Spending on Social Welfare Programs in Rich and Poor States. Final Report.. Mississippi

07/01/2004

Population (July 2003): 2.9 Million

Total State Expenditures - SFY 2002: $10,521 Million (US Total: $1,073,816 Million)

TANF Expenditures - SFY 2002 (% of total): 0.7 % (US: 1.3%)

Medicaid Expenditures - SFY 2002 (% of total): 26% (US: 20.8%)

(Source: U.S. Department of Commerce, Census Bureau and NASBO 2002 State Expenditure Report)

Mississippi has the lowest fiscal capacity in the nation based on per capita personal income, representative tax system, and total taxable resources. Its poverty rate of 16.6 percent for 2001 is among the highest, exceeded only by New Mexico and Louisiana in the six sample states. However, in 2000 the proportion of children without health insurance was only slightly above the national average: 7.7 percent of children below 200 percent of the federal poverty level did not have health insurance, compared to an average state rate in the U.S. of 6.8 percent. Mississippi thus resembles South Carolina and West Virginia-whose percentages of children without health insurance are also near the national average-rather than New Mexico, Louisiana, and Arizona, where the percentages of children without insurance are much higher.

Although the state's poverty rate remains high, it declined greatly in the 1990s, from 25.6 percent in 1991 to 15.6 percent in 1999. Unemployment also dropped from 8.8 percent in 1991 to 5.1 percent in 1999, after which it rose to 6.8 percent in 2002. Major industries in the state have included automobiles, poultry, timber, and gambling casinos (on the river). The state's population grew more slowly than the national average: 5.5 percent between 1995 and 2002. Unlike most states, tax revenues grew every year between FY 2000 and FY 2003, though the rate of increase declined after 2000. The state has had a series of budget shortfalls due to rising needs as well as slow revenue growth.

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