easuring the quality of life found in a place is not easily quantifiable, but there can be no mistake when evaluating the quality of place that is Mississippi.
That’s because this state of majestic magnolias, deep Southern charm, rich historic traditions, jazz and blues and country music, and of course, the best-tasting food and drink on either side of the Mississippi, has no peer.
Sure, many have tried to measure it. For example, U.S. News & World Report said that Mississippi ranks No. 6 in the country for quality of life, second in urban air quality, ninth in drinking water quality, and 10th in community engagement. It’s also true that your dollar goes further here than any place else, with the lowest cost of living in the nation.
But did you also know that Mississippi is home to some of the best places to live in the country? Niche.com gave its highest community rating (A+) to two Mississippi cities: Madison and Ridgeland. Both are in suburban Jackson, and both rank among the Best Places to Live in America.
And yet Mississippi is far more than that. In fact, the real appeal of the Mississippi lifestyle is that it cannot be confined to a rating or any objective measurement. It can only be experienced firsthand.
The term “quality of life” implies that one must live it first. And in Mississippi, living — not just working — is what people do best. From experiencing over 300 arts festivals a year to enjoying a moderate year-round climate that averages 65 degrees, and from visiting one of 35 state and national parks to taking in a museum at every possible corner, Mississippians enjoy no shortage of options when it comes to living.
In downtown Meridian, you can take in the sights and sounds of an exquisitely restored 1889 opera house theater at the Mississippi State University Riley Center.
In southern Mississippi, you can bike, jog or walk the 41-mile-long Longleaf Trace Trail from Hattiesburg to Prentiss.
Along the Gulf Coast, you can cheer your lungs out rooting for the Biloxi Shuckers at MGM Park for minor league baseball. At coastal casinos, you can enjoy around-the-clock gaming, headline performers and other entertainment. Outdoor enthusiasts can take in over 1 million acres of hunting land and an abundant offering of freshwater and saltwater fishing.
History buffs can get their fill of Mississippi’s cultural heritage at numerous locations throughout the state, including stops along the Mississippi Blues and Country Music Trails; Two Mississippi Museums, which includes the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum and the Museum of Mississippi History; and GRAMMY Museum Mississippi.
In short, you make Mississippi what you want of it. It’s all about deciding how you want to live.
Ron Starner is Executive Vice President of Conway Data, Inc. He has been with Conway Data for 22 years and serves as a writer and editor for both Site Selection and the company's Custom Content publishing division. His Twitter handle is @RonStarner.