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City of Meridian

  •   State: 
    Lauderdale County
      County FIPS: 
    32°22′29″N 88°42′15″W
      Area total: 
    54.51 sq mi
      Area land: 
    53.74 sq mi (139.19 km²)
      Area water: 
    0.76 sq mi (1.98 km²)
    344 ft (105 m)
    Incorporated February 10, 1860
  •   Latitude: 
      Dman name cbsa: 
    Meridian, MS
    Eastern Standard Time (EST) UTC-5:00; Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) UTC-4:00
      ZIP codes: 

    Meridian, Lauderdale County, Mississippi, United States

  •   Population: 
      Population density: 
    652.24 residents per square mile of area (251.83/km²)
      Household income: 
      Unemployment rate: 
  •   Sales taxes: 
      Income taxes: 

Meridian is the county seat of Lauderdale County and the principal city of the Meridian, Mississippi Micropolitan Statistical Area. It is 93 mi (150 km) east of Jackson, Mississippi; 154 mi (248 km) southwest of Birmingham, Alabama; 202 mi (325 km) northeast of New Orleans, Louisiana; and 231 mi (372 km) southeast of Memphis, Tennessee. Jimmie Rodgers, the "Father of Country Music", was born in Meridian. The area is served by two military facilities, Naval Air Station Meridian and Key Field, which employ over 4,000 people. Rush Foundation Hospital is the largest non-military employer in the region, employing 2,610 people. Meridian was home to two Carnegie libraries, one for whites and one for African Americans. The federal courthouse was the site of the 1966-1967 trial of suspects in the murder of James Chaney and two other activists. For the first time, an all-white jury convicted a white official of a civil rights killing. The city has diversified, with healthcare, military, and manufacturing employing the most people in 2010. The population within the city limits, according to 2008 census estimates, is 38,232, but a population of 232,900 in a 45-mile (72 km) radius, of which 104,600 and 234,200 people respectively are in the labor force. Meridian is home to the Regional Counter-Drug Training Academy (RCTA) and the first local Department of Homeland Security in the state. The Mississippi Arts and Entertainment Experience (the MAX) is located in downtown Meridian.


Meridian is the primary city name, but also Nas Meridian, Naval Air Sta Meridian are acceptable city names or spellings, Mdn, Naval Air Station on the other hand no longer accepted or obsolete and are no longer used as a designation. The official name is City of Meridian. Meridian is a city in Mississippi. It was founded in 1860. It is known for the Threefoot Building, Meridian's tallest skyscraper, in 1929. Meridian was home to a Council of Federated Organizations (COFO) in the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s. The city's population declined as workers left for other areas. The decline of the railroad industry, which went through considerable restructuring among freight lines, as well as among other areas, caused significant job losses in the city in the 1970s and '80s. In the 1990s, Meridian became the region's rail center again, until the Interstate Highway System drew off passengers from the trains in the 1950s and 1960s and replaced them with buses and trucks. The town is home to the Grand Opera House, the Wechsler School, two Carnegie libraries, and a federal courthouse. The Threefoot building is the tallest skyscrapers in the state. It has been home to several U.S. presidents, including George H.W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush and Barack Obama. It also hosts the National Museum of African-American History and Culture, which opened in 1998. The museum is located on the former site of a former cotton gin, which was destroyed in the Great Depression. The Mississippi River runs through the center of the city, and the Mississippi River and its tributaries flow through the city to the Gulf of Mexico. The river was once known as the "Meridian River," but was renamed after the city.

Government and infrastructure

Meridian has operated under the mayor-council or "strong mayor" form of government since 1985. A mayor is elected every four years by the population at-large. The city council is the legislative arm of the government, setting policy and annually adopting the city's operating budget. Meridian has been described as "the safest city in Mississippi with more than 30,000 people" The city is located in Mississippi's 3rd congressional district. Lauderdale County, home to Meridian, has voted for the Republican candidate in every United States presidential election since 1972. The Mississippi Department of Mental Health operates the East Mississippi State Hospital in Meridian. The United States Postal Service operates the Meridian, North Meridian, and the West Meridian Station post offices. In 2009, the Meridian Police Department responded to 4000 cases, 2000 of which were felonies. The fire department responded to more than 1600 calls in 2009, including 123 structural fires and 609 emergency service calls. In the Mississippi House of Representatives districts, the city is divided into four districts. In state politics, the Mississippi Senate district map divides the city into three sections. The southern and eastern portions of the city reside in House District 81 and are represented by Steven A. Horne (Republican party). The city's core makes up the entirety of House District 82 and is represented by Wilbert L. Jones (Democratic party). Surrounding House District 83 is House District 85 and House District 84. The western and southeastern portions lie in the 33rd State Senate District and seats Videt Carmichael (Republican Party).


