Tennessee Population 2018

6,782,564

Situated in the southeastern sector of the United States, Tennessee is only the 36th largest state in the country by area, but it is the 20th most densely populated. The current estimated population for 2018 is 6.78 million, up from 6.34 million at the 2010 Census. Tennessee currently has a growth rate of 0.86%, which ranks 23rd in the country.

The last official population count for the state of Tennessee was taken during the last nationwide census held in 2010. At the time it was confirmed that the state’s population stood at 6,346,105. That number reflects a rise of 11.5% on the statistics from the previous census held in 2000.

It's estimated that the population has grown even further to 6,600,2996 in 2016.

For a breakdown of which Tennessee counties’ population are increasing, and which are decreasing, take a look at our interactive map. Read on for more information about Tennessee's population trends, or head across to our US population summary for more information about demographic changes around the country.

Tennessee Population Density

Although relatively small in terms of numbers, Tennessee provides some interesting statistics in relation to population density. This is a relatively small area that covers 42,143 square miles (109,247 square kilometers) but for every square mile of Tennessee turf, there is an average of 153.9 people, making Tennessee the 20th most densely populated state in the entire country.

You can see the largest cities in Tennessee on the map -- they’re the red blotches. The largest city in Tennessee is Memphis in the far east of the state, home to 655,770 people according to 2015 estimates. The second largest, located in the middle of the state, is Nashville, which had an estimated 654,610 residents. However, Nashville’s metropolitan area population is larger than the Memphis metropolitan area’s -– 1,757,912 people in Nashville compared to 1,341,746 in Memphis.

Tennessee Population History

The Territory South of the Ohio River, formerly part of North Carolina and sometimes known as the Southwest Territory, was created in 1790. It was admitted as the State of Tennessee on June 1, 1796. Both Territory and State had generally the same boundaries as the present State, except that because of erroneous surveys much of the Tennessee-Kentucky boundary was in dispute for some time; it was not finally resurveyed until 1859. Details of the Tennessee-Virginia boundary were not settled until 1901.

Census coverage in 1790 and 1800 was limited to the northeastern part of Tennessee and the region around Nashville, and coverage did not include the whole State until 1830. The 1790 census of the Southwest Territory actually began at the end of July 1791.

Tennessee Population Chart

Tennessee Population History

In 1790, it was reported that the population of Tennessee was just 35,691, but like most areas in this part of the world, a population explosion was just over the horizon. Just ten years later, at the start of the 19th century, numbers had grown by nearly 200% to 105,602.

That was by far the biggest spike in the Tennessee population but sustained increases throughout the 1800s meant that by the time the 20th century rolled in, the number of people who lived in Tennessee had just crept over the two million mark.

The 1900s showed a similar pattern of overall growth and that has continued to the present day where the Tennessee population in 2016 has finally surpassed 6.5 million.

Tennessee Population Growth

Figures relating to the natural growth patterns within Tennessee were released in 2006 and they showed that in the six years since the previous census, numbers had increased by 142,266 due to 493,881 births minus 351,615 deaths, and in addition, there had been a rise of 219,551 due to net migration.

There are no reasons to suggest that healthy rises won’t continue for the foreseeable future. It's projected that Tennessee's population will surpass 7 million by the 2020 Census and pass the 7.5 million mark before 2025.

Population Data via US Census

Tennessee Growth Rate

Tennessee Population Rank

Year Pop % Change
20206,915,7240.97%
20196,849,1440.98%
20186,782,5640.99%
20176,715,9841.00%
20166,649,404Infinity%
20166,548,009-0.65%
20156,590,7260.78%
20146,540,0070.76%
20136,490,7950.62%
20126,450,6320.85%
20116,396,2810.64%
20106,355,8821.11%
20005,689,2831.55%
19904,877,1850.61%
19804,591,1201.58%
19703,923,6870.96%
19603,567,0890.81%
19503,291,7181.22%
19402,915,8411.09%
19302,616,5561.13%
19202,337,8850.68%
19102,184,7890.78%
19002,020,6161.35%
18901,767,5181.37%
18801,542,3592.05%
18701,258,5201.27%
18601,109,8011.02%
18501,002,7171.92%
1840829,2101.98%
1830681,9044.90%
1820422,8134.91%
1810261,7279.50%
1800105,60211.46%
179035,69113.57%
178010,00025.89%
17701,0000.00%

