In our NextGen Mississippi survey, we asked Mississippians why they left the state. Here’s a sampling of what they said.

“I left Mississippi because there is a lack of opportunity, of diversity, of experience. I grew up in Mississippi and went to college in Mississippi, but as soon as I could leave, I did. It’s home and it’s beautiful, but it’s a state that is hurting — deeply, bitterly divided at the core. I believe in Mississippi, but I’m constantly let down.”

“I left Mississippi as soon as I graduated from college to seek a life in a more inclusive place. I never felt fully accepted for who I am or at home in Mississippi.”

“I couldn’t afford to live alone in Mississippi anymore and actually start paying back my student loans.”

“I left because there is a severe lack of career opportunities in the state. Oppressive laws and leadership don’t help, either.”

“There’s so much to love and I am proud of my upbringing there, but there’s nothing left for me. I also don’t want to fight the uphill battle that comes with Mississippi politics, leadership decisions, and the often backwards way things get done. Love the people, love the culture, but the flaws are too much for me.”

“I left immediately post-graduation because there are no real job opportunities within my profession; at least of the caliber that I desire to work in.”

“I left for better more diverse job opportunities and better support of women.”

“I left for better-ranked schools, and I’ve stayed away because there are no job opportunities in Mississippi that could come close to competing with what I can find on the coasts. I wish coming home was a better option for me.”

“I left Mississippi to pursue better education opportunities and gain a better perspective of the rest of the country.”

“I have left and come back, twice. I leave for opportunity: more money, more education, more diverse options. I come back to try to change my home state.”

View more responses and take the NextGen Mississippi survey here.

Read mISSISSIPPI TODAY’S CULTURAL COVERAGE

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