Tennessee Population 2024

7,204,002

The last official population count for the state of Tennessee was taken during the last nationwide census held in 2010. At the time it was confirmed that the state’s population stood at 6,346,105. That number reflects a rise of 11.5% on the statistics from the previous census held in 2000.

It's estimated that the population has grown even further since the estimate of 6,600,2996 in 2016.

Tennessee Area and Population Density

Situated in the southeastern sector of the United States, Tennessee is only the 36th largest state in the country by area, but it is the 20th most densely populated. Although relatively small in terms of numbers, Tennessee provides some interesting statistics in relation to population density. This is a relatively small area that covers 42,143 square miles (109,247 square kilometers) but for every square mile of Tennessee turf, there is an average of 153.9 people, making Tennessee the 20th most densely populated state in the entire country.

The largest city in Tennessee is Nashville, with a city proper population of about 655,610 residents, and a metropolitan population of 1,757,912. The second-largest city is Memphis, in the far west of the state, home to 655,770 people in the city and 1,341,746 in the metro area.

For a breakdown of which of Tennessee counties population are increasing, and which are decreasing, take a look at our interactive map. Read on for more information about Tennessee's population trends, or head across to our US population summary for more information about demographic changes around the country.

Tennessee Gender and Religion Statistics

The median age among the state of Tennessee is approximately 38.5 years of age. When examining the ratio of females to males, the current statistics show females at 51.3% and males at 48.7%.

In terms of religious preferences across the state's population, 81% are affiliated with a Christian based faith, 3% are affiliated with non-Christian based faiths, and 14% are unaffiliated with any particular faith.

Tennessee Boundary, Census, and Statehood History

The Territory South of the Ohio River, formerly part of North Carolina and sometimes known as the Southwest Territory, was created in 1790. It was admitted as the State of Tennessee on June 1, 1796. Both Territory and State had generally the same boundaries as the present State, except that because of erroneous surveys much of the Tennessee-Kentucky boundary was in dispute for some time; it was not finally resurveyed until 1859. Details of the Tennessee-Virginia boundary were not settled until 1901.

Census coverage in 1790 and 1800 was limited to the northeastern part of Tennessee and the region around Nashville, and coverage did not include the whole State until 1830. The 1790 census of the Southwest Territory actually began at the end of July 1791.

Tennessee Demographics

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

  • White: 75.78%
  • Black or African American: 16.48%
  • Two or more races: 3.81%
  • Asian: 1.83%
  • Other race: 1.81%
  • Native American: 0.22%
  • Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander: 0.06%

Tennessee Population History

In 1790, it was reported that the population of Tennessee was just 35,691, but like most areas in this part of the world, a population explosion was just over the horizon. Just ten years later, at the start of the 19th century, numbers had grown by nearly 200% to 105,602.

That was by far the biggest spike in the Tennessee population but sustained increases throughout the 1800s meant that by the time the 20th century rolled in, the number of people who lived in Tennessee had just crept over the two million mark.

The 1900s showed a similar pattern of overall growth and that has continued to the present day where the Tennessee population in 2016 has finally surpassed 6.5 million.

Tennessee Population Growth

Figures relating to the natural growth patterns within Tennessee were released in 2006 and they showed that in the six years since the previous census, numbers had increased by 142,266 due to 493,881 births minus 351,615 deaths, and in addition, there had been a rise of 219,551 due to net migration.

Tennessee Population Projections

There are no reasons to suggest that healthy rises won’t continue for the foreseeable future. It's projected that Tennessee's population will surpass 7 million by the 2020 Census and pass the 7.5 million mark before 2025.

Tennessee has the 10th largest percentage of African American residents in the nation. Over 36% of the population under the age of 1 are minorities. There are also a number of Native Americans residing in Tennessee, including the Cherokee Wolf Clan, Chikamaka Band, Central Band of Cherokee, United Eastern Lenapee Nation, the Tanasi Council, and Remnant Yuchi Nation. The majority of the diverse residents of the state are of English and Scotch-Irish ancestry.

The state ranks 37th out of 50 states for its Asian American population. The most common ancestries include: American (17.3%), African American (13%), Irish (9.3%), English (9.1%) and German (8.3%). It's estimated that about one quarter of the residents are of predominantly English ancestry.