As of the 2020 United States Census, there were 35,052 people, 15,947 households, and 9,285 families residing in the city. The city's growth has reflected the push and pull of many social and economic factors. The total population increased in each census from the city's founding until 1970, although varying from rates as high as 165% to as low as 0.2%. In the 1970 census the population decreased, then slightly increased by 1980, after which the population slowly declined, increasing again since the turn of the 21st century. As of the census of 2000, theCity's population was 39,968, and the population density was 885.9 inhabitants per square mile (342.0/km²) In 2008, the city was the sixth largest in the state. The population increased as of 2010. Meridian is the principal city in the Meridian micropolitan area, which as of 2009 consisted of three counties Clarke, Kemper, and Lauderdale. There is a population of 232,900 in a 45-mile (72 km) radius and 526,500 in a 65- miles (105km) radius. In 2000, 31.1% of occupied households had children under the age of 18, 36.2% were married couples living together, 23.3% consisted of a female householder with no husband present, and 37.2 per cent were non-families. Meridian's median age has increased from 30.4 in 1970 to 34.6 in 2000. In the 2010 Census, the racial makeup of theCity was 61.55% African American, 35.71% White, 0.9% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, and 0.89% from two or more races.

Geography and climate

Meridian is located in the East Central Hills region of Mississippi in Lauderdale County. Along major highways, the city is 93 mi (150 km) east of Jackson, Mississippi; 154 mi (248 km) west of Birmingham, Alabama; 202 mi (325 km) northeast of New Orleans, Louisiana; 231 mi (372 km) southeast of Memphis, Tennessee; and 297 mi (478 km)west of Atlanta, Georgia. The city has a total area of 54.50 square miles (141.2 km²), of which 53.74 square miles are land and 0.76 squaremile (2.0 km²) is water. It is in the humid subtropical climate zone, with an average annual precipitation of 58.65 in (1,490 mm) Rainfall is fairly evenly distributed throughout the year, and the wettest month of the year is March, in which an average of 6.93 in (176 mm) of rain falls. Severe thunderstorms which can produce damaging winds and/or large hail in addition to the usual hazards of lightning and heavy rain occasionally occur. These are most common during the spring months with a secondary peak during the fall months. These storms also bring the risk of tornadoes. The average high temperature during summer (June through August) is around 90 °F (32 °C) and the average low is around 70 °f (21 °C). In winter (December through February) the average maximum is around 60 °F.


The city was the largest in Mississippi around the start of the 20th century, with five major rail lines and 44 trains coming in and out daily. With these rail-based industries, the city was a great economic power in the state and region from about 1890 through 1930. Rush Health Systems is the largest healthcare organization in the region, employing 2,465 people, followed by Anderson Regional Health System with 1,343 and East Mississippi State Hospital with 943. The area is also served by two military facilities, Naval Air Station Meridian and Key Field, which supply over 4,000 jobs to residents of the surrounding area. Eighty percent of Lauderdale County's workers reside in the county while 90% live within 45 miles. The city thus serves as a hub of employment, retail, health care, and culture activities. Nearly $2 billion annually is spent on retail purchases in the city. The 633,685-square-foot (58,871 m2) Uptown Meridian offers over one hundred shopping venues, including department stores, specialty shops, restaurants, eateries, and United Artists Theatres. Key Field is the site of the famous flight by brothers Fred and Al Key, who set a world endurance flight record in 1935. The Riley Center attracts more than 60,000 visitors to downtown Meridian annually for conferences, meetings, performances, and performances. Other businesses in the area include Avery Dison, Structural Steel Services, Teikuro Corporation, Bimbo Industries, and Tower Automotive.


