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Mississippi small businesses thrive in these counties

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August 11, 2023
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Mississippi small businesses thrive in these counties

In 2021, the IRS received a whopping 5.4 million business applications—an all-time high since the U.S. government began tracking this data in 2004. The year with the second-highest number of new business applications? 2020. Today, small businesses employ nearly half of the nation's workers, according to a Chamber of Commerce report.

It's fair to say that the past few years have been banner years for small businesses, but what about regional differences? The business climate in a small town in Texas is likely not the same as a small town in Connecticut. The Chamber of Commerce report found that the Midwest was the most business-friendly region, thanks to the relatively low cost of living, well-educated workforce, and regulations lowering taxes and easing zoning restrictions for businesses.

Of course, the East and West coasts also have plenty to offer, from California's Silicon Valley and Hollywood studios to New York's financial hub to Massachusetts' prominence in the aerospace, defense, and information technology industries. A few states—including Delaware, Wyoming, and Nevada—even allow you to incorporate your business within their borders without ever setting foot there.

For even more specific data, let's take it a step further by analyzing counties. Are certain counties more friendly to small businesses than others? To pinpoint the areas where small businesses abound, altLINE used Census Bureau data to find the counties in Mississippi with the highest concentration of small businesses in 2021, calculated as small establishments per 1,000 residents. Small establishments are defined as those with fewer than 500 employees. Counties with fewer than 1,000 residents were excluded from the analysis, as well as counties for which the Census Bureau didn't have population estimates.

Another important factor to consider: States where nonresidents are allowed to incorporate businesses will also have a higher ratio of small businesses to residents since not all small businesses are actually operated by people living in that state.

Taking a close look at the type of counties that topped the list in each state also reveals some interesting trends. World-class vacation destinations are well represented on the lists of each state, perhaps because tourists are looking to get a sense of how the locals live through small businesses like restaurants, bakeries, bars, and boutiques.

While the top counties in each state do include a few major cities, less populated counties with smaller towns are much more common. Although most of the nation's small businesses are located in major metropolitan areas, those that are located in rural areas tend to be more stable—possibly due to loyalty from local residents or the absence of competition from large corporations.

Keep reading to discover the counties in Mississippi with the highest concentration of small businesses, and see how it compares across 50 states. It just might give you inspiration for your next endeavor.

This story features data reporting by Paxtyn Merten, writing by Annalise Mantz, and is part of a series utilizing data automation across 50 states.

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#50. Itawamba County

- Total small business establishments: 387 (16.2 per 1,000 residents)
- Share of establishments that are small: 100.0%
- 2021 population: 23,866

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#49. Sunflower County

- Total small business establishments: 412 (16.3 per 1,000 residents)
- Share of establishments that are small: 99.5%
- 2021 population: 25,328

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#48. Pontotoc County

- Total small business establishments: 512 (16.3 per 1,000 residents)
- Share of establishments that are small: 99.8%
- 2021 population: 31,336

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#47. Hancock County

- Total small business establishments: 773 (16.8 per 1,000 residents)
- Share of establishments that are small: 100.0%
- 2021 population: 46,046

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#46. DeSoto County

- Total small business establishments: 3,183 (16.8 per 1,000 residents)
- Share of establishments that are small: 99.9%
- 2021 population: 189,042

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#45. Humphreys County

- Total small business establishments: 129 (17.1 per 1,000 residents)
- Share of establishments that are small: 97.0%
- 2021 population: 7,548

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#44. Neshoba County

- Total small business establishments: 495 (17.2 per 1,000 residents)
- Share of establishments that are small: 99.0%
- 2021 population: 28,863

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#42. Simpson County

- Total small business establishments: 442 (17.2 per 1,000 residents)
- Share of establishments that are small: 100.0%
- 2021 population: 25,686

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#42. Tippah County

- Total small business establishments: 372 (17.2 per 1,000 residents)
- Share of establishments that are small: 99.5%
- 2021 population: 21,614

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#41. Scott County

- Total small business establishments: 477 (17.3 per 1,000 residents)
- Share of establishments that are small: 99.4%
- 2021 population: 27,650

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#40. Tunica County

- Total small business establishments: 171 (17.7 per 1,000 residents)
- Share of establishments that are small: 97.7%
- 2021 population: 9,652

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#39. Monroe County

- Total small business establishments: 602 (17.8 per 1,000 residents)
- Share of establishments that are small: 99.8%
- 2021 population: 33,913

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#37. Covington County

- Total small business establishments: 326 (17.9 per 1,000 residents)
- Share of establishments that are small: 99.4%
- 2021 population: 18,250

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#37. Wayne County

- Total small business establishments: 352 (17.9 per 1,000 residents)
- Share of establishments that are small: 99.4%
- 2021 population: 19,712

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#36. Quitman County

- Total small business establishments: 106 (17.9 per 1,000 residents)
- Share of establishments that are small: 99.1%
- 2021 population: 5,911

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#35. Clay County

- Total small business establishments: 334 (18.1 per 1,000 residents)
- Share of establishments that are small: 99.4%
- 2021 population: 18,500

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#34. Calhoun County

- Total small business establishments: 234 (18.1 per 1,000 residents)
- Share of establishments that are small: 99.2%
- 2021 population: 12,936

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#33. Panola County

- Total small business establishments: 603 (18.3 per 1,000 residents)
- Share of establishments that are small: 100.0%
- 2021 population: 32,919

