Data shows Pearl River County has negative migration

Published 7:00 am Thursday, November 24, 2016

Data compiled by the Mississippi State University Extension Service shows Pearl River County is losing more residents than it’s taking in.
MSU Extension specialist Dr. Roberto Gallardo used federal tax returns from 2014-2015 to develop an online map of Mississippi counties that had positive or negative net migration, according to a press release from MSU.
“This is kind of a byproduct of my research on the impact of technology on rural communities…and its relationship with migration patterns,” Gallardo said.
The map shows Pearl River County had a net migration of -148 during that time period, compared to Hancock County, which had a net migration of 288.
Statewide, Mississippi lost about 5,000 people, or exemptions, according to the tax returns, Gallardo said.
Measuring migration through tax exemptions isn’t a reflection of the exact population, but can be a good indicator, Gallardo said.
The data also showed that a majority of migrants, both into and out of Pearl River County, moved from or to St. Tammany Parish, La. In Hancock County, many migrants came from or moved to neighboring Harrison County. Harrison County had the same relationship with Jackson County.
Out of the 1,800 migrants that came into Pearl River County, 673 were from Mississippi, while 1,127 were from out of state (315 of whom were from St. Tammany Parish).
Conversely, 1,948 migrants left the county, with 809 staying within Mississippi and 1,139 crossing state lines (298 going to St. Tammany Parish), according to the MSU map.
The non-migration population in the county was 38,224, with an average income of $22,393.
The average income of those migrating into the county was $17,223, while the average income of those migrating out of the county was $18,588.
Gallardo said this data could be used by local governments for planning and development purposes and to spur economic growth.
While this data reflects a snapshot of just one year, Gallardo said he is working on a national version, which would include exemptions from 2011-2015.
He said his research is designed to determine whether greater access to technology, specifically broadband Internet, will slow the outflow from rural areas.
Part of the problem in these communities is so many young people are leaving their hometowns, and taking their economic footprint with them, Gallardo said.
The Mississippi migration map can be viewed at

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About Julia Arenstam

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