Mississippi Most Economically Insecure State in U.S.By Rhonda Miller | Published 04 Jul 2012 10:39am |
New research shows Mississippi has the highest level of economic insecurity in the nation. MPB’s Rhonda Miller reports one-in-four Mississippians experienced a major economic loss over the past few years.
The study by the Rockefeller Foundation and Yale University describes economic insecurity as having household income drop by 25 percent and not enough financial buffer to recover. Stuart Craig is a researcher for the Economic Security Index. He says Mississippi is the most economically insecure state from 2008 through 2010, but there’s a bigger picture.
"So it is true also that Mississippi has historically featured higher levels of insecurity than the nation as a whole."
The report says families can sink into a fragile economic condition from a job loss or a major medical expense. Education is directly related to economic security. College Board President Ed Blakeslee sees the vicious circle Mississippians face trying to pay for education to help them get a job.
"The money that the universities are receiving from the state in the way of appropriations for the eight universities is considerably less today than it was in the year 2000. And so we’re having to make that up in tuition."
Mississippi Development Authority spokesman Dan Turner says residents have had to deal with more than their share of economic shocks.
"We had some major natural disasters that had a devastating effect on the Mississippi economy as a whole. Hurricane Katrina, now that was a double-edged sword, because the recovery effort pumped a lot of money into the South Mississippi economy, in particular. But still, it’s set a lot of people back financially in a way they may never recover from."
Then there were tornadoes and the BP oil spill. Turner says there are promising signs - more than 500 new jobs have been created in the state since the beginning of the year.
After Mississippi, the most economically insecure states are Arkansas, Alabama, Florida and Georgia. The state ranked as the most economically secure is New Hampshire.
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