The CREATE Foundation released its annual regional profile for Northeast Mississippi along with county-by-county statistical profiles Friday during the annual State of the Region meeting held in Tupelo.
The profiles show a region and a county experiencing growth but also continuing to face many of the same challenges being confronted by the entire country.
In 2012 Alcorn County saw a significant drop in the overall unemployment rate compared to the previous year. Unemployment in the county fell from 11.9 percent in 2011 to 9.2 percent in 2012, with the overall number of people employed in the county rising from 13,410 in 2011 to 13,980 in 2012. The 2011 number represents the beginning of a slide downward for unemployment in the county from the five-year-high of 12.4 percent that was posted in 2010.
The region saw a similar drop in unemployment over the past year, with the rate falling from 11.3 percent in 2011 down to 9.5 percent for 2012.
Job growth also brought an increase in income for the county over the past year with the average per-person income rising from $27,942 in 2011 to $29,533 in 2012.
Regionally per capita income also rose from $29,074 in 2011 to $31,673 for 2012.
However, the county also saw a slight rise in the number of households living below the poverty line with a total income less than $24,999. In 2011, 40.62 percent of households in Alcorn County fell below that figure while in 2012 the number rose to 43.63 percent.
The county also saw gains over the past two years in educational achievement with the number of people over the age of 25 holding a high school diploma rising to 79.93 percent in 2012, up from 77.32 percent in 2011.
Those numbers remain in line with the figures for the overall region which had 78.15 percent of the population 25-years-old or older holding high school diplomas in 2012.
Health related statistics show a mixture of rises and falls for Alcorn County. The county saw 444 births in 2011 (the latest year for which figures were available), up from 436 in 2010. The five-year-average infant mortality rate fell from 7.9 percent in 2010 to 6.9 percent in 2011. However, the percentage of pregnant women receiving prenatal care in the first trimester also fell from 84.2 percent in 2010 to 80.4 percent in 2011.
Heart disease remained the leading cause of death in the county for 2011 followed by cancer, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and stroke.