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Pearl, Mississippi
City of Pearl
Official seal of Pearl, Mississippi
Nickname(s): The Pearl of the South
Motto: "The City Creating Its Own Future"
Location in Rankin County, Mississippi
Location in Rankin County, Mississippi
Location of Mississippi in the United States
Location of Mississippi in the United States
Country United States
State Mississippi
County Rankin
Founded 1865
Incorporation 1973
 • Total 22.0 sq mi (57 km2)
 • Land 21.8 sq mi (56.5 km2)
 • Water 0.2 sq mi (0.5 km2)
Elevation 276 ft (84.1 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 25,092
 • Density 1,088/sq mi (420.1/km2)
Time zone CST (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
Zip Code(s); physical locations 39208
Zip Code(s); U.S. P.O. boxes 39288
Area code(s) 601, 769
FIPS code 28-55760
GNIS feature ID 0675537
For additional city data see: City-Data

Pearl is a city in Rankin County, Mississippi located on the east side of the Pearl River from the state capital of Jackson. The population was 25,092 at the 2010 census. It is part of the Jackson Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Today, Pearl is a growing community; it is the 13th largest city in the state and the largest city in Rankin County.


Pearl Mississippi becomes a city headline
The Rankin County Press headline from June 1973

After the American Civil War, the bottomlands of the Pearl River were developed for agriculture. Population was sparse until the mid-1900s, when development of the state capital of Jackson in Hinds County to the west spilled over into this county. New residents and industry settled here. Thereafter, growth in the area came from the urban expansion of the capital, control of flood threats from the Pearl River, and improved transportation due to accessible interstates and Jackson-Evers International Airport.

On September 16, 1968, a community meeting was held to discuss the incorporation of Pearl, with all but 6 of the 657 attending residents favoring incorporation. A "Boundary Committee" proposed several different possible boundaries a little more than a month later. The following January the community voted for a 11 square miles (28 km2) boundary that included the Pearl River to Airport Road, excluding East Jackson and all areas south of Interstate 20 except Cunningham Heights and Grandview Heights. A majority at that meeting also agreed on naming the city "Pearl", in preference to the also-proposed "Riverview" and "Brightsville."

Pearl was affected by the violence of the Ku Klux Klan, and was white-only for most of the 20th Century. In 1970, Pearl had 9,613 white residents and 10 black residents who were probably live-in servants to white households. By the 1990s Pearl had become more racially integrated, and by 2010 blacks made up 23% of the population.

The first mayor, Harris Harvey, was elected, as well as council members Jimmy Joe Thompson, W.D. McAlpin, James Netherland, Ophelia Byrd, Mack C Atwood, W.L. Maddox, and Bobby Joe Davis. With the Mississippi Supreme Court ruling of June 5, 1973, the incorporation could proceed. A week later, the state legislature issued a charter. On June 29, 1973 Governor William Winter presided over the first annual Pearl Day Celebration, with the swearing in of the city's new officials, who met for the first time on July 3, 1973.

The Pearl Municipal Separate School District was created on May 18, 1976 by an Ordinance of the City of Pearl Mayor and Board of Aldermen. The first franchise by the City of Pearl for cable television to be installed was granted on July 6, 1976. The Pearl Chamber of Commerce was formed on August 24, 1978.

Unlike many Mississippi cities, Pearl does not have a downtown square as it is not the county seat. Over the years the city has redeveloped the former Pearl High School into City Hall, including the Pearl Police Department, public works departments, and city courts. A large auditorium-style Community Center was built next door. Its clock tower is inscribed with the names of graduates of Pearl High School for the period 1949 through 1989 while the high school occupied this building. A 25,000 sq ft (2,300 m2) library opened near City Hall on July 18, 2005.


Pearl is located at 32°16′19″N 90°6′19″W / 32.27194°N 90.10528°W / 32.27194; -90.10528 (32.271979, -90.105266).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 22.0 square miles (57 km2), of which 21.8 square miles (56 km2) is land and 0.2 square miles (0.52 km2) (1.00%) is water. Neighboring towns include Flowood, Brandon, Richland and the state capital Jackson.

According to its 2008 Annual Drinking Water Quality Report, Pearl's drinking water comes from the Sparta Sand Aquifer via nine wells that draw the water from it.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1980 18,602
1990 19,588 5.3%
2000 21,961 12.1%
2010 25,092 14.3%
Est. 2015 26,462 5.5%
U.S. Decennial Census

As of the census of 2000, there were 21,961 people, 8,608 households, and 6,025 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,005.9 people per square mile (388.4/km²). There were 9,128 housing units at an average density of 418.1 per square mile (161.4/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 81.18% White, 16.24% African American, 0.22% Native American, 0.79% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.78% from other races, and 0.75% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.03% of the population.

