**What is living in Oxford like for a young professional 25-35?
Am from the south but have been living up north for school/work and am looking to relocate to be closer to friends/family. Oxford has been a particular point of interest for me, but I had some questions/concerns, esp as someone with no ties to the town or the school.
It seems like, from the way some folks talk about it, that the town is heavily either college kids or retirees.
I was wanting to know what the social scene is like for young professionals in the 25-35 age range. I think I saw somewhere that from 2010 to 2020 on the census, the age range 25-35 for Oxford or Lafayette County expanded a lot relative to other age ranges, but I've not had a chance to visit yet and am worried that the few 25-35s there will be are only gonna be found in college kid-dominated bars or at church.
Also is there any realistic dating scene outside of dating apps? I'm almost entirely committed to never using those**
Not anymore. Years ago it was an area where wealthier families moved to get away from crime in Jackson, but its grown and has a much broader range of people there.
As a young professional, I'd say the Jackson metro area or the Mississippi gulf coast are the best areas with larger population and more diversity. Of course the further south you go, the more you have to worry about hurricane season. And Jackson has its political and crime issues right now.
Jackson/Madison/Clinton/Brandon comprise most of the metro area. Largest metro area in the state with probably 350K in the area, maybe more. Jackson is the capitol city, so government is big there. Tons of great restaurants, lots of younger people working in the area. Recreation is decent with the Reservoir and Natchez Trace nearby. A few good golf courses in the area.
Gulfport/Biloxi/Ocean Springs/Pascagoula are all along the gulf and has been growing quite a lot (for Mississippi) in the last 15+ years. The Casinos are there and there's a nice new minor league baseball stadium too. Lots of people from different cultures and other states have migrated there. Some pretty good food there. Recreation is mostly around the water and of course the casinos. But lots of golf too! The arena has some good music acts come through routinely.
Southhaven/Olive Branch would put you in the metro Memphis area, both a growing, but not sure about the dating scene there. And while I like Memphis, it can be a pretty crime riddled place. Neither place has a unique feel to it like Oxford, the gulf coast, Hattiesburg or Tupelo. Hunting is probably the biggest recreation, but I'm not sure. Others may know more. I haven't been there in about 2 years.
Hattiesburg/Oak Grove/Petal area is very nice, and while The University of Southern Mississippi and William Carey University are there and quite prominent in the community, it's a much larger city than Oxford and not as dominated by the universities like Oxford is. To me Hattiesburg is the most metro feeling city behind Jackson. Plenty of good restaurants, some excellent golf courses and the Okatoma river is close for rafting and fishing.
Tupelo is ok, but seems like a pretty sleepy place to me and again, not sure about the dating scene. I don't think I'd want to be looking for social activities in Tupelo. There is a nice arena there and some good music acts come through on occasion.
Meridian is the other larger city, but I'm not a fan of the town at all. It just seems like a sad place. Every time I'm there, it just seems worse. The downtown area could be special, but it just feels like its crumbling down.
Anyway, that's my take. I'm in sales and have traveled all over the south and Mississippi has always been in my territories. I was born and raised in McComb (do not go there!) lived in Jackson and Ridgeland for 13 years before moving to Covington, LA and now Murfreesboro, TN. I still cover the southern part of the state. So while I'm certainly not an expert on all of these areas, I do have some pretty good knowledge of them. Hope this helps and hope others can fill in some gaps for you. Personally I'd pick Madison or Hattiesburg with Ocean Springs a close third, but that's just me.
Go visit the places you're interested in. Mississippi is a super friendly place!