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By the end of the 19th century, African Americans made up two-thirds of the Delta's property owners, but timber and railroad companies acquired much of the land after a financial crisis.Clearing of the land altered the Delta's ecology, increasing the severity of flooding along the Mississippi. A largely rural state with agricultural areas dominated by industrial farms, Mississippi is ranked low or last among the states in such measures as health, educational attainment, and median household income. From the early 19th century to the 1930s, its residents were mostly black, a population that before the American Civil War was composed largely of African American slaves.
Since 2011, Mississippi has been ranked as the most religious state in the country.
Mississippi is bordered to the north by Tennessee, to the east by Alabama, to the south by Louisiana and a narrow coast on the Gulf of Mexico; and to the west, across the Mississippi River, by Louisiana and Arkansas.
The plain is narrow in the south and widens north of Vicksburg.
The region has rich soil, partly made up of silt which had been regularly deposited by the flood waters of the Mississippi River.
Since the 1930s and the Great Migration, the majority of Mississippi's population has been white, albeit with the highest percentage of black residents of any U. Democratic Party whites retained political power through Jim Crow laws.
In the first half of the 20th century, nearly 400,000 rural blacks left the state for work and opportunities in northern and midwestern cities, with another wave of migration around World War II to West Coast cities. Since gaining enforcement of their voting franchise in the late 1960s, most African Americans support Democratic candidates in local, state and national elections.Thus, Clarksdale, in the northwest, gets about 50 inches (about 1,270 mm) of precipitation annually and Biloxi, in the south, about 61 inches (about 1,550 mm).Small amounts of snow fall in northern and central Mississippi; snow is occasional in the southern part of the state.The coastal plain is generally composed of low hills, such as the Pine Hills in the south and the North Central Hills.The Pontotoc Ridge and the Fall Line Hills in the northeast have somewhat higher elevations.In 2010, 37% of Mississippians were African Americans, the highest percentage of African Americans in any U. Conservative whites have shifted to the Republican Party.