Meridian is considered an architectural treasure trove being one of the USA's most intact cities from the end of the nineteenth and start of the twentieth centuries. The city's former Grand Opera House was built in 1889 by two half brothers, Israel Marks and Levi Rothenberg. Noted California architect Wallace Neff designed a number of homes in Meridian as well as in the Alabama Black Belt which adjoins the city across the nearby Alabama State line. The only home in the US south designed by noted Canadian born architect Louis S. Curtiss, famous for inventing the glass curtain wall skyscraper, is extant on Highland Park. The Frank Fort-designed Threefoot Building is generally considered one the best Art Deco skyscrapers in the U.S. and is often compared to Detroit's famed Fisher Building. The Riley Center, which includes a 950-seat auditorium for live performances, a 200-seat studio theater, and 30,000 sq ft (2,787 m2) of meeting space, attracts more than 60,000 visitors to downtown Meridian annually for conferences, meetings, and performances. The Meridian Symphony Orchestra (MSO) founded in 1961 played its first concert in 1962 and its first full season in 1963. In 1965 the MSO booked its first international soloist, Elena Nikolaidi, to perform with the orchestra. The Orchestra helped the Meridian Public School District develop its own orchestra and strings programs and also helped develop the Meridian Symphony Chorus. One Neff work lost to an expansion of Anderson Hospital in 1990s with another in Marion Park burned in 1950s.


The city is served by Meridian Regional Airport, located at Key Field, 3 mi (4.8 km) southwest of the city. At 10,004 foot (3,049 m), the airport's runway is the longest public runway in Mississippi. The number of passengers on Amtrak trains, Greyhound buses, and Meridian Transit System buses averages 242,360 per year. The Union Station Multi-Modal Transportation Center (MMTC) is located at 1901 Front Street, part of the Meridian Downtown Historic District, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The airport has been in service since 1930, and offers daily flights to Dallas/Fort Worth. The city is home to the University of Mississippi, which was founded in 1876. The university is located on the Mississippi River, which runs through the center of the town. The University's football team is known as the Meridian Bulldogs, and the football team won the Mississippi State Championship in 2008. The football team also won the NCAA Division I championship in 2010 and 2011. The school's mascot is the Bulldogs, who won the state championship in 2008 and 2010. The town's football field is named after the town's namesake, who died in a car crash in 2010. It is also the home of Mississippi State University, which won the national championship in 2000. It also hosts the Mississippi College Women's Football Championship in 2009 and 2010, as well as the Mississippi Tech Women's Basketball Championship in 2011 and 2012. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is based in the city, and has a training center in Meridian, which opened in the 1970s.


Meridian is home to two post-secondary educational institutions. Meridian Community College, founded in 1937, is located at 910 Highway 19 N and offers free tuition for graduates from the Meridian and Lauderdale County School Districts. Mississippi State University also operates a campus in the city. Meridian is served by the Meridian-Lauderdale County Public Library, located at the corner of 7th Street and 26th Avenue. The city originally had two Carnegie libraries, both built in 1913 one for blacks and one for whites. The African American library was the only library for blacks in the state until after World War I and is the only Carnegie library ever built for African Americans in the country. The former white library was renovated and converted into the Meridian Museum of Art in 1970, and the former African-American library was demolished on May 28, 2008. As of the Fall 2008 semester, 763 students from 33 counties throughout the state and several in Alabama attended the college. The campus of Meridian High School, the main high school in the district, occupies 37 acres (15 ha), including six buildings and 111 classrooms. The school is made up of grades 912 and enrolls approximately 1,500 students. The Mississippi Legislature amended the city charter in January 1888 to allow the city to maintain its own municipal school district, and in March of the same year $30,000 in bonds was approved for theCity to build new public schools. From this bond, the Wechsler School was built in 1894, becoming the first brick public school building in Mississippi built for blacks.

Air Quality, Water Quality, Superfund Sites & UV Index

The Air Quality index is in Meridian, Lauderdale County, Mississippi = 72.9. These Air Quality index is based on annual reports from the EPA. Higher values are better (100=best). The number of ozone alert days is used as an indicator of air quality, as are the amounts of seven pollutants including particulates, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, lead, and volatile organic chemicals. The Water Quality Index is 87. A measure of the quality of an area’s water supply as rated by the EPA. Higher values are better (100=best). The EPA has a complex method of measuring the watershed quality, using 15 indicators such as pollutants, turbidity, sediments, and toxic discharges. The Superfund Sites Index is 98. Higher is better (100=best). Based upon the number and impact of EPA Superfund pollution sites in the county, including spending on the cleanup efforts. The UV Index in Meridian = 5.2 and is a measure of an area's exposure to the sun's ultraviolet rays. This is most often a combination of sunny weather, altitude, and latitude. The UV Index has been defined by the WHO ( and is uniform worldwide.