Tennessee Growth Rate

Tennessee Population Rank

Tennessee Population 2024

Tennessee Facts

Population

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Interesting population patterns were observed in Tennessee when comparing data from the 2010 Census to 2015 estimates taken by the Census Bureau. This data showed that population growth by county primarily occurred in the central region of the state. Williamson County had the highest gain in population during the 5-year period at 15%. Surrounding counties Davidson, Rutherford, and Maury all had population increases that exceeded 5%. Montgomery County, located along the northern border of the state, posted a gain of 11.72%, while Sumner directly to its east had a population growth of 9.11%.

Some counties also had population declines, particularly counties found in the northwestern corner of the state. The largest loss was recorded in Hardeman County, located along the southern border, which had a population of 5.34%. Other population losses were less than 5% across the state, including those observed in such counties as Weakley, Haywood, Roane, and Hancock.

Tennessee Population by County

Population by Race

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Race
Population
Percentage (of total)
White5,198,20675.78%
Black or African American1,130,60816.48%
Two or more races261,5933.81%
Asian125,5811.83%
Other race123,9781.81%
Native American15,2190.22%
Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander4,3120.06%

White

Black or African American

Two or more races

Asian

Other race

Native American

Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander

Tennessee Population by Race

Tennessee Population Pyramid 2024

Tennessee Median Age

38.8

Total

37.7

Male

39.9

Female

Tennessee Adults

There are 5,325,254 adults, (1,118,190 of whom are seniors) in Tennessee.

Tennessee Age Dependency

63

Age Dependency Ratio

26.6

Old Age Dependency Ratio

36.5

Child Dependency Ratio

Tennessee Sex Ratio

Female3,497,39850.99%
Male3,362,09949.01%

Tennessee Population by Age

Tennessee Renter vs Owner Occupied by Household Type

Household Type
Count
Average Size
Owner
Renter
All2,664,7912.5266.933.1
Married1,273,8813.138317
Non Family928,4221.2652.947.1
Female336,7523.3647.952.1
Male125,7363.357.742.3

3.1

Average Family Size

2.52

Average Household Size

66.9%

Rate of Home Ownership

Married

Male

Female

NonFamily

owner

renter

Tennessee Households and Families

Male

Female

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Education Attained
Count
Percentage
Less Than 9th Grade189,0204.01%
9th to 12th Grade340,1427.22%
High School Graduate1,485,81331.56%
Some College968,64420.57%
Associates Degree357,6507.6%
Bachelors Degree859,25518.25%
Graduate Degree507,95610.79%

Less Than 9th Grade

9th to 12th Grade

High School Graduate

Some College

Associates Degree

Bachelors Degree

Graduate Degree

Tennessee Educational Attainment by Sex (over 25)

Tennessee Educational Attainment by Race

High School Graduation Rate

Bachelors Rate

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Race
Total
High School
Bachelors
White3,605,9223,255,1491,097,231
Black725,820636,892159,001
Hispanic194,222125,07933,720
2+ Races121,153103,31933,000
Asian85,54274,37147,841
Other Race61,54236,4329,974
Native American10,3828,4451,804
Islander2,6812,432764

The highest rate of high school graduation is among islander people with a rate of 90.71%.

The highest rate of bachelors degrees is among asian people with a rate of 55.93%.

Tennessee Educational Attainment by Race

All

Male

Female

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Name
Average
Male
Female
Overall$40,083$46,138$34,163
Less Than 9th Grade$26,007$30,109$19,870
High School Graduate$31,891$37,317$26,144
Some College$37,447$45,801$31,502
Bachelors Degree$52,564$64,866$44,068
Graduate Degree$66,640$85,882$57,306

$40,083

Average Earnings

$46,138

Average Male

$34,163

Average Female

Tennessee Earnings by Educational Attainment

Tennessee Language by Age

Only English

Spanish

Other Indo-European Languages

Asian and Pacific Island Languages

Other Languages

Tennessee Language

92.6% of Tennessee residents speak only English, while 7.4% speak other languages. The non-English language spoken by the largest group is Spanish, which is spoken by 4.21% of the population.

