Oxford, Mississippi

Best Places to Retire in Mississippi


Oxford (population approximately 12,000) is located in the rolling hills of north central Mississippi, 80 miles southeast of Memphis, Tenn. The city was incorporated in 1837 and named Oxford as an encouragement to the Legislature to locate the first state university here – which it did. The University of Mississippi, established in 1848, is today a major university with a student population roughly equal to the population of the city. With only limited land available inside the city limits, residential build-up is now largely beyond the town boundaries. http://www.oxfordms.com/ Much of Oxford was burned during the Civil War. The university closed and many of its students never returned. The area suffered hard times during the post-war reconstruction era and there was a long period of economic stagnation. There was a crisis at the university in 1962 as a result of resisting desegregation.

The community emerged stronger from these hard times and both Oxford and the university flourished in the 1980s and 1990s. Oxford was discovered as a quiet, attractive, and appealing small community with an active cultural environment. As the community began to grow, the hospital was enhanced, the infrastructure (fire and police protection) improved, as did the education system, and there was a low crime rate. All of the elements began to attract still more growth. Oxford began to be recognized in the 1990s as “one of America’s great places,” and “one of America’s top six university towns” in nationally published periodicals.

Historic Courthouse Square is the focus of the downtown area, surrounded by a number of fine restaurants, antique and clothing boutiques, a bookstore, art galleries and commercial establishments. There are tree-lined streets encircling the downtown, and the beautiful “Ole Miss” campus is less than half a mile away.

The presence of the university brings a great many benefits and amenities to this small town. They include programs and educational opportunities, major facilities to host cultural, musical, and sporting events, and other resources such as libraries, research capabilities, talented individuals with vision and creativity, and more. Additionally, the university helps to attract and support new services and amenities, such as good restaurants, lodging, shopping, and visual and performing arts – that otherwise could not thrive in a small community.

This combination of an attractive, well-managed small town with a major university, good health care and a very reasonable cost of living, makes Oxford a very attractive place to retire. (The cost of living in Mississippi is approximately 10 percent below the national average.)

Arts & Culture

The Yoknapatawpha Arts Council (YAC) is the official arts agency for the city of Oxford, and Lafayette County. http://www.oxfordarts.com/

Gertrude C. Ford Performing Arts Center is a 1,176-seat state-of-the-art theater on the Ole Miss campus that serves the university’s programs, the community, and special guest performances. http://fordcenter.blogspot.com/

University Theatre produces plays and the community group, Theatre Oxford, offers several productions each year. Rowan Oak is the home of William Faulkner, the Nobel Prize winning author. http://www.mcsr.olemiss.edu/~egjbp/faulkner/rowanoak.html

The Center for the Study of Southern Culture –http://www.olemiss.edu/depts/south/index.html

J. D. Williams Library at the University of Mississippi –http://www.olemiss.edu/depts/general_library/

The University of Mississippi Museum features Greek and Roman antiques, 19th Century scientific instruments, the Theora Hamblett collection, a Southern folk art collection and some temporary exhibits. http://www.olemiss.edu/depts/u_museum/

Ole Miss Blues Archives (University of Mississippi) is the world’s most extensive collection of blues recordings and related materials. (662) 915-7753 Southside Gallery is located on Courthouse Square. http://www.olemiss.edu/depts/general_library/archives/blues/


Oxford Parks & Recreation Department manages facilities and parks which include ball fields, picnic and playground areas, tennis courts, basketball courts, walking, jogging and bicycle trails, and a 7.6-acre stocked fishing pond. Other facilities include the Oxford Activity Center with two indoor basketball courts, the John Leslie Tennis Complex – with eight lighted courts, and the Oxford swimming pool, which is an Olympic-size pool with a picnic area. http://www.oxfordparkcommission.com/

The Oxford Parks Commission offers five sports for adults: softball, soccer, basketball, flag football, and Whiffleball. There are over 800 men and women participants. (The rules for participants state that anyone using foul language or verbal harassment will be dealt with by ejection from the game, and suspension for the next game. A second offense brings expulsion from the league,)http://www.oxfordparkcommission.com/

Ole Miss Golf Club is rated among the top 10 best public courses in the state. (662) 234-4816 Grand Oaks Golf Course is a relatively short 6,211-yard layout. (662) 232-8663 Ole Miss is a member of the Southeast Conference (SEC) and brings big-time college sports to Oxford. Ole Miss football:http://www.olemissfans.com/football.html and Ole Miss basketball:http://www.olemissfans.com/basketball.html


The University of Mississippi, with an enrollment of about 14,500, is the state’s flagship university. Established in 1848 with 80 students, today Ole Miss is a major university. http://www.olemiss.edu/

Senior Programs

The University of Mississippi offers a wide range of opportunities as part of its Outreach and Continuing Education program. Included as topics such as Email – Internet classes, Beginning Photography, Oil Painting, Beginning Stained Glass Workshop, and much more. http://www.olemiss.edu/depts/south/register/winter04/sixteen.htm

Ole Miss is a participant in the Interhostel program (for people who are 50+), which is based at the University of New Hampshire. The organization schedules group travel to sites all over the world. As one of these designated sites, the University of Mississippi offers opportunities to learn more about Southern culture, art, history, and music. http://www.outreach.olemiss.edu/interhostel/


Baptist Memorial Hospital-North Mississippi is a 204-bed acute care facility serving the northern third of Mississippi. It has more than 70 medical and surgical specialist in over 30 specialty areas. http://www.baptistonline.org/facilities/oxford/


University-Oxford Airport has a 4,700-foot runway. http://www.travel-on-the-web.com/cheapflights/town.php/Oxford/UOX.html

Memphis International Airport, Memphis, Tenn. – http://www.memphisairport.org/


Lafayette County averages 86 days with temperatures above 90 degrees, and 53 days with temperatures below freezing. Average rainfall is 54.8 inches per year. http://www.wunderground.com/US/MS/Oxford.html


The Oxford Eagle – http://www.oxfordeagle.com/

The Daily Mississippian is the University of Mississippi’s student-produced online newspaper. http://www.thedmonline.com/

Property Taxes


State Taxes


Chamber of Commerce


State Aging Agency



Tupelo, MS – 46 miles
Cleveland, MS – 99 miles
Jackson, MS – 171 miles
Memphis, TN – 80 miles
Birmingham, AL – 190 miles
Little Rock, AR – 200 miles
Atlanta, GA – 322 miles

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