We want to hear from Mississippians — particularly millennials and Gen Z — about the future of the state we call home.

We intimately understand that constant internal question: “Should I stay in Mississippi, or should I leave?” We watch in sorrow but understanding as our peers make the decision to leave and build their lives elsewhere. We hear the complaints of young people who stay about a lack of policy focus on what we need, and we continue to cover the same tired platitudes from politicians.

Additionally, many young people speak up about the importance of Jackson — our state’s capital city and the anchor of our largest metropolitan area. However, as our friends and family members are leaving Mississippi for nearby vibrant cities, Mississippi state leaders continue to offer little support to Jackson.

Many young people are thriving in Mississippi. More often, many are struggling or making great sacrifices to stay. Others want to leave but don’t have the means or ability.

Regardless of your perspective, we want to hear from you. We’re launching a reporting project centered on these realities, and we need your help. Spend some time with these questions, and share them with your friends. The more data we have, the better informed our reporting will be.

The information you share about yourself will not be shared outside our newsroom. But if you’d be willing to talk more with us about your thoughts and ideas, please say so in the final question.

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Candace McKenzie, a Raymond native, was Mississippi Today's second Emerging Reporters Fellow. She earned an associate’s degree from Hinds Community College before transferring to Millsaps College. During her time at Millsaps, McKenzie served as editor-in-chief of The Purple and White student newspaper and collaborated with administration, alumni, students, and several others to revive the once non-existent paper to a place of importance on the campus.