Memphis, Tennessee Population 2020

650,618

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.

Memphis has an estimated population of 650,618, 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 Population Statistics

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.

Memphis, Tennessee's estimated population is 650,618 according to the most recent United States census estimates. Memphis, Tennessee is the 2nd largest city in Tennessee based on official 2017 estimates from the US Census Bureau.

The population density is 2049.93 people/mi² (791.48 people/km²).

The overall median age is 33.8 years, 32 years for males, and 35.5 years for females. For every 100 females there are 90.1 males.

The median income for households in Memphis, Tennessee is $, while the mean household income is $.

Memphis Demographics

According to the most recent ACS, the racial composition of Memphis was:

  • Black or African American: 64.22%
  • White: 29.08%
  • Other race: 3.36%
  • Two or more races: 1.57%
  • Asian: 1.56%
  • Native American: 0.19%
  • Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander: 0.02%

How Many People Live in Memphis, Tennessee?

650,618
Year Population Growth Annual Growth Rate
2018650,618-944-0.14%
2017651,562-1,622-0.25%
2016653,184-1,692-0.26%
2015654,876-1,060-0.16%
2014655,936-1,941-0.30%
2013657,877-1,212-0.18%
2012659,0893,4990.53%
2011655,5903,2810.50%
2010652,3092,2090.03%
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%
Year Total Population Growth Annual Growth Rate
20181,350,6203,0440.23%
20171,347,5762,4330.18%
20161,345,1431,3010.10%
20151,343,8421,0650.08%
20141,342,7771,3200.10%
20131,341,4571,0770.08%
20121,340,3807,7330.58%
20111,332,6476,4590.48%
20101,326,1880.00%

Population by Race

Race Population Percentage
Black or African American419,52664.22%
White189,97629.08%
Some Other Race21,9383.36%
Two or More Races10,2711.57%
Asian10,1791.56%
American Indian and Alaska Native1,2440.19%
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander1140.02%

Memphis Population Pyramid 2020

Memphis Median Age

33.8


Total

32


Male

35.5


Female

Memphis Adults

There are 488,419 adults, (80,189 of whom are seniors) in Memphis.

Memphis Age Dependency

60

Age Dependency Ratio

19.6

Old Age Dependency Ratio

40.4

Child Dependency Ratio

Memphis Sex Ratio

Female

343,665

52.61%

Male

309,583

47.39%

Memphis Households and Families

Memphis Renter vs Owner Occupied by Household Type

Memphis Household Types

Type Owner Renter
Married70.9%29.1%
All46.9%53.1%
Male40%60%
Non Family38.4%61.6%
Female34.7%65.3%

46.9%

Rate of Home Ownership

Type Count Average Size Owned
All250,8122.5446.9
Non Family107,6231.2338.4
Married71,6903.370.9
Female58,2543.834.7
Male13,2453.540

3.43

Average Family Size

2.54

Average Household Size

5.7%

Unmarried (Opposite Sex)

0.5%

Unmarried (Same Sex)

Memphis Education

Education Attained Count Percentage
Less Than 9th Grade21,4445.12%
9th to 12th Grade40,6479.70%
High School Graduate128,07230.57%
Some College97,71323.32%
Associates Degree23,3865.58%
Bachelors Degree64,72015.45%
Graduate Degree42,94110.25%

Memphis Educational Attainment by Race

Name Total High School Bachelors
Black257,631215,18240,275
White127,928121,03359,129
Hispanic22,04410,3102,224
Other Race9,5583,470497
Asian7,2226,3654,224
Multiple Races4,5334,0741,696
Native American850557162
Islander877318

The highest rate of high school graduation is among white people with a rate of 94.61%.

The highest rate of bachelors degrees is among asian people with a rate of 58.49%.

Name Average Male Female
Overall$30,747$33,589$28,027
Less Than High School$19,782$21,947$14,744
High School Grad$24,966$26,781$22,150
Some College$29,055$34,323$26,411
Bachelors Degree$45,364$52,771$40,887
Graduate Degree$60,895$73,548$54,667

$30,747

Average Earnings

$33,589

Average Male

$28,027

Average Female

Memphis Language

Memphis Language by Age

Memphis Language

90.54% of Memphis residents speak only English, while 9.46% speak other languages. The non-English language spoken by the largest group is Spanish, which is spoken by 6.28% of the population.

Memphis Poverty

Memphis Poverty by Race

Name Total In Poverty Poverty Rate
Black409,831130,44131.83%
White162,87820,18012.39%
Hispanic46,03916,95736.83%
Other21,6289,17742.43%
Multiple10,1122,25922.34%
Asian9,9441,46014.68%
Native1,18419716.64%
Islander11454.39%

26.81%

Overall Poverty Rate

24.95%

Male Poverty Rate

28.46%

Female Poverty Rate

Poverty in Memphis

The race most likely to be in poverty in Memphis is Other, with 42.43% below the poverty level.

The race least likely to be in poverty in Memphis is Islander, with 4.39% below the poverty level.

The poverty rate among those that worked full-time for the past 12 months was 6.12%. Among those working part-time, it was 27.84%, and for those that did not work, the poverty rate was 35.96%.

Name Poverty
Less Than High School36.60%
High School24.54%
Some College16.86%
Bachelors or Greater6.19%
Name Poverty
Female Unemployed53.53%
Male Unemployed38.10%
Female Employed14.00%
Male Employed9.02%

Memphis Income

Memphis Income by Household Type

Name Median Mean
Households$39,108$59,730
Families$47,753$71,652
Married Families$74,689$103,643
Non Families$28,207$41,763

Memphis Marital Status

Memphis Marital Status

Marriage Rates

31.1%

Overall Marriage Rate

33.8%

Male Marriage Rate

28.7%

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

Memphis Veterans

30,882

Number of Veterans

27,179

Male Veterans

3,703

Female Veterans

War Veterans
Vietnam11,654
First Gulf War5,642
Second Gulf War4,786
Korea2,093
World War II837
Age Group Veterans
65 to 748,055
35 to 547,638
55 to 647,592
75+4,908
18 to 342,689

Memphis Veterans by Race

Name Veterans % of Total
Black18,5796.11%
White11,6937.46%
2 or More3025.21%
Hispanic2701.01%
Asian1391.63%
Other1040.89%
Indian474.70%
Hawaiian1816.98%

Memphis Veterans by Education

11.21%

Veteran Poverty Rate

27.59%

Veteran Disability Rate

Memphis Employment Status

63.2%

Labor Force Participation

57.3%

Employment Rate

9.3%

Unemployment Rate

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

65.87%

Born in Tennessee

93.80%

Native Born

6.20%

Foreign Born

4.39%

Non Citizen

Place of Birth

93.80% of Memphis residents were born in the United States, with 65.87% having been born in Tennessee. 4.39% of residents are not US citizens. Of those not born in the United States, the largest percentage are from Latin America.