Knoxville, Tennessee Population 2020
Knoxville is a city in Tennessee and the third-largest city in the state. The city was geographically isolated for much of its early history, although it quickly grew after the Civil War and is now one of the largest cities in the Appalachian area.
Knoxville has an estimated population of 187,500, 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 Poverty and Health Statistics
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 was first inhabited during the Woodland period (c. 1000 BC to AD 1000), with an ancient 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](https://founders.archives.gov/documents/ Washington/05-09-02-0100) 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.
The 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 relatively 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 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.
According to the most recent ACS, the racial composition of Knoxville was:
- White: 75.25%
- Black or African American: 17.55%
- Two or more races: 2.99%
- Other race: 1.84%
- Asian: 1.82%
- Native American: 0.47%
- Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander: 0.08%