There were 8,608 households out of which 34.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.2% were married couples living together, 15.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.0% were non-families. 25.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.55 and the average family size was 3.05.

In the city, the population was spread out with 26.4% under the age of 18, 10.1% from 18 to 24, 31.8% from 25 to 44, 21.4% from 45 to 64, and 10.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females there were 90.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.6 males.

In the most recent census (2010), the racial demographics have changed similar to many other Jackson, MS area suburbs. The following are the most current demographics: White alone 69.8%, African American 23.0%, American Indian and Alaska Native 0.2%, Asian 0.9%, Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander 0.2%, Two or More Races 1.7%, Hispanic 6.4%.

The median income for a household in the city was $37,617, and the median income for a family was $42,013. Males had a median income of $30,860 versus $24,610 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,136. About 9.2% of families and 12.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 17.3% of those under age 18 and 12.4% of those age 65 or over.


Air travel

Pearl is served by Jackson-Evers International Airport, located at Allen C. Thompson Field, at the Pearl city limits in the city of Flowood in Rankin County. Its IATA code is JAN. The airport has non-stop service to 12 cities throughout the United States and is served by 5 mainline carriers (American, Delta, Continental, Northwest, and US Airways).

While technically Jackson-Evers International Airport is located in Flowood, it is city of Jackson property and Jackson is responsible for everything within the airport's defined grounds.

Underway is the Airport Parkway project. The environmental impact study is complete and final plans are drawn and awaiting Mississippi Department of Transportation approval. Right-of-way acquisition is underway at an estimated cost of $19 million. The Airport Parkway will connect High Street in downtown Jackson to Mississippi Highway 475 in Flowood at Jackson-Evers International Airport. The Airport Parkway Commission consists of the Mayor of Pearl, the Mayor of Flowood and the Mayor of Jackson, as the Airport Parkway will run through and have access from each of these three cities.

Ground transportation

Interstate highways

I-55.svg Interstate 55 (I-55)
Runs north-south from Chicago through Jackson towards Brookhaven, McComb, and the Louisiana state line to New Orleans. Pearl is roughly halfway between New Orleans and Memphis, Tennessee. The interstate connects to U.S. Interstate 20 in Jackson.

I-20.svg Interstate 20 (I-20)
Runs east-west from near El Paso, Texas to Florence, South Carolina and is the main interstate to Pearl. Pearl is roughly halfway between Dallas, Texas and Atlanta, Georgia.

U.S. highways

US 49.svg U.S. Highway 49
Runs north-south from the Arkansas state line at Lula via Clarksdale and Yazoo City, towards Hattiesburg and dead ends at the Gulf of Mexico in Gulfport. From Gulfport going north back towards Jackson, this highway ends at Pearl where it is bypassed via Interstate 20 to Interstate 220 (I-220) to U.S. Highway 49 again towards Yazoo City.

US 80.svg U.S. Highway 80
Roughly parallels Interstate 20. It is the main corridor through the heart of Pearl.

State highways

Circle sign 25.svg Mississippi Highway 25
This highway is known as Lakeland Drive in the metro-Jackson area and runs northeast towards Carthage and Starkville.

Circle sign 475.svg Mississippi Highway 475
This highway runs from Mississippi Highway 25 in Flowood, though Pearl crossing U.S. Highway 80 and ends at Mississippi Highway 468.


Pearl is home to many parks and recreational facilities.

  • Center City Complex - softball, baseball, soccer, and offices of the Parks and Recreation Department (has been the site of several United States Specialty Sports Association Regional and National Tournaments)
  • Pearl Activity Center (Old Boys Club) - baseball, meeting room, and gymnasium
  • Bright Park - A 2/3 mile physical fitness walking trail through nature and picnic areas
  • City Park - A family recreation area which includes, picnic areas, reserveable pavilion, children's playground, tennis courts, basketball court, and covered stage
  • Jenkins Park - A family recreation facility, children’s playground, picnic areas, pavilion, 1/2 mile walking trail, and softball field
  • Old Library Walking Trail - A 1/4 mile walking trail
  • Henry F. Shepherd Field Walking Trail - A 1/4 mile walking track around the old Pearl High School football field
  • Center City Walking Trail - A 1-mile (1.6 km) walking trail winding through the scenic wooded terrain
  • Pearl Municipal Golf Course - An 18-hole public golf course with a Club House and short order restaurant

Noteworthy natives

Images for kids

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