Jackson, officially the City of Jackson, is the capital and most populous city of the U.S. state of Mississippi. It is one of two county seats of Hinds County, along with Raymond, Mississippi. The city of Jackson also includes around 3,000 acres comprising Jackson-Medgar Evers International Airport in Rankin County and a small portion of Madison County. The city's population was estimated to be 165,072 in 2017, a decline from 173,514 in 2010. The city sits on the Pearl River and is located in the greater Jackson Prairie region of Mississippi.
Founded in 1821 as the site for a new state capital, the city is named after General Andrew Jackson, who was honored for his role in the Battle of New Orleans during the War of 1812 and would later serve as U.S. president. Following the nearby Battle of Vicksburg in 1863 during the American Civil War, Union forces under the command of General William Tecumseh Sherman forces began the Siege of Jackson and the city was subsequently burned. During the 1920s, Jackson surpassed Meridian to become the most populous city in the state following a speculative natural gas boom in the region. The current slogan for the city is "The City with Soul". It has had numerous musicians prominent in blues, gospel, folk, and jazz. Jackson is the anchor for the Jackson, Mississippi Metropolitan Statistical Area. It is the state's largest metropolitan area with a 2016 population of 579,332, about one-fifth of Mississippi's population.
Jackson is located primarily in northeastern Hinds County, with small portions in Madison and Rankin counties. The Pearl River forms most of the eastern border of the city. A small portion of the city containing Tougaloo College lies in Madison County, bounded on the west by Interstate 220 and on the east by U.S. Route 51 and Interstate 55. An unconnected section of the city surrounds Jackson–Evers International Airport in Rankin County. In the 2010 census, only 622 of the city's residents lived in Madison County, and only 1 lived within the city limits in Rankin County. The city is bordered to the north by Ridgeland in Madison County, to the northeast by Ross Barnett Reservoir on the Pearl River, to the east by Flowood and Richland in Rankin County, to the south by Byram in Hinds County, and to the west by Clinton in Hinds County. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 113.2 square miles (293.3 km²), of which 111.0 square miles (287.6 km²) are land and 2.2 square miles (5.7 km²), or 1.94% of the total, are water.
Jackson remained a small town for much of the 19th century. Before the Civil War, Jackson's population remained small, particularly in contrast to the river towns along the commerce-laden Mississippi River. Despite the city's status as the state capital, the 1850 census counted only 1,881 residents, and by 1900 the population of Jackson was still less than 8,000. Although it expanded rapidly, during this period Meridian became Mississippi's largest city, based on trade, manufacturing, and access to transportation via railroad and highway.
In the early 20th century, as can be seen by the table, Jackson had its largest rates of growth, but ranked second to Meridian in Mississippi. By 1944, Jackson's population had risen to some 70,000 inhabitants, and it became the largest city in the state. It has maintained its position, achieving a peak population in the 1980 census of more than 200,000 residents in the city. Since then, Jackson has steadily seen a decline in its population, while its suburbs have had a boom. This change has occurred in part due to white flight, but it also demonstrates the national suburbanization trend, in which wealthier residents moved out to newer housing. This decline slowed in the first decade of the 21st century.
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