Pearl, Mississippi
City of Pearl
Pearl, Mississippi on Riverwind Drive
Pearl, Mississippi on Riverwind Drive
Flag of Pearl, Mississippi
Official seal of Pearl, Mississippi
The Pearl of the South
"The City Creating Its Own Future"[1]
Location in Rankin County, Mississippi
Location of Mississippi in the United States
Location of Mississippi in the United States
Pearl, Mississippi is located in the United States
Pearl, Mississippi
Pearl, Mississippi
Location in the United States
Coordinates: 32°16′19″N 90°06′19″W / 32.27194°N 90.10528°W / 32.27194; -90.10528Coordinates: 32°16′19″N 90°06′19″W / 32.27194°N 90.10528°W / 32.27194; -90.10528
CountryUnited States
IncorporationJune 29, 1973
 • TypeWeak Mayor-Council
 • MayorJake Windham (R)
 • Board of AldermenDavid Luckett (R) - Dist. 1
Michael Sartor (R) - Dist. 2
Johnny Steverson (R) - Dist. 3
Casey Foy (R) - Dist. 4
James Thompson (I) - Dist. 5
Gavin Gill (R) - Dist. 6
John McHenry (R) - At-large
 • Total25.61 sq mi (66.33 km2)
 • Land25.49 sq mi (66.01 km2)
 • Water0.12 sq mi (0.32 km2)
276 ft (84.1 m)
 • Total25,092
 • Estimate 
 • Density1,040.18/sq mi (401.62/km2)
Time zoneUTC−6 (CST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−5 (CDT)
Zip Code(s); physical locations
Zip Code(s); U.S. P.O. boxes
Area code(s)601, 769
FIPS code28-55760[4]
GNIS feature ID0675537[5]
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.


The Rankin County Press headline from June 1973
The Rankin County Press headline from June 1973

After the American Civil War, the bottomlands of the Pearl River were developed for agriculture. The population was sparse until the mid-1900s when the development of the state capital of Jackson in Hinds County to the west spilled over into Rankin 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 six of the 657 attending residents favoring incorporation.[6] A "Boundary Committee" proposed several possible boundaries a little more than a month later. The following January the community voted for an 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 to name the city "Pearl", rather than the alternative proposals of "Riverview" or "Brightsville".

Pearl was affected by the violence of the Ku Klux Klan,[7] and was white-only for most of the 20th Century. In 1970, Pearl had 9,613 white residents and 10 black residents.[8] By the 1990s Pearl had become more racially integrated, and by 2010 blacks made up 23% of the population.[9]

The first mayor, Harris Harvey, was elected, along with 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 installation was granted on July 6, 1976. The Pearl Chamber of Commerce was formed on August 24, 1978.

On October 1, 1997, Luke Woodham went on a shooting spree that ended at Pearl High School, killing two and injuring seven, after earlier stabbing his mother to death.

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 the 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).[10]

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.[11]


Historical population
Census Pop.
2019 (est.)26,510[3]5.7%
U.S. Decennial Census[12]

2020 census

Pearl racial composition[13]
Race Num. Perc.
White (non-Hispanic) 16,852 62.15%
Black or African American (non-Hispanic) 7,236 26.69%
Native American 38 0.14%
Asian 326 1.2%
Pacific Islander 86 0.32%
Other/Mixed 1,044 3.85%
Hispanic or Latino 1,533 5.65%

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 27,115 people, 10,463 households, and 6,662 families residing in the city.

2000 census

As of the census[4] 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.


Municipal government

Community Center wall featuring the city's seal
Community Center wall featuring the city's seal

The City of Pearl is led by an elected Mayor and Board of Aldermen. Each serves a four-year term.[14] Five of the six aldermen represent single-member districts; the sixth is elected at-large.

Law enforcement within the city limits of Pearl is handled by the Pearl Police Department. The City has no jail facilities and instead utilizes the Rankin County Jail, which is operated by the Rankin County Sheriff's Department.[14]

Fire protection and prevention within the city limits of Pearl is handled by the Pearl Fire Department. The department operates four stations throughout the city.[14]

State representation

The Mississippi Department of Corrections Central Mississippi Correctional Facility is in an unincorporated area in Rankin County, near Pearl.[15][16] In 2007 the Mississippi Highway Patrol opened a driver's license facility across the highway from the prison.[17]

The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality operates the Central Regional Office and the MDEQ Laboratory in unincorporated Rankin County, near Pearl.[18][19]


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 five mainline carriers (American, Delta, Continental, Northwest, and US Airways).

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

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 Interstate 20 in Jackson.

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.


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Colleges and universities

The Rankin County campus of Hinds Community College opened in Pearl on July 1, 1983.[citation needed]

Primary and secondary schools

The City of Pearl's public schools are served by the Pearl Public School District whose Board is appointed by the City of Pearl Board of Aldermen.

*Expansions include anything from adding a new wing or classrooms to adding new administrative offices to adding a press box to the baseball field.

Private schools


Pearl is home to many parks and recreational facilities.

Professional sports

Trustmark Park in Pearl
Trustmark Park in Pearl

Main article: Mississippi Braves

The Mississippi Braves or M-Braves, a Class AA minor league baseball affiliate of the Atlanta Braves moved from Greenville, South Carolina to Pearl before the 2005 season. The M-Braves play in the Southern League. The team had their first game in the brand new Trustmark Park on April 18, 2005, losing to the Montgomery Biscuits.


  1. ^ "The City of Pearl Mississippi". The City of Pearl Mississippi. Retrieved October 10, 2012.
  2. ^ "2019 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 26, 2020.
  3. ^ a b "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". United States Census Bureau. May 24, 2020. Retrieved May 27, 2020.
  4. ^ a b "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  5. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  6. ^ "History of Pearl". Archived from the original on April 26, 2009. Retrieved 2009-06-06.
  7. ^ Lamkin, C.L. (2016). Perceptions of Segregation (M.Sc. thesis). University of Southern Mississippi. p. 97.
  8. ^ Loewen, James (2005). Sundwon Towns: A Hidden Dimension of American Racism. New York, NY: New Press. p. 407. ISBN 978-1-56584-887-0.
  9. ^ "Pearl city, Mississippi".
  10. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
  11. ^ 2008 Annual Drinking Water Quality Report; City of Pearl; PWS ID# 0610017. City of Pearl Water Department. 2008.
  12. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  13. ^ "Explore Census Data". Retrieved 2021-12-16.
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h City of Pearl, Mississippi 2009 Comprehensive Plan; Pages 25-28; Accessed May 06, 2009
  15. ^ "State Prisons Archived 2002-12-06 at the Wayback Machine." Mississippi Department of Corrections. Retrieved on May 21, 2010.
  16. ^ "MDOC QUICK REFERENCE." Mississippi Department of Corrections. Retrieved on May 21, 2010.
  17. ^ "New Driver's License Facility Opens In Pearl." WAPT-TV. April 23, 2007. Retrieved on May 21, 2010.
  18. ^ "Central Regional Office." Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality. Retrieved on September 21, 2010.
  19. ^ "Locations and Driving Directions to MDEQ Offices." Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality. Retrieved on September 21, 2010.