Mississippi is the poorest state of the United States, and has remained so for the entire industrial era. When President Lyndon B. Johnson sought to provide evidence of extreme poverty to promote his Great Society initiative, he found that evidence in the dirt-poor Mississippi Delta. It remains one of the poorest regions of the country, with the highest U.S. infant and maternal mortality rates, and an average male life expectancy of 67 (the average life expectancy for women is 76.5, which still lags five points behind the national average). Taking into account statewide census data, 24.2 percent of Mississippians live in poverty, 21.8 percent experience food insecurity, and 10.2 percent live in extreme poverty. The average statewide life expectancy (75) is the lowest in the ...

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