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Jackson, MS
MSA: Jackson, MS
Best places ranking: #11 among midsize metro areas
Population: 537,285
Even in hard times, Jackson is on the rebound. Population loss during the 1980s eroded the city's tax base and left an economic and cultural hole in the city's center. Now downtown Jackson is undergoing a tremendous revitalization, including a shiny new 330,000-foot convention center. Young professionals who appreciate a laid-back Southern lifestyle are bringing new life to the city's reliable economic engine.

Three industries dominate in Jackson: government, health care and education. State government is one of the chief employers in the state capital, and a prime source of work for the contractors also located in the city. The city's four major hospitals make it a health care destination for people from around the state. And with five institutions of higher learning within the city limits and more in the metro area, Jackson produces plenty of well-educated graduates.

Jackson residents are largely loyal customers who greet new local businesses with enthusiasm. Retailers will find a more fickle market, but low taxes and a painless licensing process make starting a business easy. After hours, a lively music scene -- with plenty of Mississippi blues -- keeps residents dancing late into the night. -Ward Schaefer

Launch Toolbox:
Resources for getting started in Jackson, MS


Local smallbiz lenders

  • First Financial Banc Corporati
  • Trustmark Corporation
  • Community Bancshares Of Missis
  • Peoples Bank
  • Superior Financial Group
See all local lenders

Jackson Business Statistics
Employer establishments with 1-49 employees
12,409 11,214
Small business growth rate
4.1% 5.0%
State business tax climate ranking
(out of 50 states)
19 N/A
Percentage of population with bachelor's degree
(ages 25-34)
31.3% 26.9%
Violent crime
(rate per 100,000 inhabitants, 2007)
404.7 478.8
Property crime
(rate per 100,000 inhabitants, 2007)
3,870.3 3,562.2
Population growth
5.6% 5.73%
Per-capita income
$34,079 $35,547
Per-capita income growth
26.5% 24.0%
GDP (in millions)
$21,423 $18,559
GDP growth
29% 32%
Average hourly wage
$17.42 $18.69
Housing foreclosure rate
(first half of 2009, 1 per every X housing units)
254 286
Median rent
(2009, for a 2-bedroom housing unit)
$846 $848
Housing price-to-income (HPI) ratio
(first quarter of 2009)
1.5% 1.9%
Long-term HPI ratio
(20-year average, 1984-2004)
1.6% 1.8%
HPI deviation from long-term average
-9.6% 0.0%

All statistics are for the full Metropolitan Statistical Area. For a complete list of data sources, see "How we picked the Best Places."

From the November 2009 issue
"There is a lot of interest in what we're doing on a local level. People in the city, especially homeowners, are eager to do business with us." -Devereaux Galloway
Best Places Winners
What do you think of Jackson?
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Do you prefer a place that is: Small Medium Large
The factors that matter most to me are:
 Affordable wages  Few foreclosures
 Educated workers  Low housing costs
 Low crime  High local incomes
 A growing economy  Population growth
 Growing small business population

ireportTell us why: Low taxes? Talented workers? An active small business community? Send us your photos and videos, and you could be featured in our upcoming coverage of reader-picked Best Places to Launch. More
This year we partnered with the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation to find the 50 most business-friendly communities in America.

With help from Robert Fairlie, an economist and leading scholar of entrepreneurship at the University of California, Santa Cruz, we developed a methodology and sifted through such data on factors such as per capita income, hourly wages, workforce quality, crime rates, taxes and foreclosures. More

Comments? E-mail the editors
Data partners

This package was produced in partnership with the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.

Foreclosure data provided by RealtyTrac.

Housing price-to-income data provided by Moody's