Oxford recertified as Hometown Mississippi Retirement city

Published 4:59 pm Wednesday, March 13, 2024

Ten cities across the state, including Oxford, have qualified for a three-year recertification through Welcome Home Mississippi. The WHM program was legislatively mandated in 1994 and is administered by the Mississippi Development Authority.

The purpose of the program is to promote Mississippi communities to attract retirees from across the country. The recertified WHM communities are Aberdeen, Brandon, Clinton, Hattiesburg, Madison, Natchez, Oxford, Picayune, Southaven and Vicksburg.

“The entire state benefits from active communities with thriving local economies, and this recertification recognizes how important this program is to that outcome,” said MDA Executive Director Bill Cork. “By attracting a dynamic and diverse population, these communities are helping drive interest to local businesses and inspire positive word-of-mouth about all that Mississippi offers. I’m proud of their efforts and of the positive effects they continue to produce.”

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Three other communities – Starkville, New Albany and Cleveland – are on staggered recertification schedules.

“The attraction of retirees and families to communities in the state is a definite economic boon to Mississippi,” said MDA Deputy Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer PJ Waldrop. “Retirees want to live in vibrant areas with convenient access to recreation, continuing education opportunities and outstanding health care.

“Additionally, they give back through volunteerism in their adopted communities. These 10 WHM cities have demonstrated they have what retirees are seeking as they look for optimal locations to spend their retirement years.”

A study released in 2021 and conducted by Alan Barefield, Ph.D., and Kalyn Coatney, Ph.D., of the Department of Agricultural Economics at Mississippi State University, revealed that in 2019, the subject year of the study, the economic impact of Mississippi’s Hometown Retirement Program was significant, especially to the communities engaged in the program. Incoming retirees injected $25.9 million into the state’s economy, and more than 200 jobs were created.

The economists wrote, “It is estimated that 434 sectors of the of the state’s economy experienced increased output as a result of the Hometown Retirement Program from 2011 to 2019.”

For more information, visit visitmississippi.org/welcomehome or contact WHM Manager Ellen Bourdeaux.

The Mississippi Development Authority is the state’s lead economic and community development agency. MDA focuses on new business recruitment, existing business expansion, workforce training and tourism promotion. For more information, visit MDA’s website.