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Southaven, Mississippi
From top to bottom and left to right: Southaven city hall, Southaven water tower, Baptist Memorial Hospital-DeSoto, Snowden Grove Park, Lander's Center, and Southaven Towne Center
From top to bottom and left to right: Southaven city hall, Southaven water tower, Baptist Memorial Hospital-DeSoto, Snowden Grove Park, Lander's Center, and Southaven Towne Center
Official seal of Southaven, Mississippi
Nickname(s): The Top of Mississippi
Location of Southaven in Mississippi
Location of Southaven in Mississippi
Country United States
State Mississippi
County DeSoto
Incorporated April 15, 1980
Founded by Kemmons Wilson
 • Total 41.5 sq mi (107.6 km2)
 • Land 41.2 sq mi (106.8 km2)
 • Water 0.3 sq mi (0.7 km2)
Elevation 308 ft (94 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 48,982
 • Density 1,188/sq mi (458.5/km2)
Time zone CST (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP codes 38671-38672
Area code(s) 662
FIPS code 28-69280
GNIS feature ID 0690592

Southaven is a city in DeSoto County, Mississippi, United States. It is a suburb of Memphis, Tennessee, and a principal city in the Memphis metropolitan area. The 2010 census reported a population of 48,982, making Southaven the third largest city in Mississippi. Southaven is traversed from north to south by the I-55/I-69 freeway. The city's name derives from the fact that Southaven is located south of Whitehaven, a neighborhood in Memphis.


Southaven began as a village when Memphis homebuilder Kemmons Wilson (founder of Holiday Inn) wished to develop a few residential subdivisions featuring small starter homes just across the Mississippi border from Whitehaven, Tennessee, an unincorporated suburb of Memphis. Whitehaven was eventually annexed by Memphis. Officially incorporated in 1980, Southaven is one of the fastest growing cities in the southeastern United States. In just 20 years, Southaven doubled its land area, while its population tripled. Like the rest of DeSoto County, Southaven's growth has been attributed mostly to the white flight from Memphis, though the percentage of blacks has risen sharply since the 2000 census resulting from black flight.

The construction of Interstate 55 through Southaven in the 1970s helped to promote growth and make for easier access to the city from Memphis, Jackson, St. Louis, and Chicago. Interstate 69, which will eventually run from Canada to Mexico, was cosigned with I-55 in Southaven in 2007.

In 1988, Baptist Hospital-DeSoto opened in Southaven as a two-story hospital. In 2001, Baptist DeSoto started an expansion project, nearly doubling the size of the hospital. In 2002, Baptist Hospital-DeSoto added an Outpatient Diagnostic Center and a Women's Center. In November 2006, Baptist DeSoto opened an eleven-story hospital tower that added 140 beds to the facility, allowing it to offer all private rooms. In addition, the new hospital tower added a new and expanded Emergency Department, more operating suites and space for future additions. It is the first high-rise building constructed in DeSoto County.

The exponential growth of Memphis International Airport (2 miles north of the city limits) in the 1980s led to increased air traffic over Southaven. The city continues to see large amounts of air traffic from Memphis International Airport, as flight paths to both north/south runways lead directly over the city.

October 2005 saw the opening of Southaven's first large-scale shopping mall, Southaven Towne Center, which is located just south of Goodman Road between I-55/I-69 and Airways Boulevard. The mall is open-air with various stores and restaurants, including J.C. Penney, Dillard's, Gordmans, Sportsman's Warehouse, hhgregg, and Bed, Bath, and Beyond.

Numerous buildings in Southaven were damaged on February 5, 2008, when an EF-2 tornado touched down during the so-called Super Tuesday tornado outbreak. Memphis television station WREG broadcast live images of the tornado as it moved through the city and into Memphis. No fatalities were reported in Southaven.

By February 2011, Southaven had become the third largest city in Mississippi.

In the late 2000s, an outlet mall was proposed for Southaven. Tanger Outlets Southaven began construction in January 2015 and opened in November 2015. The mall, located near I-55/I-69 and Church Road, includes 70 outlet stores and outparcels of restaurants.

Southaven was the boyhood home of noted novelist John Grisham, who also practiced law there for almost a decade, and of singer and songwriter Cory Branan.


The center of the city is approximately 14 miles (23 km) south of downtown Memphis and 6 miles (10 km) southwest of Memphis International Airport.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Southaven has a total area of 41.5 square miles (107.6 km2), of which 41.2 square miles (106.8 km2) is land and 0.3 square miles (0.7 km2), or 0.68%, is water.


Southaven experiences a humid subtropical climate, with average annual precipitation of nearly 55 inches (1,400 mm), which is well distributed throughout the year. April is the wettest month of the year, and August the driest. The average daily temperature is 40 °F (4 °C) in January and 82 °F (28 °C) in July.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1970 8,931
1980 16,071 79.9%
1990 18,705 16.4%
2000 28,977 54.9%
2010 48,982 69.0%
Est. 2015 52,589 7.4%
U.S. Decennial Census

Households and families

As of the census of 2010, there were 48,982 people and 13,125 families residing in the city. The population density was 1499.9 people per square mile (580/km²). There were 19,101 housing units at an average density of 339.3 per square mile (131.0/km²).

There were 19,904 households out of which 37.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.9% were married couples living together, 16.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 27.0% were non-families. 21.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 4.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.71 and the average family size was 3.16.

Racial makeup

The racial makeup of the city was 71.0% White, 22.2% African American, 0.3% Native American, 1.7% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 3.0% from other races, 1.7% from two or more races, and Hispanic or Latino, 5.0% of the population.


In the city, the population was spread out with 30.8% under the age of 20, 13.5% from 20 to 30, 15.8 from 30 to 40, 13.8% from 40 to 50, 11.1% from 50 to 60, and 14.9% who were 60 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years.


The median income for a household in the city was $46,691, and the median income for a family was $52,333. Males had a median income of $36,671 versus $26,557 for females. The per capita income for the city was $20,759. About 5.3% of families and 6.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 8.2% of those under age 18 and 6.8% of those age 65 or over.


  • Landers Center
  • Southaven Towne Center
  • Tanger Outlets Southaven
  • Snowden Grove Park
  • BankPlus Amphitheater at Snowden Grove
  • Southaven Arena
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