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Old 12-30-2007, 07:05 PM
 
247 posts, read 1,034,028 times
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There are several reasons that Mississippi lags behind and I think the woman who mentioned the fact that Mississippi has no large cities has a good point. As a native southerner, (Alabama) I can tell you that most of the progressive people are in or around urban areas or college towns. As cities grow they bring in jobs, money and most importantly people who wouldn't have been there otherwise. Alabama has Birmingham, which is an Industrial city founded after the civil war. As the smokestack industries have become less important to the ecomomy, other things have emerged to take it's place. Health Care is now the biggest employer in the Birmingham area. UAB has a world class medical school and hospital and this has brought in many highly educated people from around the world. Huntsville is known worldwide for NASA and it's role in the space industry. Again this industry brought in many brilliant people who wouldn't have come otherwise.
It should also be said that many rural areas of Alabama are just as backward as any in Mississippi.Many are still as segregated as they were before the civil rights movement. This is especailly true in the black belt, the area in central Alabama where the black population is highest because it was was the seat of the antebellum cotton society. This is where most of the slavery was. It IS true that there's not much middle class in the black belt. Most of the whites are decended from the wealthy planter classes and still have some old money, almost all of the blacks are decended from their field slaves.
The thing about cities is that they tend to break the cycles that are present in these rural towns. New jobs, money and education can do wonders.
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Old 12-30-2007, 09:43 PM
 
539 posts, read 1,779,372 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HipLib View Post
There are several reasons that Mississippi lags behind and I think the woman who mentioned the fact that Mississippi has no large cities has a good point. As a native southerner, (Alabama) I can tell you that most of the progressive people are in or around urban areas or college towns. As cities grow they bring in jobs, money and most importantly people who wouldn't have been there otherwise. Alabama has Birmingham, which is an Industrial city founded after the civil war. As the smokestack industries have become less important to the ecomomy, other things have emerged to take it's place. Health Care is now the biggest employer in the Birmingham area. UAB has a world class medical school and hospital and this has brought in many highly educated people from around the world. Huntsville is known worldwide for NASA and it's role in the space industry. Again this industry brought in many brilliant people who wouldn't have come otherwise.
It should also be said that many rural areas of Alabama are just as backward as any in Mississippi.Many are still as segregated as they were before the civil rights movement. This is especailly true in the black belt, the area in central Alabama where the black population is highest because it was was the seat of the antebellum cotton society. This is where most of the slavery was. It IS true that there's not much middle class in the black belt. Most of the whites are decended from the wealthy planter classes and still have some old money, almost all of the blacks are decended from their field slaves.
The thing about cities is that they tend to break the cycles that are present in these rural towns. New jobs, money and education can do wonders.



Alabama has Birmingham and Huntsville but Mississippi has Oxford and Starkville. Ole Miss and Mississippi State are good schools and they attract bright minds. I'm from Birmingham and I can tell you that even though MS overall is probably still a little bit behind Alabama, they are catching up. In some ways they are better. For example, Interstate 22, which is still under construction, is a freeway running from Memphis to Birmingham via Mississippi and Alabama. Mississippi got their portion of the road done 10 years ago, Alabama still has not finished. They both have virtually equal amounts of roadway to build, but MS knocked theirs out back in the late 1990s, Alabama won't be done until about 2010 or 2011. Why? Because of the casinos. Mississippi recognized the fact that it needed to generate revenue and the agricultural industry in which it has its roots just isn't the cash cow that it used to be. Along with manufacturing (as I cited earlier with the $1 billion Nissan plant), the casino industry is a huge moneymaker for the state. Alabama had a referendum about 10 years back for an education lottery, like what Tennessee and Georgia have. Not full-blown casinos like what you see in Biloxi. Just a lottery that would fund schools and scholarships for Alabama's high school students. But what did Alabama voters do? Vote it down. Why? Well the main reason cited among opponents of the plan was that gambling is a "sin" according to the Bible and they don't want any part of that in the state of Alabama. Yes, I'm being serious folks. Never mind that many a church in Alabama sponsor weekend getaways to the casinos in Tunica and Philadelphia. The conservatives of this state basically said, "hey, we will gamble in Mississippi and commit sins over there and spend our money over there, but we WILL NOT spend money in our OWN state that will benefit US because it's a SIN!" As if a sin in Mississippi is a good deed in Alabama. Obviously that's not true, but I know this - a dollar in Mississippi is a dollar in Alabama, and a dollar spent in Mississippi is a dollar NOT spent in Alabama. So in that sense, Mississippi is more progressive than Alabama.



But then again, why dwell on this? That was 10 years ago - since then both states have enjoyed explosive economic growth, even while the rest of the nation has endured recessions. And on the flip side of the whole lottery issue - Alabama has managed to build a healthy economy in this decade without the vices associated with casinos, so that's good as well. Either way, both states are enjoying economic growth. They've taken slightly divergent paths but have ended up at the same destination.


Moderator cut: just facts/opinions, please Mississippi, along with the rest of the South, was traditionally a wealthy state because of agriculture, particularly the cotton industry. Who do you think built and owned those beautiful antebelleum homes the South is so famous for? Slaves? Speaking of slaves, who do you think bought them? Poor folks? No.............slaves cost money, and a lot of it.


Mississippi began sliding into economic trouble in the early 20th century when the U.S. economy began to industralize and shift more from an agricultural based to manufactuing based. And since then, the American economy has shifted from manufacturing to service based. Well, the casinos and tourist attractions (especially along the Mississippi Gulf Coast) provide plenty of opportunity for service industry jobs. And Mississippi is one of the few places in the U.S. (along with other southern states) that still attracts manufacting jobs, even in the automobile industry, which many had written off for dead in this country. Once prosperous places like Michigan and Indiana, can't attract those jobs to save their lives.