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#32. Oktibbeha County

- Total small business establishments: 952 (18.4 per 1,000 residents)
- Share of establishments that are small: 99.7%
- 2021 population: 51,808

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#31. Union County

- Total small business establishments: 515 (18.4 per 1,000 residents)
- Share of establishments that are small: 99.0%
- 2021 population: 28,001

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#30. Chickasaw County

- Total small business establishments: 315 (18.6 per 1,000 residents)
- Share of establishments that are small: 98.7%
- 2021 population: 16,973

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#29. Attala County

- Total small business establishments: 337 (19.0 per 1,000 residents)
- Share of establishments that are small: 99.1%
- 2021 population: 17,706

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#28. Jones County

- Total small business establishments: 1,288 (19.3 per 1,000 residents)
- Share of establishments that are small: 99.4%
- 2021 population: 66,839

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#27. Prentiss County

- Total small business establishments: 485 (19.5 per 1,000 residents)
- Share of establishments that are small: 99.6%
- 2021 population: 24,921

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#26. Noxubee County

- Total small business establishments: 197 (19.5 per 1,000 residents)
- Share of establishments that are small: 99.0%
- 2021 population: 10,114

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#25. Montgomery County

- Total small business establishments: 191 (19.7 per 1,000 residents)
- Share of establishments that are small: 99.0%
- 2021 population: 9,704

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#24. Tishomingo County

- Total small business establishments: 376 (20.1 per 1,000 residents)
- Share of establishments that are small: 100.0%
- 2021 population: 18,732

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#23. Harrison County

- Total small business establishments: 4,261 (20.3 per 1,000 residents)
- Share of establishments that are small: 99.7%
- 2021 population: 209,642

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#22. Winston County

- Total small business establishments: 383 (21.8 per 1,000 residents)
- Share of establishments that are small: 99.2%
- 2021 population: 17,608

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#21. Forrest County

- Total small business establishments: 1,714 (22.0 per 1,000 residents)
- Share of establishments that are small: 99.7%
- 2021 population: 77,883

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#20. Warren County

- Total small business establishments: 973 (22.4 per 1,000 residents)
- Share of establishments that are small: 99.8%
- 2021 population: 43,450

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#19. Bolivar County

- Total small business establishments: 679 (22.5 per 1,000 residents)
- Share of establishments that are small: 99.9%
- 2021 population: 30,180

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#18. Lamar County

- Total small business establishments: 1,472 (22.5 per 1,000 residents)
- Share of establishments that are small: 99.9%
- 2021 population: 65,395

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#17. Alcorn County

- Total small business establishments: 776 (22.5 per 1,000 residents)
- Share of establishments that are small: 99.6%
- 2021 population: 34,429

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#16. Lincoln County

- Total small business establishments: 792 (22.7 per 1,000 residents)
- Share of establishments that are small: 99.6%
- 2021 population: 34,907

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#15. Hinds County

- Total small business establishments: 5,058 (22.7 per 1,000 residents)
- Share of establishments that are small: 99.7%
- 2021 population: 222,508

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#14. Pike County

- Total small business establishments: 912 (22.8 per 1,000 residents)
- Share of establishments that are small: 99.5%
- 2021 population: 39,957

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#13. Marion County

- Total small business establishments: 575 (23.7 per 1,000 residents)
- Share of establishments that are small: 99.8%
- 2021 population: 24,271

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#12. Lafayette County

- Total small business establishments: 1,356 (23.9 per 1,000 residents)
- Share of establishments that are small: 99.7%
- 2021 population: 56,857

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#11. Washington County

- Total small business establishments: 1,048 (24.0 per 1,000 residents)
- Share of establishments that are small: 99.9%
- 2021 population: 43,641

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#9. Rankin County

- Total small business establishments: 3,810 (24.1 per 1,000 residents)
- Share of establishments that are small: 99.8%
- 2021 population: 158,183

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#9. Leflore County

- Total small business establishments: 660 (24.1 per 1,000 residents)
- Share of establishments that are small: 99.4%
- 2021 population: 27,398

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#8. Coahoma County

- Total small business establishments: 503 (24.3 per 1,000 residents)
- Share of establishments that are small: 99.6%
- 2021 population: 20,732

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#7. Lowndes County

- Total small business establishments: 1,418 (24.4 per 1,000 residents)
- Share of establishments that are small: 99.8%
- 2021 population: 58,129

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#6. Lauderdale County

- Total small business establishments: 1,792 (24.9 per 1,000 residents)
- Share of establishments that are small: 99.8%
- 2021 population: 71,871

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#5. Grenada County

- Total small business establishments: 536 (25.2 per 1,000 residents)
- Share of establishments that are small: 99.3%
- 2021 population: 21,312

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#4. Adams County

- Total small business establishments: 734 (25.5 per 1,000 residents)
- Share of establishments that are small: 99.9%
- 2021 population: 28,804

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#3. Sharkey County

- Total small business establishments: 102 (28.0 per 1,000 residents)
- Share of establishments that are small: 98.1%
- 2021 population: 3,648

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#2. Madison County

- Total small business establishments: 3,330 (30.3 per 1,000 residents)
- Share of establishments that are small: 99.9%
- 2021 population: 109,919

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#1. Lee County

- Total small business establishments: 2,531 (30.5 per 1,000 residents)
- Share of establishments that are small: 99.8%
- 2021 population: 83,043

This story originally appeared on altLINE and was produced and distributed in partnership with Stacker Studio.

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