Leland is a city in Washington County, Mississippi. The population was 4,790 at the 2008 census.
The town is located in the heart of the Mississippi Delta on the banks of Deer Creek, which is decorated each Christmas season with floats that bring visitors from afar to view the colorful displays.
Farming is the basis of the local economy. Mississippi State University and the federal government maintain an agriculture research station at Stoneville on Leland’s outskirts. Cotton, soybeans and catfish are the leading crops.
Leland is in the heart of blues country and has produced a number of national and regionally famous blues musicians. Highway 61, mentioned in numerous blues recordings, runs through the town and gives its name to the community’s blues museum. Leland is the burial place of the folk artist and blues musician James “Son” Thomas, who lived for many years along the railroad tracks. Thomas is buried beneath a gravestone donated by musician John Fogerty of Creedence Clearwater Revival.
Blues musician Johnny Winter was born in Leland on Feb. 23, 1944, to an Army officer and his wife. Winter is commemorated on a plaque in the community that is part of the Mississippi Blues Trail.
The community is the birthplace of Kermit the Frog, a Muppet created by Jim Henson, who was born in nearby Greenville. The city has a museum along the banks of Deer Creek celebrating Henson’s accomplishments.
Leland is located at 33°24′18″N 90°53′50″W (33.405118, -90.897194).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 2.1 square miles (5.4 km2), of which 2.1 square miles (5.4 km2) is land and 0.04 square miles (0.10 km2) (1.44%) is water.
As of the census of 2000, there were 5,502 people, 1,943 households, and 1,414 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,670.2 people per square mile (1,031.2/km²). There were 2,095 housing units at an average density of 1,016.7 per square mile (392.7/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 32.01% White, 67.01% African American, 0.16% Native American, 0.13% Asian, 0.04% from other races, and 0.65% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.75% of the population.
There were 1,943 households out of which 36.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 38.9% were married couples living together, 27.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 27.2% were non-families. 24.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.82 and the average family size was 3.35.
In the city the population was spread out with 31.9% under the age of 18, 10.6% from 18 to 24, 26.3% from 25 to 44, 18.8% from 45 to 64, and 12.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 30 years. For every 100 females there were 88.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 78.6 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $25,678, and the median income for a family was $28,926. Males had a median income of $26,184 versus $20,693 for females. The per capita income for the city was $11,681. About 24.0% of families and 27.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 36.1% of those under age 18 and 28.3% of those age 65 or over.
The City of Leland is served by the Leland School District. Leland High School is the sole high school.