What's it like to live in Jackson, MS?

Peter Kelly

Profile written by local expert:

Peter Kelly

In its heyday, Jackson, Mississippi, was the soul of the American music industry. Renowned R&B, blues and jazz singers such as Art Garfunkel, Roberta Flack and Johnnie Taylor flocked to Jackson's studios to record their albums.

Today, the largest metro area in Mississippi is leading the charge for the state's arts, culinary and cultural progression. But unlike many other places undergoing revitalization, Jackson maintained much of its distinct Southern charm, a characteristic that is drawing new chefs, artists and other movers and shakers to this region.

Locals are proud to call Jackson home, and they have strong ties to their particular neighborhoods. Southern hospitality is a real thing and it comes alive in Jacksonians, but they all know to abide by three simple rules: respect your elders, savor good cooking and hold football above all else.


U.S. News analyzed 150 metro areas in the United States to find the best places to live based on quality of life and the job market in each metro area, as well as the value of living there and people's desire to live there.

Jackson, Mississippi is ranked:

#141 in Best Places to Live

#112 in Best Places to Retire

#2 in Most Dangerous Places




Best Places to Live

  • Desirability
  • Value
  • Job Market
  • Quality of Life
  • Net Migration

Read how we rank places

Jackson, MS Quick Stats

  • 580,280

    Metro Population

  • $43,180

    Average Annual Salary

  • 75.5° / 53.6°

    Avg High/Low Temps

  • 36.1

    Median Age

  • $173,625

    Median Home Price

  • 54.1 inches

    AVG Annual Rainfall

  • 4.8%

    Unemployment Rate

  • $870

    Median Monthly Rent

  • 24.4 minutes

    Avg Commute Time

What is there to do in Jackson, MS?

Jackson's recreational and entertainment options appeal to a variety of people. Country clubbers are at home in Jackson's active social scene, and culture buffs will find plenty to do. Museums like the Mississippi Museum of Art and the Eudora Welty House & Garden are small but well-maintained. And downtown's popular Fondren district is a vibrant collection of restaurants, bars and entertainment venues.

If you're a hunter or a fisherman, you'll feel right at home in Jackson, but hikers, rock climbers, cyclists and rafters will find that the city proper lacks outdoor spaces designed for their hobbies. Still, several bodies of water, such as the Ross Barnett Reservoir, are great places to kayak, paddleboard and even sail. If you prefer to watch sports, the Mississippi Braves – the Atlanta Braves' AA farm team – play baseball in the suburb of Pearl. Meanwhile, the Mynelle Gardens and the Jackson State University Botanical Garden offer a more relaxing outdoor experience.

What's the cost of living in Jackson, MS?

Compared with other similarly sized metro areas, Jackson is very affordable. The median home sale price is significantly lower than the national median, and Jackson residents pay less for groceries and health care than those living in other large urban areas.

Looking for financial advice? Find a local financial advisor in Jackson, Mississippi.

Value Index

Index Score: 7.3 /10

How we calculate this.

Jackson offers a better value than similarly sized metro areas when you compare housing costs to median household income.

Housing Costs 2019



Housing Costs Over Time

Data sourced from Zillow median home sale price data series. Additional data provided by the Austin Board of Realtors, Houston Association of Realtors, Intermountain MLS, Omaha Area Board of Realtors, San Antonio Board of Realtors, and the Salt Lake Board of Realtors.

Buying or selling a home? Find top real estate agents in Jackson, MS.

What's the weather like in Jackson, MS?

As with most of the South, Jackson's summers are sweltering, and the heat is amplified by the humidity. Spring and fall are slightly cooler, while winters are mild. Due to its location, Jackson has been known to experience extreme weather, such as tornadoes.

Seasonal Temperature (Avgs)









Seasonal Rainfall (Avgs)

5.2 in


5.0 in


4.8 in


4.8 in


Monthly High and Low Temperatures (°F)

Data sourced from the National Climatic Data Center.

What's the best way to get around Jackson, MS?

Jackson is definitely a driving town. There are certain pedestrian-friendly areas (including the Fondren arts district and the Dogwood Festival Market), but since the metro area is so spread out, most people get around in a personal vehicle.

The local public transit service, JATRAN, operates bus routes throughout the Jackson area, but coverage is limited in more suburban neighborhoods. For more convenience, many Jacksonians also use ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft.

The Jackson-Medgar Wiley Evers International Airport is serviced by Delta Air Lines, American Airlines, Frontier Airlines and United Airlines. Residents can also choose to fly from Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport, which is about a three-hour drive from Jackson. Amtrak trains and charter buses – like those operated by Greyhound – provide ground transportation to other cities.

Commuting in Jackson, MS

Means of Transportation
Above national average

Equal to national average

Equal to national average

Public Transit
Below national average
Average Commute Time

24.4 minutes

2.2 minutes less than national average

Average Commute Times by Zip Code

Data sourced from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey.

Who lives in Jackson, MS?

The Jackson metro area is very family-centric, and families tend to settle in Jackson's suburbs, like Pearl, Brandon, Madison and Ridgeland. There's also a retiree population, and the local institutions of higher education - including Jackson State University, Belhaven University, Millsaps College, Tougaloo College and Mississippi College - bring college students to the area. 

Greater Jackson sees a range of affluence. Unfortunately, about a quarter of the area's residents live below the poverty line.

Age Distribution

Marital Status Breakdown

More single people in Jackson than
national average

Data sourced from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey.