COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI)- The results from the 2020 census have been released, and Mississippi is one of three states that saw a decrease in the population. Illinois and West Virginia were the other two. People leave the states for many reasons, but better career opportunities could be one of the top reasons.
Whether right out of high school or finishing up college, many young people head for the state line when they make that move into adulthood.
“It’s not their fault it’s our fault we’ve got to create opportunities for them so that they can get the gainful employment and wages and have a place to live be where they want to live,” said the Golden Triangle Link CEO Joe Max Higgins.
Higgins said COVID-19 hasn’t hurt business in the Magnolia State, but people are still leaving.
“There hasn’t been a lot of loss in industry, but we’re seeing a loss in population for the state and I think that’s something we have to acknowledge and we’ve got to work to figure out how we stop people leaving,” said Higgins.
According to the 2020 consensus numbers, Mississippi lost .02 percent of the population. Higgins said for the younger population, it sometimes comes down to the quality of life; because many of them want a faster pace or more options for their social life.
“They want to go somewhere where it’s cool and hip to live we need to have in Mississippi some of those locations where they can do that and I think we’re doing that I think Starkville is doing that I think Oxford is doing that,” said Higgins.
More jobs and better pay could potentially help sustain or even increase the population. That’s why Higgins’s office is constantly working to recruit businesses and improve the economic development outlook.
“You got to give them a job something to do that fosters their creativity, pays them, and shows them they have a career path. The fact that we’re building green energy in the Golden Triangle and finding uses for that I think will help us in the long term,” said Higgins.
Higgins said the link is in the process of landing some large deals and hopes those projects will keep people in Mississippi.