Mississippi and Louisiana both experienced population declines over the previous year, standing out among neighboring states and most of the South.

Louisiana had the fourth highest population loss, in terms of real numbers, at 10,840. Mississippi’s population declined by 3,133. While Mississippi has now seen a population loss in three of the past four years, this was the biggest decline since the official 2010 Census.

The 2018 population estimate is 2,986,530. Mississippi experienced a short population increase of more than 20,000 residents during the first half of the decade, but the population is now down more than 4,000 people since 2014.

Among other neighboring states, over the past year, the population in Alabama increased by 12,751, in Arkansas it increased by 10,828, and it increased by 61,216 in Tennessee.

Tennessee’s population boom isn’t a surprise, or anything new. The state has added more than 400,000 residents since the 2010 Census.

And it’s part of a migration trend. People are leaving progressive income tax states and moving to income tax free states. Over the past year, 339,396 Americans moved to no income tax states, including Tennessee. And 292,947 left progressive income tax states.

Mississippians have among the highest tax burdens

As Census data shows, Mississippi’s tax burden is hurting the state. As a percentage of personal income, Mississippians have a state and local tax revenue rate of 10.57 percent. The national average is 10.08 and the Southeast average is 8.57.

Among neighboring states, Alabama has a rate of 8.23, Arkansas is 9.91, Louisiana is 9.22, and the income-tax free state of Tennessee is 7.76. This means Tennessee runs their government for about 25 percent cheaper than Mississippi. Mississippi is the only state in the Southeast, save for West Virginia, over 10 percent. The Mountaineer state is the highest in the region at 11.23.

Mississippi’s percentage has gone up steadily over the past few years. From 2010-2012, it ranged from 9.84 to 9.88. But this trend has, unfortunately, been going in the wrong direction.