Tennessee Population 2020

6,897,580

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.

You can see the largest cities in Tennessee on the map -- they’re the red blotches. The largest city in Tennessee is Memphis in the far west of the state, home to 655,770 people according to 2015 estimates. The second largest, located in the middle of the state, is Nashville, which had an estimated 654,610 residents. However, Nashville’s metropolitan area population is larger than the Memphis metropolitan area’s -– 1,757,912 people in Nashville compared to 1,341,746 in Memphis.

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: 77.67%
  • Black or African American: 16.80%
  • Two or more races: 2.14%
  • Asian: 1.70%
  • Other race: 1.36%
  • Native American: 0.27%
  • 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 Growth Rate

Tennessee Population Rank

Tennessee Population 2020

Shelby County

  • Population935,764
  • Density1226.07 per sq km
  • Growth Since 20100.79%
  • State Population Rank1
  • % of State13.82%

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.

Population by Race

Race Population Percentage
White5,166,22677.67%
Black or African American1,117,49116.80%
Two or More Races142,1342.14%
Asian112,9151.70%
Some Other Race90,6661.36%
American Indian and Alaska Native17,8480.27%
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander3,8060.06%

Tennessee Population Pyramid 2020

Tennessee Median Age

38.7


Total

37.4


Male

39.9


Female

Tennessee Adults

There are 5,149,700 adults, (1,045,210 of whom are seniors) in Tennessee.

Tennessee Age Dependency

62

Age Dependency Ratio

25.5

Old Age Dependency Ratio

36.6

Child Dependency Ratio

Tennessee Sex Ratio

Female

3,407,410

51.23%

Male

3,243,680

48.77%

Tennessee Households and Families

Tennessee Renter vs Owner Occupied by Household Type

Tennessee Household Types

Type Owner Renter
Married82.1%17.9%
All66.3%33.7%
Male55.6%44.4%
Non Family52.7%47.3%
Female46.7%53.3%

66.3%

Rate of Home Ownership

Type Count Average Size Owned
All2,567,0602.5366.3
Married1,241,5703.1282.1
Non Family871,2151.2552.7
Female336,5493.3846.7
Male117,7243.3355.6

3.11

Average Family Size

2.53

Average Household Size

5.1%

Unmarried (Opposite Sex)

0.3%

Unmarried (Same Sex)

Tennessee Education

Education Attained Count Percentage
Less Than 9th Grade219,6004.85%
9th to 12th Grade370,6708.18%
High School Graduate1,467,85032.40%
Some College942,60920.80%
Associates Degree323,9287.15%
Bachelors Degree762,29916.83%
Graduate Degree443,7529.79%

Tennessee Educational Attainment by Race

Name Total High School Bachelors
White3,521,3203,116,340983,213
Black697,227595,489137,776
Hispanic173,116107,87726,270
Asian76,14465,42540,638
Multiple Races54,83447,60715,195
Other Race45,37124,9165,906
Native American13,08510,5312,718
Islander2,3471,935326

The highest rate of high school graduation is among white people with a rate of 88.50%.

The highest rate of bachelors degrees is among asian people with a rate of 53.37%.

Name Average Male Female
Overall$35,434$41,063$30,258
Less Than High School$21,489$25,210$16,510
High School Grad$28,268$33,076$22,487
Some College$33,539$41,283$28,332
Bachelors Degree$47,626$58,423$40,683
Graduate Degree$60,464$76,991$52,156

$35,434

Average Earnings

$41,063

Average Male

$30,258

Average Female

Tennessee Language

Tennessee Language by Age

Tennessee Language

92.90% of Tennessee residents speak only English, while 7.10% speak other languages. The non-English language spoken by the largest group is Spanish, which is spoken by 4.08% of the population.

Tennessee Poverty

Tennessee Poverty by Race

Name Total In Poverty Poverty Rate
White4,816,510620,29912.88%
Black1,076,440284,68826.45%
Hispanic345,15597,93328.37%
Multiple138,32431,65622.89%
Other89,07928,97932.53%
Asian110,39612,02310.89%
Native17,2863,58520.74%
Islander3,6361,23233.88%

16.13%

Overall Poverty Rate

14.75%

Male Poverty Rate

17.43%

Female Poverty Rate

Poverty in Tennessee

The race most likely to be in poverty in Tennessee is Islander, with 33.88% below the poverty level.

The race least likely to be in poverty in Tennessee is Asian, with 10.89% below the poverty level.

The poverty rate among those that worked full-time for the past 12 months was 3.32%. Among those working part-time, it was 19.69%, and for those that did not work, the poverty rate was 23.69%.

Name Poverty
Less Than High School29.03%
High School15.53%
Some College10.25%
Bachelors or Greater4.24%
Name Poverty
Female Unemployed40.93%
Male Unemployed34.68%
Female Employed8.75%
Male Employed6.31%

Tennessee Income

Tennessee Income by Household Type

Name Median Mean
Households$50,972$71,458
Families$63,096$84,434
Married Families$76,120$98,645
Non Families$30,223$43,652

Tennessee Marital Status

Tennessee Marital Status

Marriage Rates

49.2%

Overall Marriage Rate

51.1%

Male Marriage Rate

47.3%

Female Marriage Rate

Tennessee Married by Age and Sex

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

Tennessee Veterans

435,040

Number of Veterans

396,626

Male Veterans

38,414

Female Veterans

War Veterans
Vietnam163,474
First Gulf War92,151
Second Gulf War77,518
Korea32,577
World War II13,479
Age Group Veterans
65 to 74116,243
35 to 54106,418
75+89,783
55 to 6484,958
18 to 3437,638
Name Veterans % of Total
White363,9668.93%
Black59,4207.21%
Hispanic8,7644.17%
2 or More5,8668.16%
Asian2,2072.55%
Indian1,84612.55%
Other1,4562.64%
Hawaiian27910.11%

$Tennessee Veterans by Education

7.60%

Veteran Poverty Rate

31.82%

Veteran Disability Rate

Tennessee Employment Status

61.2%

Labor Force Participation

57.3%

Employment Rate

5.9%

Unemployment Rate

Tennessee 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

60.17%

Born in Tennessee

94.98%

Native Born

5.02%

Foreign Born

3.14%

Non Citizen

Place of Birth

94.98% of Tennessee residents were born in the United States, with 60.17% having been born in Tennessee. 3.14% of residents are not US citizens. Of those not born in the United States, the largest percentage are from Latin America.