Tennessee Language

Tennessee Poverty by Race

rate

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Name
Total
In Poverty
Poverty Rate
White4,895,073559,66211.43%
Black1,090,429256,87223.56%
Hispanic386,62689,79923.23%
Multiple254,26449,19919.35%
Other121,22731,00825.58%
Asian122,77411,5749.43%
Native14,0963,27723.25%
Islander4,01883420.76%

14.28%

Overall Poverty Rate

12.88%

Male Poverty Rate

15.62%

Female Poverty Rate

Poverty in Tennessee

The race most likely to be in poverty in Tennessee is Other, with 25.58% below the poverty level.

The race least likely to be in poverty in Tennessee is Asian, with 9.43% below the poverty level.

The poverty rate among those that worked full-time for the past 12 months was 2.81%. Among those working part-time, it was 17.27%, and for those that did not work, the poverty rate was 22.54%.

Tennessee Poverty

rate

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Rate
Poverty
Less Than 9th Grade27.56%
High School14.93%
Some College9.78%
Bachelors or Greater4.28%

Tennessee Poverty Rate by Education

rate

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Rate
Poverty
Female Unemployed36.15%
Male Unemployed29.11%
Female Employed7.4%
Male Employed5.31%

Tennessee Poverty Rate by Employment Status and Sex

Tennessee Income by Household Type

Households

Families

MarriedFamilies

NonFamilies

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Name
Median
Mean
Households$58,516$82,012
Families$73,248$97,441
Married Families$87,627$113,609
Non Families$34,956$49,928

mean

median

Income by Household Type

Tennessee Marital Status

Married

Widowed

Divorced

Separated

NeverMarried

Marriage Rates

48.8%

Overall Marriage Rate

50.8%

Male Marriage Rate

47.0%

Female Marriage Rate

Tennessee Married by Age and Sex

male

female

Tennessee 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 45-54.

Tennessee Marital Status by Race

Married

Widowed

Divorced

Separated

NeverMarried

Tennessee Marital Status

Second Gulf War

First Gulf War

Vietnam

Korea

World War II

423,042

Number of Veterans

381,953

Male Veterans

41,089

Female Veterans

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War
Veterans
Vietnam151,077
First Gulf War98,963
Second Gulf War94,515
Korea22,146
World War II5,830

Tennessee Veterans by War

count

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Age Group
Veterans
65 to 74113,202
35 to 54103,632
75+87,301
55 to 6482,264
18 to 3436,643

Tennessee Veterans by Age

count

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Name
Veterans
% of Total
White346,0238.39%
Black61,3027.28%
Hispanic9,8074.12%
2+ Races9,7196.43%
Other Race2,2623.02%
Asian2,1352.2%
Native American1,27511.13%
Islander32610.4%

Tennessee Veterans by Race

Tennessee Veterans by Education

Less Than 9th Grade

High School Graduate

Some College

Bachelors or Greater

7.57%

Veteran Poverty Rate

32.57%

Veteran Disability Rate

Tennessee Veterans by Education

LaborForceParticipation

61.8%

Labor Force Participation

58.2%

Employment Rate

5.3%

Unemployment Rate

Tennessee Employment by Age

LaborForceParticipation

Tennessee Employment by Race

LaborForceParticipation

Tennessee Employment by Education

Origin of Non-Citizens

Europe

Asia

Africa

Oceania

Latin America

North America

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

Origin of Naturalized Citizens

Europe

Asia

Africa

Oceania

Latin America

North America

58.94%

Born in Tennessee

94.67%

Native Born

5.33%

Foreign Born

3.11%

Non Citizen

2.21%

Naturalized

Place of Birth

94.67% of Tennessee residents were born in the United States, with 58.94% having been born in Tennessee. 3.11% of residents are not US citizens. Of those not born in the United States, the largest percentage are from Latin America.

Tennessee Place of Birth

  1. Tennessee State Data Center
  2. US Census State Population Estimates - Most recent state estimates from the Census Bureau's Population Estimates Program
  3. US Census County Population Estimates - Most recent county estimates from the Census Bureau's Population Estimates Program
  4. American Community Survey (2009 - 2013)
  5. Census QuickFacts
  6. Historical Populations of States and Counties (1790 - 1990)

Sources