OpinionMississippi labeled worst state to live in

Mississippi labeled worst state to live in

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Mississippi is the worst state to live in, according to 24/7 Wall Street.

24/7 Wall Street recently compiled a ranking of states in the union for their living conditions. According to the report, living conditions are based on a state’s levels of poverty, education and the health of its citizens.

The selection of these measures was inspired by the United Nations’ Human Development Index. Poverty and bachelor’s degree attainment rates come from U.S. Census Bureau’s 2014 American Community Survey. Life expectancies at birth come from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Mississippi’s poverty rate is 22 percent and sits as the highest in the nation.  

Poverty levels contribute to poorer health. The average life expectancy at birth in Mississippi is 75 years, the lowest life expectancy of any state in the country.

To give a sense of the difference in life expectancy, 24/7 Wall Street used the life expectancy of Mississippi and compared it to Hawaii. They found a six year difference with the life expectancy in Hawaii being 81 years.

In terms of education, Mississippi does not fare any better. Only 21 percent of adults in Mississippi have a bachelor’s degree, which is lower than the 30 percent of adults nationwide with similar education.

Education is another major contributor to living conditions. It is not just the basis of economic prosperity, but also a component of an individual’s quality of life. Also due to bachelor’s degrees offering easier access to higher paying jobs, incomes tend to be higher in states with more students graduating with bachelor’s degrees.

Shamie Sams, a speech pathology senior at The University of Southern Mississippi, has lived in the state for 22 years. Sams doesn’t believe Mississippi is the worst state to live in.

“In Mississippi, we’re a hospitality state, so I think that’s a good thing as far as us being humble and kind to one another,” Sams said.

To Sams, the one thing Mississippi could improve on is education.

The lack of teachers for our kids and the education as a whole could be improved,” Sams said.

Teresas Guardino, an information technology worker at USM, also disagrees with the idea that Mississippi is the worst state to live in.

“I think there’s a lot more that needs to be considered versus just a number,” Guardino said.

Guardino said Mississippi has a closeness in the state that is unlike any other. “I grew up in a town where you can know your neighbor and it’s ok. You’re not afraid to know your neighbor,” Guardino said.

 

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