Report shows county gains in population, economy

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, February 20, 2019

From Staff Reports

Pearl River County appears to be gaining in population but at an extremely slow rate of growth; however, its economy appears to be on a significant upswing.

According to a report prepared by the Mississippi State Extension Service, the county’s population went up by .6 percent between 2013-2017. The estimated population in this county for 2017 was 55,270.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

The growth, although sluggish, still outpaces the state. During that same timeframe, Mississippi recorded a .2 percent loss of population.

The county is at an even level when it comes to the amount of the population that can be defined as living in poverty.

Within Pearl River County, .2 percent of the population is considered to be living at or below the poverty level, according to the numbers compiled in the MSU report.

Those that do live here are getting an education.

The percent of the county’s population that has a high school diploma, GED, or other equivalent is estimated to be at 83.6 percent between 2012-2016. Mississippi’s average is 83 percent, and the national average is 87 percent.

However, extending educational experiences into college level falls behind both state and national averages.

The percent of the population 25 and older with a bachelor’s degree or more is 14.2 percent while the state ranks with 21 percent and the national average is 30.3 percent, according to the MSU report.

The county’s average unemployment rate in 2017 was 5.3 percent. Statewide, that average was 5.1 percent, while nationally the average was 4.4.

That is only slightly higher than the state’s 5.1 percent but almost an entire percentage point above the nation’s 4.4 percent recorded during that year.

The MSU report also tallied numbers that show a growing retail market in Pearl River County.

According to the report, the county realized $492 million in retail sales during 2010.

Those numbers stayed level for four years before starting to rise in 2015, reaching $560 million in 2017.

In 2018, Pearl River County saw a major growth in retail sales as spending rose nearly $100 million to $653 million.

The report’s figures show the vast majority of those sales were in retail trade, accounting for $455 million, while accommodation and food services scored a distant second with $59 million. Wholesale trade and construction ranked third and fourth respectively in the collected data.