As Millennials — those born between 1981 and 2000 — became the largest generation of Americans, the demographic’s total U.S. population increased by approximately 2.6 million from 2010 and 2016, according to Census estimates.
But counter to the national trend, Mississippi’s Millennial population has dropped to 801,799, a 3.9 percent decrease during those six years.
According to a governing.com analysis of the recently reported state-by-state Census data, no other state in the country lost more Millennials. (Overall, Mississippi’s population increased by nearly 20,000 during the same amount of time to total 2,974,294 in 2016.)
Nearby states also lost Millennials, but proportionally not as many: Alabama, 1.8 percent, and Arkansas, 0.2 percent. Other than Mississippi, the only other states experiencing a decline of more than two percentage points between 2010 and 2016 were Illinois, Michigan and New Mexico.
“We have yet to give young people a reason to stay and invest in Mississippi,” says Jeramey Anderson, a 25-year-old state representative from Moss Point. He co-chairs the Mississippi Future Caucus formed during this year’s Legislative session for lawmakers under 40 years old.
“I remember being in (Moss Point) high school and 80 percent of my senior class was like, ‘I can’t wait to get out of Mississippi,'” said Anderson. “It’s hurtful as a citizen.”
One key is creating a professional, political and social environment that is attractive to college-educated Mississippians, he said.