from multiple financial institutions on certificates of deposit (CDs), auto loans, checking accounts, and more.
For those considering Mississippi as a new home, RateZip.com should be the first place to look, especially to find the best mortgage rates available in-state from participating lenders. All of the typical loan options - fixed rate mortgages, ARMs, FHA & VA loans - are available in Mississippi. However, one option that you may not have considered is a USDA loan.
The United States Department of Agriculture, or USDA, offers what's known as the USDA Rural Development Guaranteed Housing Loan Program. The loan is designed for rural properties, and if you qualify it could be the best home financing option around. Specifically, to apply you can make no more than 115% of the local median income, and you must not currently have adequate housing. Learn more at the USDA's website.