Memphis, Tennessee Population 2019

Memphis is located in the southwest corner of Tennessee, and it is the county seat of Shelby County and the largest city in Tennessee. Memphis is also the third largest city in the Southeastern U.S., the largest city on the Mississippi and the 20th largest city in the United States. The estimated 2014 population of Memphis is 670,000.

Memphis has an estimated population of 670,000, up from 652,000 in 2011. The greater Memphis metropolitan area, which includes counties in Arkansas and Mississippi, has an estimated population of 1.33 million, which makes Memphis the second-largest metro area in Tennessee after Nashville. This metropolitan statistical area (MSA) includes the Tennessee counties of Fayette, Tipton, and Shelby, along with the Mississippi counties of Tate, Marshall, DeSoto and Tunica, and Crittenden County, Arkansas. The overall metro area has a higher percentage of white residents and a higher per capita income than the city proper.

Memphis Demographics

The racial composition of Memphis according to recent census data is:

  • Black or African American: 62.6%
  • White: 31.7% (non-Hispanic: 29.5%)
  • Asian: 1.7%
  • Native American: 0.2%
  • Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander: 0.1%
  • Other race: 2.7%
  • Two or more races: 1.2%
  • Hispanic or Latino of any race: 5.0%

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Memphis is the poorest city in the United States with a median household income of $32,285, or $37,767 for a family. 17% of families and almost 21% of the population lives below the poverty line, including 30% of people under the age of 18.

Memphis History

Memphis is located on a large bluff rising from the Mississippi River, which means Native Americans quickly settled it. The Mississippi Culture first settled it. Europeans first explored the area in the 16th century, first by the Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto and then French explorers. The Spanish governor of Louisiana acquired land in the area at the end of the 18th century and built a fort, although the territory was ceded eventually to the United States. It then became the westernmost point of the new state of Tennessee in 1796.

Memphis was not laid out as a city until 1819, at which point it was named after the ancient Egyptian capital on the Nile. It quickly became a transportation center because it is located in a flood-free area high above the river, while the outlying areas became cotton plantations.

Many African-American slaves were brought to the area, and Memphis transformed into a slave market. Around one million slaves were transported to plantations in the area in a forced migration in the 1800s, many along the Ohio and Mississippi rivers. Increased immigration in the 1840s through 1860s caused the Irish population to increase from 9.9% to 23.2% in 1860.

Tennessee seceded from the Union in 1861 and Memphis became a Confederate stronghold until the Union captured it Army and used as a supply base. This attracted many escaped slaves to the city, and the population rose from 3,000 in 1860 to 20,000 just five years later. This led to growing tension between Irish policeman and black Union soldiers after the war, culminating in the Memphis Riot in 1866, with the population plummeting to 15,000 by 1870. In the next decade, the population was further decimated by an outbreak of yellow fever, which caused the Memphis population to fall by 75%. This led the city to lose its city charter for five years.

The city quickly began to grow again, with a population that rose 92% from 1880 to 1890.

Memphis Population Growth

Population growth in the Memphis metropolitan area is currently stagnant, according to recent Census estimates. The nine-county metro area has grown just 0.6% per year, while Metro Nashville is growing three times faster.

Year Population Growth Annual Growth Rate
2017652,236-1,133-0.17%
2016653,369-1,384-0.21%
2015654,753-1,035-0.16%
2014655,788-1,792-0.27%
2013657,580-1,375-0.21%
2012658,9553,5480.54%
2011655,4073,0760.47%
2010652,3312,2310.03%
2000650,10039,7630.63%
1990610,337-35,837-0.57%
1980646,17422,1860.35%
1970623,988126,4642.29%
1960497,524101,5242.31%
1950396,000103,0583.06%
1940292,94239,7991.47%
1930253,14390,7924.54%
1920162,35131,2462.16%
1910131,10528,7852.51%
1900102,32037,8254.72%
189064,49530,9036.74%
188033,592-6,634-1.79%
187040,22617,6035.92%
186022,62313,7829.85%
18508,8410.00%

Memphis Population in 2018Source: By Thomas R Machnitzki (thomas@machnitzki.com) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], from Wikimedia Commons

Population by Race

Race Population
Black or African American418,444
White191,242
Some Other Race22,141
Two or More Races10,786
Asian10,728
American Indian and Alaska Native1,259
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander123

Data via US Census (2017 ACS 5-Year Survey): Table B03002

Memphis Population Pyramid 2019

Data via US Census (2017 ACS 5-Year Survey): Table S0101

Memphis Median Age

33.7


Total

31.9


Male

35.3


Female

Memphis Adults

There are 489,570 adults, (77,297 of whom are seniors) in Memphis.