Tennessee Facts

Tennessee Population in 2018Source: By Nathan C. Fortner (User:Nfutvol at en.wikipedia) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], from Wikimedia Commons

  • The first settlement in Tennessee was set up at Boone's Creek in 1769. William Bean built a cabin for his family, and several settlers from North Carolina joined him.
  • Oak Ridge was designated the base for the government's Manhattan Project in the 1940s. The population of Oak Ridge jumped from just 3,000 in 1942 to 75,000 just three years later.
  • When Tennessee first became a state, it already had a population of about 77,000 in 1796.
  • Tennessee is the setting for Graceland, the home of Elvis Presley. The home is the second most visited in the US.
  • The city of Bristol is said to be the birthplace of country music. Tennessee's capital, Nashville, is also known as "Music City" and is thought to be the country music capital of the world.
  • Shelby County has more horses per capita than any other county in the United States.

Tennessee Population Density by County

Shelby County

  • Population936,961
  • Density1227.63 per sq km
  • Growth Since 20100.91%
  • State Rank1
  • % of State13.95%

Tennessee Population Growth Rate by County

Interesting population patterns were observed in Tennessee when comparing data from the 2010 Census to 2015 estimates taken by the Census Bureau. This data showed that population growth by county primarily occurred in the central region of the state. Williamson County had the highest gain in population during the 5-year period at 15%. Surrounding counties Davidson, Rutherford, and Maury all had population increases that exceeded 5%. Montgomery County, located along the northern border of the state, posted a gain of 11.72%, while Sumner directly to its east had a population growth of 9.11%.

Some counties also had population declines, particularly counties found in the northwestern corner of the state. The largest loss was recorded in Hardeman County, located along the southern border, which had a population of 5.34%. Other population losses were less than 5% across the state, including those observed in such counties as Weakley, Haywood, Roane, and Hancock.

Population by Race

Race Population
White5,096,733
Black or African American1,100,577
Two or More Races133,210
Asian105,368
Some Other Race90,065
American Indian and Alaska Native18,757
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander3,299

Race Data via US Census (2016 ACS 5-Year Survey)

Tennessee Population Pyramid 2018

0%2%4%6%8% Male Population0%2%4%6%8% Female Population80757065605550454035302520151050

Data via US Census (2016 ACS 5-Year Survey): Table S0101

Tennessee Median Age

38.5


Total

37.2


Male

39.8


Female

Tennessee Adults

There are 5,055,063 adults, (982,201 of which are seniors) in Tennessee.

Tennessee Age Dependency

60.9

Age Dependency Ratio

24.2

Old Age Dependency Ratio

36.7

Child Dependency Ratio

Tennessee Sex Ratio

Female

3,356,032

51.25%

Male

3,191,977

48.75%

Tennessee Households and Families

Tennessee Renter vs Owner Occupied by Household Type

Tennessee Household Types

Type Owner Renter
Married82%18%
All66.3%33.7%
Male55.4%44.6%
Non Family53.1%46.9%
Female46.5%53.5%

66.3%

Rate of Home Ownership

Tennessee Households by Type

Type Count Average Size Owned
All2,522,2042.5466.3
Married1,222,4763.1382
Non Family847,4511.2453.1
Female337,6293.3846.5
Male114,6483.3155.4

3.11

Average Family Size

2.54

Average Household Size

4.9%

Unmarried (Opposite Sex)

0.3%

Unmarried (Same Sex)

Tennessee Households

Tennessee Education

Tennessee Educational Attainment by Sex (over 25)

Education Attained Count Percentage
Less Than 9th Grade237,6635.37%
9th to 12th Grade382,8858.65%
High School Graduate1,451,60232.79%
Some College931,09321.03%
Associates Degree301,6816.81%
Bachelors Degree712,78116.10%
Graduate Degree409,6359.25%

Tennessee Educational Attainment by Race

Name Total High School Bachelors
White3,461,9493,033,293923,207
Black672,756564,273124,276
Hispanic162,21698,03723,232
Asian70,17559,72836,071
Multiple Races52,31844,01812,860
Other Race46,01123,9645,492
Native American12,7859,9472,482
Islander1,8671,567276

The highest rate of high school graduation is among white people with a rate of 87.62%.

