GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Millennials don't want to live and work in Mississippi after they graduate college, according to a census analysis from governing.com.
The site reports that no other state lost as many millennials as Mississippi did in 2016.
"I mean, I think it's a little disheartening, but I think that that's bringing light to an issue we need to start tackling," said Kaila Moran.
Moran is the director of Coast Young Professionals, and a Gulfport native.
"I came back because I wanted to invest in the community that raised me," said Moran.
Sam Evans is a member of CYP, but works for the United Way and is a native of Tennessee. But, he chose Mississippi to start his career.
"Going to a place like the Mississippi Gulf Coast that isn't on everyone's radar gives you a unique opportunity to interact with a lot of leaders that you may not get in a large city," said Evans.
Both Evans and Moran say they understand why millennials are leaving.
"I think a lot of it is a negative stigma Mississippi has on a national level. A lot of people just don't realize how great the Coast is and how different we are from a lot of other parts of the state," said Evans.
After learning Mississippi leads the U.S. in losing millennials, Moran says CYP decided to launch a campaign called, "Why Mississippi?"
"We know we have a ton of members that are living here, that have really put down roots in the Gulf Coast. We want to know why and share those stories. I think it's really going to put down a positive light. It says that we're leaving, but we want to bring attention to there is a large group who are staying and planning to stay," said Moran.
It's a message they hope will resonate with other millennials. CYP wants all young professionals to use the hash-tag #whymsgulfcoast and share why they chose to live work and stay in Mississippi.