Memphis Age Dependency

58.8

Age Dependency Ratio

18.7

Old Age Dependency Ratio

40.1

Child Dependency Ratio

Memphis Sex Ratio

Female

343,590

52.48%

Male

311,133

47.52%

Memphis Households and Families

Memphis Renter vs Owner Occupied by Household Type

Data via US Census (2017 ACS 5-Year Survey): Table S1101

Memphis Household Types

Type Owner Renter
Married71.2%28.8%
All47.5%52.5%
Male39.7%60.3%
Non Family39.1%60.9%
Female35.1%64.9%

47.5%

Rate of Home Ownership

Memphis Households by Type

Type Count Average Size Owned
All250,2592.5547.5
Non Family105,9961.2339.1
Married72,3123.3171.2
Female58,8563.7835.1
Male13,0953.5339.7

3.42

Average Family Size

2.55

Average Household Size

5.9%

Unmarried (Opposite Sex)

0.5%

Unmarried (Same Sex)

Memphis Households

Memphis Education

Memphis Educational Attainment by Sex (over 25)

Education Attained Count Percentage
Less Than 9th Grade22,4545.37%
9th to 12th Grade42,26910.11%
High School Graduate124,42529.75%
Some College98,81723.63%
Associates Degree23,8495.70%
Bachelors Degree64,27315.37%
Graduate Degree42,16710.08%

Memphis Educational Attainment by Race

Name Total High School Bachelors
Black254,779211,26739,636
White129,709122,04958,650
Hispanic21,7149,2661,987
Other Race10,1373,476510
Asian7,8477,0314,436
Multiple Races4,4993,8851,520
Native American867564227
Islander947616

The highest rate of high school graduation is among white people with a rate of 94.09%.

The highest rate of bachelors degrees is among white people with a rate of 56.53%.

Memphis Earnings by Educational Attainment

Name Average Male Female
Overall$30,257$32,292$27,315
Less Than High School$19,056$21,213$14,512
High School Grad$23,592$25,671$21,569
Some College$28,838$34,267$26,279
Bachelors Degree$43,159$50,551$38,857
Graduate Degree$59,028$71,609$52,279

$30,257

Average Earnings

$32,292

Average Male

$27,315

Average Female

Memphis Language

Memphis Language by Age

Memphis Language

90.48% of Memphis residents speak only English, while 9.52% speak other languages. The non-English language spoken by the largest group is Spanish, which is spoken by 6.20% of the population.

Memphis Poverty

Memphis Poverty by Race

Name Total In Poverty Poverty Rate
Black408,178129,76331.79%
White166,20920,02012.05%
Hispanic44,94218,24340.59%
Other21,7669,32442.84%
Multiple10,6302,87327.03%
Asian10,5571,64515.58%
Native1,19518915.82%
Islander12343.25%

26.93%

Overall Poverty Rate

25.47%

Male Poverty Rate

28.22%

Female Poverty Rate

Poverty in Memphis

The race most likely to be in poverty in Memphis is Other, with 42.84% below the poverty level.

The race least likely to be in poverty in Memphis is Islander, with 3.25% below the poverty level.

The poverty rate among those that worked full-time for the past 12 months was 6.01%. Among those working part-time, it was 27.49%, and for those that did not work, the poverty rate was 35.86%.

Memphis Poverty Rate by Education

Name Poverty
Less Than High School36.52%
High School24.45%
Some College16.37%
Bachelors or Greater6.21%

Memphis Poverty Rate by Employment Status and Sex

Name Poverty
Female Unemployed50.75%
Male Unemployed39.54%
Female Employed13.70%
Male Employed9.51%

Memphis Income

Memphis Income by Household Type

Name Median Mean
Households$38,230$58,543
Families$45,673$70,039
Married Families$73,102$102,785
Non Families$27,919$40,748

Memphis Marital Status

Memphis Marital Status

Marriage Rates

31.2%

Overall Marriage Rate

33.8%

Male Marriage Rate

28.8%

Female Marriage Rate

Memphis Married by Age and Sex

Memphis Marriage

The age group where males are most likely to be married is Over 65, while the female age group most likely to be married is 55-64.

Memphis Marital Status by Race


Data via US Census (2017 ACS 5-Year Survey): Table S1201

Memphis Veterans

Memphis Veterans by War

31,931

Number of Veterans

28,530

Male Veterans

3,401

Female Veterans

Name Veterans
Vietnam12,357
First Gulf War5,438
Second Gulf War4,757
Korea2,234
World War II1,194

Memphis Veterans by Age

Name Veterans
55 to 648,130
65 to 748,054
35 to 547,840
75+5,273
18 to 342,634

Memphis Veterans by Race

Name Veterans % of Total
Black19,1476.32%
White12,1217.68%
Hispanic3161.21%
Asian2803.11%
2 or More2133.51%
Other980.80%
Indian464.51%
Hawaiian2624.30%

Memphis Veterans by Education

11.59%

Veteran Poverty Rate

26.74%

Veteran Disability Rate

Memphis Employment Status

Memphis Employment by Age

63.6%

Labor Force Participation

56.9%

Employment Rate

10.4%

Unemployment Rate

Memphis Employment by Race

Memphis Employment by Education

Memphis Place of Birth

Origin of Non Citizens

Non citizens include legal permanent residents (green card holders), international students, temporary workers, humanitarian migrants, and illegal immigrants.

Origin of Naturalized Citizens

65.53%

Born in Tennessee

93.72%

Native Born

6.28%

Foreign Born

4.46%

Non Citizen

Place of Birth

93.72% of Memphis residents were born in the United States, with 65.53% having been born in Tennessee. 4.46% of residents are not US citizens. Of those not born in the United States, the largest percentage are from Latin America.