Knoxville Population 2017

Knoxville has an estimated population of 184,000, up from 178,900 at the 2010 census. Knoxville is the principal city of the Knoxville Metropolitan Statistical Area with an estimated population of 853,000, which is part of the Knoxville-Sevierville-La Follette Combined Statistical Area, with a population of 1.1 million. Knoxville has a population density of about 1,815 people per square mile.

Knoxville Demographics

According to the 2010 census, the racial and ethnic composition of Knoxville was:

  • White: 76.1%
  • Black: 17.1%
  • Asian: 1.6%
  • Native American: 0.4%
  • Pacific Islander: 0.2%
  • More than one race: 2.5%
  • Hispanic or Latino of any race: 4.6%

Knoxville has a poverty rate of 25%, well above the Tennessee average (16.1%) and the national average (15.1%). A 2009 study found that Knoxville residents have a life expectancy of 76 years. The study also found that 22% of adults smoked, 11% were binge drinkers, 14% did not have health insurance and 28% were obese.

Knoxville Population Growth

Knoxville experienced its first population decline in the 1950s, when it lost more than 10% of its population, although it more than made up the loss by 1970, posting a 56% increase. Today, Knoxville is among the ten fastest-growing U.S. cities with the best employment outlook in the country. Knoxville also has a low cost of living that is 80% of the national average along with low crime, which is attracting young college graduates.

Knoxville History

Knoxville was first inhabited during the Woodland period (c. 1000 BC to AD 1000), with a very old burial mound still present on the University of Tennessee campus. The Cherokee people were dominant in the area by the 18th century due to wars with the Shawnee and Creek. The first European-American explorers arrived in the area at the end of the 17th century, although there is evidence Hernando de Soto visited Bussell Island in 1540.

The end of the French and Indian War and the American Revolution led to an increase in the Euro-American population west of the Appalachians, with establishments in the 1780s. In 1785, Congress ordered illegal settlers to leave the area, but it was not successful. More settlers arrived and tensions between them and the Cherokee grew.

White's Fort was constructed near the mouth of the First Creek in 1786 by James White, a Revolutionary War officer, and it eventually grew into a town. The Treaty of Holston was signed at the fort in 1791 to establish boundaries and resolve issues with the Cherokee. White's Fort was named as the new capital of the area after Revolutionary War general Henry Knox.

Knoxville was the capital of the Southwest Territory and then Tennessee after it became a state in 1796, although the capital was moved to Murfreesboro in 1817. The early history of the city was filled with theft, murder and hostility from Cherokee attacks, but it eventually became a merchandising center in the region and its population doubled in the 1850s when the railroad arrived.

Anti-slavery and anti-secession sentiment was high in the area leading up to the Civil War, and East Tennessee and the greater Knox County voted against secession in 1861. The same year, however, Tennessee joined the Confederacy and martial law was instituted. The Union Army captured Knoxville and the Confederate army was unsuccessful in its attempt to recapture the city.

Knoxville recovered fairly quickly after the war. In 1869, federal wartime restitution funding expanded the college, which was occupied by both armies during the war, and it changed its name to the University of Tennessee a decade later. Many immigrants came to the city during its manufacturing boom, and its population grew from 5,000 in 1860 to more than 32,600 by 1900.

Knoxville Facts

  • Knoxville was the first capital of Tennessee.
  • According to a 2006 study by the Economic Research Institute, Knoxville is the most affordable U.S. city for new college graduates based on typical salary and cost of living.
  • Knoxville is the base for Jewelry Television, a home shopping channel, as well as Scripps Networks Interactive, which operates HGTV, DIY Network, Food Network and Travel Channel.
  • Quentin Tarantino and Johnny Knoxville were both born in Knoxville.
  • In 2013, there was not a single day of the year that remained at or below freezing. This has also happened in 1990, 1921 and 1915.
  • Mountain Dew was first marketed in Knoxville in 1948 as a whiskey mixer.
Year Population Change
2015 185,291 3.60%
2010 178,874 2.90%
2000 173,890 5.30%
1990 165,121 -5.70%
1980 175,045 0.30%
1970 174,587 56.10%
1960 111,827 -10.40%
1950 124,769 11.80%
1940 111,580 5.50%
1930 105,802 36.00%
1920 77,818 114.10%
1910 36,346 11.40%
1900 32,637 44.80%
1890 22,535 132.50%
1880 9,693 11.60%
1870 8,682 117.00%
1860 4,000 90.50%
1850 2,100 0.00%

Knoxville Population in 2017 Source: Nathan C. Fortner (User:Nfutvol at en.wikipedia)

Knoxville Race Data

Race Population Percentage
White 138,846 76.39%
Black or African American 31,782 17.49%
American Indian and Alaska Native 619 0.34%
Asian 3,086 1.70%
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander 79 0.04%
Some Other Race 2,743 1.51%
Two or More Races 4,604 2.53%

Population Pyramid

Knoxville Housing Indicators

Indicator Value
Total Housing Units 89,955
Owner-Occupied Units 37,772
Renter-Occupied Units 43,301
Median Home Value $118,300
Median Rent $752
Vacancy Rate 9.9%
Houses With Mortgage 23,801
Houses Without Mortgage 13,971
Median Number of Rooms (per House) 4.9

This chart shows the employment and labor force participation rates in Knoxville for residents over 16 years of age. The 2015 unemployment rate is 4.8% and the labor force participation rate is 62.2%.

Knoxville Family/Household Indicators

Indicator Value
Average Household Size 2.14
Average Family Size 2.94
Married Couple Families 25,084
Male Householder (no wife) Families 3,489
Female Householder (no husband) Families 10,513
Non Family Households
Unmarried Partner Households (Opposite Sex) 6%
Unmarried Partner Households (Same Sex) 0.6%