The most recent city population of 35,052 individuals with a median age of 35.6 age the population dropped by -5.75% in Meridian, Lauderdale County, Mississippi population since 2000 and are distributed over a density of 652.24 residents per square mile of area (251.83/km²). There are average 2.32 people per household in the 15,330 households with an average household income of $25,539 a year. The unemployment rate in Alabama is 13.30% of the available work force and has dropped -2.75% over the most recent 12-month period and the projected change in job supply over the next decade based on migration patterns, economic growth, and other factors will increase by 21.20%. The number of physicians in Meridian per 100,000 population = 300.9.


The annual rainfall in Meridian = 55.6 inches and the annual snowfall = 1.2 inches. The annual number of days with measurable precipitation (over .01 inch) = 107. The average number of days per year that are predominantly sunny = 222. 93 degrees Fahrenheit is the average daily high temperature for the month of July and 34.6 degrees Fahrenheit is the average daily low temperature for the month of January. The Comfort Index (higher=better) is 26, where higher values mean a more pleasant climate. The Comfort Index measure recognizes that humidity by itself isn't the problem. (Have you noticed nobody ever complains about the weather being 'cold and humid?) It's in the summertime that we notice the humidity the most, when it's hot and muggy. Our Comfort Index uses a combination of afternoon summer temperature and humidity to closely predict the effect that the humidity will have on people.

Median Home Cost

The percentage of housing units in Meridian, Lauderdale County, Mississippi which are owned by the occupant = 48.49%. A housing unit is a house, apartment, mobile home, or room occupied as separate living quarters. The average age of homes = 42 years with median home cost = $75,340 and home appreciation of -0.08%. This is the value of the years most recent home sales data. Its important to note that this is not the average (or arithmetic mean). The median home price is the middle value when you arrange all the sales prices of homes from lowest to highest. This is a better indicator than the average, because the median is not changed as much by a few unusually high or low values. The property tax rate of $7.04 shown here is the rate per $1,000 of home value. If for simplification for example the tax rate is $14.00 and the home value is $250,000, the property tax would be $14.00 x ($250,000/1000), or $3500. This is the 'effective' tax rate.


The local school district spends $4,358 per student. There are 15.7 students for each teacher in the school, 487 students for each Librarian and 407 students for each Counselor. 6.31% of the area’s population over the age of 25 with an Associate Degree or other 2-year college degree, 10.82% with a master’s degree, Ph.D. or other advanced college degree and 7.44% with high school diplomas or high school equivalency degrees (GEDs).

  • Meridian's population in Lauderdale County, Mississippi of 14,050 residents in 1900 has increased 2,49-fold to 35,052 residents after 120 years, according to the official 2020 census.

    Approximately 53.70% female residents and 46.30% male residents live in Meridian, Lauderdale County, Mississippi.

    As of 2020 in Meridian, Lauderdale County, Mississippi are married and the remaining 52.95% are single population.

  • 18.6 minutes is the average time that residents in Meridian require for a one-way commute to work. A long commute can have different effects on health. A Gallup poll in the US found that in terms of mental health, long haul commuters are up to 12 percent more likely to experience worry, and ten percent less likely to feel well rested. The Gallup poll also found that of people who commute 61­–90 minutes each day, a whopping one third complained of neck and back pain, compared to less than a quarter of people who only spend ten minutes getting to work.

    79.14% of the working population which commute to work alone in their car, 14.06% of the working population which commutes to work in a carpool, 0.61% of the population that commutes using mass transit, including bus, light rail, subway, and ferry. 1.56% of the population that has their home as their principal place of work.

  • Of the total residential buildings in Meridian, Lauderdale County, Mississippi, 48.49% are owner-occupied homes, another 37.67% are rented apartments, and the remaining 13.84% are vacant.

  • The 64.48% of the population in Meridian, Lauderdale County, Mississippi who identify themselves as belonging to a religion are distributed among the following most diverse religions.

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