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Mississippi State Facts

Mississippi is a southern state that played a key role in the United States Civil War.

It’s home to a wide variety of historical monuments and museums.

Related: Mississippi State History


The state is also known for its magnolias, catfish, bluegrass music, and southern charm.

Quick Facts

Capital: Jackson

Population: 3 million


Nickname: The Magnolia State

Key Cities: Biloxi, Jackson, Hattiesburg, Gulfport

Postal Abbreviation: MS

Major Industries: Agriculture, manufacturing, mining, fishing



How did Mississippi get its name: The name Mississippi was originally given to the Mississippi River by the Chippewa Indians.

In their language, “Mississippi” means “large river.”


The French explorer Robert Cavelier Sieur de La Salle used the name on his map of the area in 1695.

Date admitted to the Union: Wednesday, December 10, 1817


Size: 48,430 sq. miles

Lowest point: Gulf of Mexico at sea level


Highest point: Woodall Mountain at 806 feet

Counties: 82

Famous locations: Biloxi Lighthouse, Gulf Islands National Seashore, Elvis Presley Birthplace, Old Capitol Museum, Vicksburg National Cemetery, Windsor Ruins


Famous Mississippians

Elvis Presley- singer/actor

Oprah Winfrey- talk show host

Britney Spears- singer

Rick Ross- rapper

Oprah Winfrey
President Barack Obama awards the 2013 Presidential Medal of Freedom to Oprah Winfrey during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House, Nov. 20, 2013.

Jerry Rice- football player

Ray J- singer

Fun Facts about Mississippi

  • Mississippi stretches about 340 kilometres and is 170 miles broad.
  • Mississippi residents go to church more than people in any other U.S. state.
  • There are also more churches in Mississippi per capita (for each person) than in any other state in the country.
  • The nation’s largest Bible-binding plant is located in Greenwood, Mississippi.
  • bible-churchIf you’ve ever wondered where to find the world’s largest shrimp, it’s in Pascagoula, Mississippi at the Old Spanish Fort Museum.
  • In 1902, Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt refused to kill a trapped bear while hunting in Onward, Mississippi.Theodore Roosevelt circa 1902
  • Related: All About US Presidents.
  • A candy shop owner who heard about the event decided to make a stuffed animal that he called “teddy bear.”theodore-roosevelt-teddy-bear
  • 63 percent of Mississippi’s land is covered in forest. That’s 19.5 million acres of forest!
  • Belzoni, Mississippi is considered the catfish capital of the world. The state of Mississippi contains over 100,000 acres of catfish ponds. 94% of all farm-raised catfish in the United States are raised in Mississippi.catfish-ponds
  • In Jackson County, you can find the Mississippi Sandhill Crane, the rarest crane in North America.
  • It’s about 44 inches tall and has a wingspan of eight feet!Mississippi sandhill crane
  • Mississippi became the second southern state to declare independence from the United States of America on January 9, 1861.
  • The Mississippi River, which forms the state’s western border and empties into the Gulf of Mexico, inspired the state’s name.
  • Each year, Mississippi is hit by an average of 27 tornadoes. It’s also worth noting that the state has seen two of the five deadliest tornadoes in US history.
  • On June 11, 1963, Dr. James Hardy performed the world’s first human lung transplant at the University Of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson. The recipient, on the other hand, only lived for 18 days.
  • “Mississippi University for Women,” founded in 1884, was the very first public women’s college in the United States.
  • Wild or planted trees cover more than half of the state’s surface area.
  • Oprah Winfrey, the well-known television host, was born in the Mississippi town of Kosciusko.
  • The state is home to 35% black residents, which is the highest of any state in the United States.
  • Mississippi is home to NASA’s largest rocket engine test site, the John C. Stennis Space Center (SSC), which is located in Hancock County.
  • Mississippi is America’s poorest state. The state has the lowest average income of the 50 states that make up the United States.
  • The Mississippi River is the second largest river in the United States, after the Missouri River. It stretches for 3,778 kilometres. The Mississippi River is wholly inside the boundaries of the United States.
  • Sardis Lake is the state’s largest lake.
  • The White-tailed Deer population in the state, which is believed to be over 1.75 million, is higher than any other state in terms of deer-per-unit-area (density).
  • Mississippi’s life expectancy at birth is the lowest of all states and has been for a long time.
  • Coca-cola was originally bottled in Vicksburg, Mississippi, in 1894.
  • Mississippi was the site of more than 750 Civil War battles? During this time, the capital city of Jackson was sadly burned down three times.
  • Mississippi’s official beverage is milk.
  • Mississippi is home to the world’s only cactus plantation.
  • Woodland Mountain, at 806 feet, is the state’s highest point. Mississippi’s lowest point lies along the Gulf of Mexico’s shore.
  • The state has around 825 cotton fields that produce around 1.4 million bales each year.

View more US state facts.