Memphis, Tennessee Population 2018

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 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 it was quickly settled by Native Americans. It was first settled by the Mississippi Culture. 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 eventually ceded 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 it was captured by the Union 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 grew 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 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%
2010652,3312,2310.34%
2000650,10039,7636.51%
1990610,337-35,837-5.55%
1980646,17422,1863.56%
1970623,988126,46425.42%
1960497,524101,52425.64%
1950396,000103,05835.18%
1940292,94239,79915.72%
1930253,14390,79255.92%
1920162,35131,24623.83%
1910131,10528,78528.13%
1900102,32037,82558.65%
189064,49530,90392.00%
188033,592-6,634-16.49%
187040,22617,60377.81%
186022,62313,782155.89%
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 American417,362
White194,167
Some Other Race21,499
Two or More Races11,010
Asian10,155
American Indian and Alaska Native1,480
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander184

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

Memphis Population Pyramid 2018

0k0k0k0k0k Male Population0k0k0k0k0k Female Population757065605550454035302520151050

Memphis Median Age

33.5


Total

31.8


Male

35.1


Female

Lancaster Adults

There are 487,220 adults in Memphis.

Memphis Age Dependency

57.8

Age Dependency Ratio

17.9

Old Age Dependency Ratio

39.9

Child Dependency Ratio

Memphis Housing Indicators

Indicator Value
Median Number of Rooms (per House)
5.2
Houses Without Mortgage
42,270
Houses With Mortgage
78,263
Vacancy Rate
15.9
Median Rent
842
Median Home Value
93,700
Renter-Occupied Units
131,087
Owner-Occupied Units
120,533
Total Housing Units
299,160

This chart shows the employment and labor force participation rates in Memphis for residents over 16 years of age. The 2015 unemployment rate is 7.2% and the labor force participation rate is 63.9%.

Memphis Family/Household Indicators

Indicator Value
Average Household Size
2.54
Average Family Size
3.38
Total Households
251620
Married Couple Households
73810
Male Householder (no wife) Families
13490
Female Householder (no husband) Families
59211
Non Family Households
105109
Total Families
146511
Households With Own Children
66509
Unmarried Partner Households (Opposite Sex)
5.9
Unmarried Partner Households (Same Sex)
0.5

Memphis Income Distribution

Indicator Value
Under $10,000
30,546
$10,000 to $14,999
19,083
$15,000 to $24,999
37,847
$25,000 to $34,999
32,505
$35,000 to $49,999
36,239
$50,000 to $74,999
40,592
$75,000 to $99,999
22,291
$100,000 to $149,999
18,207
$150,000 to $199,999
7,052
Over $200,000
7,258

Memphis Household Income

Income

Median

Mean

Memphis

Tennessee

$36,975

$46,574

$56,512

$65,368

Under 10k10k - 15k15k - 25k25k - 35k35k - 50k50k - 75k75k - 100k100k - 150k150k - 200kOver 200k00.0450.090.1350.18

Memphis Education Data

Memphis Educational Attainment (over 25)

Indicator Value Percentage
Less Than 9th Grade
22,8685.49%
9th to 12th Grade
43,86310.53%
High School Graduate
122,04629.29%
Some College
98,62923.67%
Associates Degree
24,7565.94%
Bachelors Degree
63,75615.30%
Graduate Degree
40,8029.79%