The highest rate of bachelors degrees is among white people with a rate of 51.40%.

Tennessee Earnings by Educational Attainment

Name Average Male Female
Overall$32,454$38,503$27,909
Less Than High School$19,941$22,159$15,028
High School Grad$26,408$31,474$21,183
Some College$31,820$39,312$26,938
Bachelors Degree$45,055$54,977$38,520
Graduate Degree$56,683$74,540$48,910

$32,454

Average Earnings

$38,503

Average Male

$27,909

Average Female

Tennessee Language

Tennessee Language by Age

Tennessee Language

93.16% of Tennessee residents speak only English, while 6.84% speak other languages. The largest non-English language is Spanish, which is spoken by 3.93% of the population.

Tennessee Poverty

Tennessee Poverty by Race

Name Total In Poverty Poverty Rate
White4,773,916655,09213.72%
Black1,057,555297,34028.12%
Hispanic321,045102,69331.99%
Multiple129,46133,71326.04%
Other88,63130,62934.56%
Asian103,02412,82812.45%
Native18,1373,35318.49%
Islander3,15991629.00%

17.23%

Overall Poverty Rate

15.83%

Male Poverty Rate

18.54%

Female Poverty Rate

Poverty in Tennessee

The race most likely to be in poverty in Tennessee is Other, with 34.56% below the poverty level.

The race least likely to be in poverty in Tennessee is Asian, with 12.45% below the poverty level.

The poverty rate among those that worked full-time for the past 12 months was 3.42%. Among those working part-time, it was 20.81%, and for those that did not work, the poverty rate was 24.71%.

Tennessee Poverty Rate by Education

Name Poverty
Less Than High School29.81%
High School15.79%
Some College10.90%
Bachelors or Greater4.36%

Tennessee Poverty Rate by Employment Status and Sex

Name Poverty
Female Unemployed41.37%
Male Unemployed35.83%
Female Employed9.23%
Male Employed6.84%

Tennessee Income

Tennessee Income by Household Type

Name Median Mean
Households$46,574$65,368
Families$57,747$77,112
Married Families$70,066$90,455
Non Families$27,636$39,913

Tennessee Marital Status

Tennessee Marital Status

Marriage Rates

49.3%

Overall Marriage Rate

51.4%

Male Marriage Rate

47.3%

Female Marriage Rate

Tennessee Married by Age and Sex

Tennessee Marriage

The age group where males are most likely to be married is Over65, while the female age group most likely to be married is 35To44.

Tennessee Marital Status by Race

Tennessee Veterans

Tennessee Veterans by War

450,899

Number of Veterans

413,852

Male Veterans

37,047

Female Veterans

Name Veterans
Vietnam169,312
First Gulf War88,840
Second Gulf War68,771
Korea39,858
World War II19,942

Tennessee Veterans by Age

Name Veterans
65 to 74114,398
35 to 54113,322
55 to 6494,795
75+90,546
18 to 3437,838

Tennessee Veterans by Race

Name Veterans % of Total
White378,6169.44%
Black60,5067.52%
Hispanic8,3834.26%
2 or More6,1799.13%
Indian2,08414.30%
Asian1,6102.01%
Other1,5732.85%
Hawaiian33114.56%

Tennessee Veterans by Education

7.92%

Veteran Poverty Rate

30.70%

Veteran Disability Rate

Tennessee Employment Status

Tennessee Employment by Age

61.1%

Labor Force Participation

56.2%

Employment Rate

7.5%

Unemployment Rate

Tennessee Employment by Race

Tennessee Employment by Education

Tennessee Nativity

Tennessee Citizenship Status

Data Sources
  1. Tennessee State Data Center
  2. US Census State Population Estimates - Most recent state estimates from the Census Bureau's Population Estimates Program
  3. US Census County Population Estimates - Most recent county estimates from the Census Bureau's Population Estimates Program
  4. American Community Survey (2009 - 2013)
  5. Census QuickFacts
  6. Historical Populations of States and Counties (1790 - 1990)