Mississippi was hit hard by the recession even as it was still recovering from the effects of Hurricane Katrina, which devastated the area in 2005. But things are looking up, and job opportunities now combine with house prices that are still lower than a decade ago. The cost of living generally is well below the national average. In addition, Mississippi has more variety than outsiders might imagine.
For example, DeSoto County, near the Tennessee state line, is really part of the Memphis, Tenn., metro area, which teems with ribs, blues music, the legacy of Elvis and other entertainment offerings. The fastest growing county in the state, it has average home values of just over $103,000, while median household income is $58,500.
Oxford is an international literary mecca, drawing bookworms from around the world each year to its conferences honoring native son William Faulkner and a variety of literary works and genres. Many successful and aspiring writers live there. As home to Ole Miss (the University of Mississippi), it offers lively college football weekends. The median home value is $137,900.
If coastal living attracts you, cities such as Gulfport and Biloxi have recovered from Katrina with the help of federal dollars, but it's still possible to get a bargain on a home near the Gulf of Mexico.
Mississippi has a rich history in Civil War sites like Natchez and Vicksburg, and nature beckons in federal and state parks and wild areas.