Ethnic groups

Since 1860, blacks have constituted a larger proportion of the population of Mississippi than of any other state. By the end of the 1830s, blacks outnumbered whites 52% to 48%, and from the 1860s through the early 20th century, they made up about three-fifths of the population. Because of out-migration, the proportion of black Mississippians had declined to about 36% in 2000 (still the highest in the country), when the state had 1,746,099 whites, 1,033,809 blacks, 18,626 Asians, 11,652 American Indians, and 667 Pacific Islanders. In 2000, there were 39,569 (1.4%) Hispanics and Latinos.

Until the 1940s, the Chinese, who numbered 3,099 in 2000, were an intermediate stratum between blacks and whites in the social hierarchy of the Delta Counties. There also were 5,387 Vietnamese and 2,608 Filipinos in 2000. Although the number of foreign-born almost tripled in the 1970s, Mississippi still had the nation's smallest percentage of foreign-born residents (1.4%, or 39,908) in 2000.

Mississippi has only a small Indian population remaining—0.4% of the state's population in 2000 (11,652). Many of them live on the Choctaw reservation in the east-central region.