Pearlington, Mississippi

Coordinates: 30°15′0″N 89°36′18″W / 30.25000°N 89.60500°W / 30.25000; -89.60500
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Pearlington, Mississippi
Sign welcoming visitors to Pearlington
Sign welcoming visitors to Pearlington
Location of Pearlington, Mississippi
Location of Pearlington, Mississippi
Pearlington, Mississippi is located in the United States
Pearlington, Mississippi
Pearlington, Mississippi
Location in the United States
Coordinates: 30°15′0″N 89°36′18″W / 30.25000°N 89.60500°W / 30.25000; -89.60500
CountryUnited States
 • Total9.54 sq mi (24.71 km2)
 • Land9.13 sq mi (23.64 km2)
 • Water0.41 sq mi (1.07 km2)
10 ft (3 m)
 • Total1,153
 • Density126.31/sq mi (48.77/km2)
Time zoneUTC-6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP code
Area code228
FIPS code28-55920
GNIS feature ID0675547

Pearlington is a census-designated place (CDP) in Hancock County, Mississippi, United States, on U.S. Route 90, along the Pearl River, at the Louisiana state line. It is part of the GulfportBiloxi, Mississippi Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 1,684 at the 2000 census. On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina made landfall just south of Pearlington.


Pearlington is located at 30°15′0″N 89°36′18″W / 30.25000°N 89.60500°W / 30.25000; -89.60500 (30.249994, -89.604939).[2]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 9.6 square miles (25 km2), of which 9.1 square miles (24 km2) is land and 0.5 square miles (1.3 km2) (4.91%) is water.

Pearlington, Mississippi (map left) is west of Waveland, on U.S. Route 90, along the Pearl River, at the state line with Louisiana.


Historical population
U.S. Decennial Census[3]

2020 census[edit]

Pearlington racial composition[4]
Race Num. Perc.
White (non-Hispanic) 812 70.42%
Black or African American (non-Hispanic) 228 19.77%
Native American 15 1.3%
Asian 6 0.52%
Other/Mixed 62 5.38%
Hispanic or Latino 30 2.6%

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 1,153 people, 371 households, and 215 families residing in the CDP.

2000 census[edit]

As of the census[5] of 2000, there were 1,684 people, 648 households, and 460 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 184.9 inhabitants per square mile (71.4/km2). There were 830 housing units at an average density of 91.1 per square mile (35.2/km2). The racial makeup of the CDP was 77.55% White, 20.43% African American, 0.36% Native American, 0.12% Asian, 0.12% from other races, and 1.43% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.37% of the population.

There were 648 households, out of which 31.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.3% were married couples living together, 11.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.0% were non-families. 23.3% of all households were made up of individuals, and 9.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.60 and the average family size was 3.08.

In the CDP, the population was spread out, with 25.8% under the age of 18, 7.3% from 18 to 24, 24.8% from 25 to 44, 29.1% from 45 to 64, and 12.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females, there were 99.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 103.4 males.

The median income for a household in the CDP was $31,224, and the median income for a family was $36,711. Males had a median income of $32,450 versus $25,948 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $14,040. About 18.2% of families and 17.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 13.0% of those under age 18 and 22.3% of those age 65 or over.


Pearlington is served by the Hancock County School District.

All of Hancock County is in the service area of Pearl River Community College.[6]

John C. Stennis Space Center[edit]

In 1961, Pearlington was one of six communities in Hancock County acquired either wholly (Gainesville, Logtown, Napoleon, Santa Rosa, and Westonia) or in part (a section of northern Pearlington), along with a combined population of 700 families who were completely relocated to provide a 125,000 acres (506 km2) acoustical buffer zone for what was envisioned to be NASA's main rocket testing facility, the John C. Stennis Space Center (SSC). As of 2012, SSC is NASA's largest rocket engine test facility, and also provides testing facilities for more than 30 different state, national, international, public, and private rocket developers and manufacturers.

Remnants of the portion of Pearlington and the other five communities still exist inside the testing buffer zone at SSC, These include such features as now-overgrown city streets and a one-room school house.

Hurricane Katrina[edit]

On August 29, 2005 at 10 am CDT (1500 UTC), Hurricane Katrina made a third landfall on Pearlington. The eye of the hurricane made direct contact with Pearlington, halfway between Biloxi, and New Orleans. Hurricane Katrina came ashore during the high tide of 8:01 am, raising flood waters +2.2 feet more.[7]

Hurricane Katrina damaged over 40 Mississippi libraries, gutting the Pearlington Public Library as a total loss, requiring a complete rebuild.[8]

Almost a year later, a member of C.O.D.R.A. (Coalition of Disaster Relief Agencies) in Pearlington noted that all (but 2) homes, every building, and every vehicle in the town of 1600 was destroyed, and a storm surge travelled 4.5 miles (7.2 km) inland to drown what little was left under 12–20 feet of toxic stew[9] from the saltwater storm tide off the Gulf of Mexico.

The town had nothing but a place to get water, ice and military-issued meals. There was no Red Cross or shelter. The homes were heaps of debris, and trees and nail-studded boards littered the roads. The people - perhaps 600 of the 1,700 residents - were living in tents and under tarps. The elementary school buildings that were still standing were opened as shelters after the water went down.

Residents say that Pearlington is old and generally overlooked. It is a fairly segregated and isolated town. It has no mayor. The only form of government is the town's all volunteer fire department, West Hancock Fire Rescue, and its head, Chief Kim Jones.

After further damage from Hurricane Gustav,[10] Pearlington began to rebuild.[11]

Notable people[edit]


  1. ^ "2020 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 24, 2022.
  2. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. February 12, 2011. Retrieved April 23, 2011.
  3. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2016.
  4. ^ "Explore Census Data". Retrieved December 16, 2021.
  5. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  6. ^ "2014-2016 Catalog" (PDF). Pearl River Community College. Archived (PDF) from the original on August 7, 2015. Retrieved April 13, 2022.
  7. ^ "2005 NOAA Tide Predictions: Waveland" (2005), tide on 29-Aug-2005, NOAA, web: NOAA-tide-tables.
  8. ^ "Hurricane Katrina Related Damages to Public Libraries in Mississippi" (September 2005), Mississippi Library Commission, web:ALA-Katrina Archived 2007-10-31 at the Wayback Machine.
  9. ^ "The Once-Forgotten Town of Pearlington, MS" (journal article), Jon White, Pearlington-CODRA Pearlington Recovery & Resource Center (online journal), C.O.D.R.A (Coalition of Disaster Relief Agencies), August 23, 2006.
  10. ^ "For Some, Repeat of Flooding Tests Their Faith". September 2, 2008. Archived from the original on May 13, 2014. Retrieved May 13, 2014.
  11. ^ Pearlington, MS Rebuild Site. Accessed 28 January 2013.
  12. ^ Richard F. Selcer (2009). Fort Worth Characters. University of North Texas Press. p. 6. ISBN 978-1-57441-274-1.
  13. ^ Rodriguez, Fred H. (June 2009). "Emma Sadler Moss, MD: The First Woman Director of the Department of Pathology at Charity Hospital in New Orleans and the First Woman President of the American Society of Clinical Pathologists". Laboratory Medicine. 40 (6): 377–378. doi:10.1309/LMIO8Q47EDQBNUZD.

External links[edit]