As for Mississippi not having much of a middle class, as stated, this is primarily true in the Black Belt. Not the whole state. People who are millionaires in large southern cities like Atlanta, Houston, Nashville, and Birmingham build beach houses and buy condos along the Mississippi and Alabama Gulf Coast.



The state of Mississippi, despite the devastating blow dealt to it by hurricane Katrina, is enjoying some of the most prosperous times it has experienced in decades, and as the Sunbelt grows in popularity and people become priced out or stressed out of larger southern cities like Atlanta and Miami, places like Mississippi will start to look more and more attractive for the same reasons those larger cities were attractive 20 or 30 years ago - cheap land, more opportunities due to a booming New South economy, and warm weather.


_

Last edited by Sam I Am; 01-02-2008 at 06:24 AM..
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Old 12-31-2007, 09:15 PM
 
Location: Somewhere in Flyover country
531 posts, read 1,636,480 times
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Gambling may bring a certain amount of prosperity to a region, but it can also cause problems for that region (possibly an increase in crime). Atlantic city is a gambling mecca but outside of the Boardwalk area and the fancy casino/hotels the city seems a bit run down. Not trashing it, just what I saw when I was there last year.
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Old 12-31-2007, 10:33 PM
 
Location: northeast US
739 posts, read 1,981,797 times
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We're new Englanders thinking about retiring in MS. After we visit there in 3 weeks, I'll post and give you all my first hand impressions about the state.
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Old 12-31-2007, 11:03 PM
 
9,803 posts, read 14,383,012 times
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The casino money in Mississippi has not been able to move Mississippi up from the bottom in the national ranking of schools.

Why is this?
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Old 01-01-2008, 10:49 AM
 
Location: Central Mississippi
356 posts, read 1,258,112 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marmac View Post
The casino money in Mississippi has not been able to move Mississippi up from the bottom in the national ranking of schools.

Why is this?
I think part of the problem with the schools is the teacher pay. They don't pay enough to attract really good teachers. There is also a discipline problem in public schools. There are a lot of private schools and they're not all here because of integration. Most of the Jackson public schools were pretty integrated when my kids were in school, but now they're at least 95% black. My kids went to public school then, but I wouldn't send them to public school in certain cities now. All of the kids attend public school in the small town where I live now and the schools are all level 5.

I hate to see people bashing my state, especially when they're just relying on stuff they've read. I've lived in a lot of places, but I have to say the people of Mississippi are the nicest that I've met. The high crime is mostly in Jackson. They have a new police chief now, so hopefully that will get better.
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Old 01-01-2008, 01:08 PM
 
376 posts, read 1,664,762 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marmac View Post
The casino money in Mississippi has not been able to move Mississippi up from the bottom in the national ranking of schools.

Why is this?
Low expectations. Parents aren't very well educated, so they expect their children to only be a little better than them. They aren't demanding much from their schools, and the teachers aren't demanding very much from the students. This doesn't apply to all schools in the state. There are some excellent public schools with demanding parents and teachers, but the averages are lowered by the Delta region. Also, integration caused many white families to remove their children from public schools and put them in private academies. That was a generation ago, but now those people are putting their kids into private academies because that's where they attended. This removes the best students from the public schools. In many towns in the state (Oxford, Ocean Springs, others), this has not happened, so their schools are better.
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Old 01-02-2008, 12:14 AM
 
Location: Coast of MS
276 posts, read 1,062,222 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SaintLaurent View Post
Because Mississippi is backwards and worthless. Who the hell would want to live in that hell hole?
Sadly, too many people have that mentality. When I told my family I was moving there, they asked why, it's the poorest state, it's this, it's that. I left after Katrina and I'm about to move back. I LOVE MS! I love the southern hospitality. I love the scenery, I love the people. Now granted, there are some bad areas in MS just like any other state and there are some good area. I've only lived on the coast and I haven't really ventured from the coast unless I was evacuating from a hurricane. It does seem (at least to me) that the coast is the best part of the state. But the state itself is not a hell hole.
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Old 01-02-2008, 02:26 AM
 
Location: Houston
1,257 posts, read 2,366,881 times
Reputation: 1231
Quality of life study? Does anyone stop to think of how subjective that can be? Though I only visited briefly in the NE part of the state, I was surprised. I was not met with the what I expected, having read all the hype. Small towns yes , rural yes. I saw poverty and I saw what looked like fairly middle class living. It looked like EVERYWHERE that I have been with similar circumstances. I saw things I loved about the state. Its a beautiful state, the land and the trees. Most folks are gracious and friendly, the kind that make good neighbors. Downside is yes no major metro area. Missing out on some big city benefits and a lot of the detriments as well. For me what I saw of Mississippi was a beautiful place with good people. Please don't buy the hype. Go see for yourselves. Be surprised like I was.


Squidlo
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Old 01-02-2008, 06:27 AM
 
Location: The Great State of Arkansas
5,981 posts, read 17,036,940 times
Reputation: 7659
I just wanted to mention the OP is from JULY...this thread started in General U.S. and was only moved to MS within the last couple of days. And I think for the most part everyone is doing a good rebuttal to what may have been a negative post to begin with.

Having lived in Mississippi for a number of years, I would move back in a heartbeat...a lovely state, and ya'll are about the most polite group on the whole City Data forum! You live in a gorgeous state that fights negative stereotypes all the time, as does much of the south, but it's good to see such pride in your state and such grace under fire as is seen in this forum. Keep up the good work!
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