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Laurel, Mississippi
Lauren Rogers Museum of Art in Laurel
Official logo of Laurel, Mississippi
City logo
"The City Beautiful"
Location of Laurel in Mississippi
Location of Laurel in Mississippi
Laurel, Mississippi is located in the United States
Laurel, Mississippi
Laurel, Mississippi
Location in the United States
Laurel, Mississippi is located in Mississippi
Laurel, Mississippi
Laurel, Mississippi
Location in Mississippi
Country United States
State Mississippi
County Jones
Incorporated 1882
 • Type Mayor-Council
 • Total 16.54 sq mi (42.83 km2)
 • Land 16.24 sq mi (42.05 km2)
 • Water 0.30 sq mi (0.78 km2)
269 ft (82 m)
 • Total 17,161
 • Density 1,129.47/sq mi (436.09/km2)
Time zone UTC−6 (CST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−5 (CDT)
ZIP codes
Area code(s) 601, 769
FIPS code 28-39640
GNIS feature ID 0672321

Laurel is a city in and the second county seat of Jones County, Mississippi, United States. As of the 2020 census, the city had a population of 17,161. It is located northeast of Ellisville, the first county seat, which contains the first county courthouse. Laurel has the second county courthouse as there are two judicial districts in Jones County. Laurel is the headquarters of the Jones County Sheriff's Department, which administers in the county. Laurel is the principal city of a micropolitan statistical area named for it. Major employers include Howard Industries, Sanderson Farms, Masonite International, Family Health Center, Howse Implement, Thermo-Kool, and South Central Regional Medical Center. Laurel is home to the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art, Mississippi's oldest art museum, established by the family of Lauren Eastman Rogers.


Oak Street, Laurel, Mississippi (circa 1900)
Oak Street, circa 1900

Laurel was founded in 1882 as a lumber town, as the industry harvested yellow pine forests in the region. The city was named for laurel thickets near the original town site.

By the turn of the century, the city became a site of cotton mills, to process and manufacture textiles from the state's commodity crop of cotton. The city population grew markedly during the early 20th century, as rural people were attracted to manufacturing jobs. Mechanization of agriculture reduced the number of farming jobs. The city reached its peak of population in 1960, and has declined about one third since then.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 15.8 square miles (41 km2), of which 15.4 square miles (40 km2) is land and 0.3 square miles (0.78 km2), or 2.09%, is water.


The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Laurel has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1900 3,193
1910 8,465 165.1%
1920 13,037 54.0%
1930 18,017 38.2%
1940 20,598 14.3%
1950 25,038 21.6%
1960 27,889 11.4%
1970 24,145 −13.4%
1980 21,897 −9.3%
1990 18,827 −14.0%
2000 18,393 −2.3%
2010 18,540 0.8%
2020 17,161 −7.4%
U.S. Decennial Census

2020 census

Laurel racial composition
Race Num. Perc.
White (non-Hispanic) 4,465 26.02%
Black or African American (non-Hispanic) 10,642 62.01%
Native American 35 0.2%
Asian 109 0.64%
Pacific Islander 2 0.01%
Other/Mixed 453 2.64%
Hispanic or Latino 1,455 8.48%

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 17,161 people, 6,825 households, and 4,278 families residing in the city.

2010 census

As of the 2010 census, Laurel had a population of 18,540. The racial and ethnic composition of the population was 61.3% African-American, 29.8% non-Hispanic white, 7.7% Hispanic or Latino, 0.7% Asian, 0.1% Native American, and 1.0% reporting two or more races.


Public schools

Almost all of Laurel is within the Laurel School District. Small portions are in the Jones County School District.

Private schools

  • Laurel Christian School
  • Laurel Christian High School
  • St. John's Day School (affiliated with the Episcopal Church)


Amtrak's Crescent train connects Laurel with the cities of New York City; Philadelphia; Baltimore; Washington, D.C.; Charlotte, North Carolina; Atlanta; Birmingham, Alabama; and New Orleans. The Laurel Amtrak station is situated at 230 North Maple Street.

Hattiesburg–Laurel Regional Airport is located in an unincorporated area in Jones County near Moselle, 21 miles (34 km) southwest of Laurel.

Major highways
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