Knoxville, Tennessee Population 2021

188,085
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Knoxville is a city located in Tennessee. With a 2020 population of 188,085, it is the 3rd largest city in Tennessee (after Nashville and Memphis) and the 135th largest city in the United States. Knoxville is currently growing at a rate of 0.13% annually and its population has increased by 5.15% since the most recent census, which recorded a population of 178,874 in 2010. Knoxville reached it's highest population of 188,085 in 2021. Spanning over 104 miles, Knoxville has a population density of 1,905 people per square mile.

The average household income in Knoxville is $58,801 with a poverty rate of 24.26%. The median rental costs in recent years comes to $845 per month, and the median house value is $136,300. The median age in Knoxville is 32.7 years, 31.5 years for males, and 34.1 years for females. For every 100 females there are 91.9 males.

Knoxville is a city in Tennessee and the third-largest city in the state. The city was geographically isolated for much of its early history, although it quickly grew after the Civil War and is now one of the largest cities in the Appalachian area.

Knoxville Poverty and Health Statistics

Knoxville has a poverty rate of 25%, well above the Tennessee average (16.1%) and the national average (15.1%). A 2009 study found that Knoxville residents have a life expectancy of 76 years.

The study also found that 22% of adults smoked, 11% were binge drinkers, 14% did not have health insurance and 28% were obese.

Knoxville Population Growth

Knoxville experienced its first population decline in the 1950s, when it lost more than 10% of its population, although it more than made up the loss by 1970, posting a 56% increase. Today, Knoxville is among the ten fastest-growing U.S. cities with the best employment outlook in the country. Knoxville also has a low cost of living that is 80% of the national average along with low crime, which is attracting young college graduates.

Knoxville Facts

  • Knoxville was the first capital of Tennessee.
  • According to a 2006 study by the Economic Research Institute, Knoxville is the most affordable U.S. city for new college graduates based on typical salary and cost of living.
  • Knoxville is the base for Jewelry Television, a home shopping channel, as well as Scripps Networks Interactive, which operates HGTV, DIY Network, Food Network, and Travel Channel.
  • Quentin Tarantino and Johnny Knoxville were both born in Knoxville.
  • In 2013, there was not a single day of the year that remained at or below freezing. This has also happened in 1990, 1921 and 1915.
  • Mountain Dew was first marketed in Knoxville in 1948 as a whiskey mixer.

Knoxville was first inhabited during the Woodland period (c. 1000 BC to AD 1000), with an ancient burial mound still present on the University of Tennessee campus. The Cherokee people were dominant in the area by the 18th century due to wars with the Shawnee and Creek. The first European-American explorers arrived in the area at the end of the 17th century, although there is evidence Hernando de Soto visited Bussell Island in 1540.

The end of the French and Indian War and the American Revolution led to an increase in the Euro-American population west of the Appalachians, with establishments in the 1780s. In 1785, Congress ordered illegal settlers to leave the area, but it was not successful. More settlers arrived, and tensions between them and the Cherokee grew.

White's Fort was constructed near the mouth of the First Creek in 1786 by James White, a Revolutionary War officer, and it eventually grew into a town. The [Treaty of Holston](https://founders.archives.gov/documents/Washington/05-09-02-0100) was signed at the fort in 1791 to establish boundaries and resolve issues with the Cherokee. White's Fort was named as the new capital of the area after Revolutionary War general Henry Knox.

Knoxville was the capital of the Southwest Territory and then Tennessee after it became a state in 1796, although the capital was moved to Murfreesboro in 1817. The early history of the city was filled with theft, murder, and hostility from Cherokee attacks, but it eventually became a merchandising center in the region, and its population doubled in the 1850s when the railroad arrived.

The anti-slavery and anti-secession sentiment was high in the area leading up to the Civil War, and East Tennessee and the greater Knox County voted against secession in 1861. The same year, however, Tennessee joined the Confederacy, and martial law was instituted. The Union Army captured Knoxville, and the Confederate army was unsuccessful in its attempt to recapture the city.

Knoxville recovered relatively quickly after the war. In 1869, federal wartime restitution funding expanded the college, which was occupied by both armies during the war, and it changed its name to the University of Tennessee a decade later. Many immigrants came to the city during its manufacturing boom, and its population grew from 5,000 in 1860 to more than 32,600 by 1900.

Knoxville Demographics

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

  • White: 76.13%
  • Black or African American: 16.98%
  • Two or more races: 3.07%
  • Asian: 1.77%
  • Other race: 1.61%
  • Native American: 0.36%
  • Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander: 0.07%
The current population of Knoxville, Tennessee is 188,085, based on our projections of the latest US Census estimates. The US Census estimates the 2018 population at 187,362.The last official US Census in 2010 recorded the population at 178,874.

Knoxville, Tennessee Population 2021

2019 and 2020 population is estimated by projecting the raw 2018 numbers.

Year Total Population Growth Annual Growth Rate
2021884,6707,8120.88%
2020876,8587,8120.89%
2019869,0467,8120.90%
2018861,2347,5890.88%
2017853,6458,7031.02%
2016844,9427,1240.84%
2015837,8184,8900.58%
2014832,9283,9110.47%
2013829,0174,0100.48%
2012825,0074,3050.52%
2011820,7024,7180.57%
2010815,9840.00%

Knoxville Metro Area Population by Year

Population by Race

Race Population Percentage
White141,73776.13%
Black or African American31,61416.98%
Two or More Races5,7073.07%
Asian3,3001.77%
Some Other Race3,0041.61%
American Indian and Alaska Native6720.36%
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander1390.07%
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Knoxville Population by Race

Knoxville Population Pyramid 2021

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Knoxville Median Age

32.7


Total

31.5


Male

34.1


Female

Knoxville Adults

There are 151,247 adults, (25,305 of whom are seniors) in Knoxville.

Knoxville Age Dependency

47.8

Age Dependency Ratio

20.1

Old Age Dependency Ratio

27.7

Child Dependency Ratio

Knoxville Sex Ratio

Female

96,996

52.10%

Male

89,177

47.90%

Knoxville Population by Age

Knoxville Renter vs Owner Occupied by Household Type

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Knoxville Household Types

Type Owner Renter
Married66.8%33.2%
All45.9%54.1%
Male39.5%60.5%
Non Family36.9%63.1%
Female33.7%66.3%

45.9%

Rate of Home Ownership

Knoxville Households and Families

Type Count Average Size Owned
All80,9662.1945.9
Non Family40,8601.3536.9
Married25,2363.0166.8
Female11,5353.1333.7
Male3,3353.0739.5

2.95

Average Family Size

2.19

Average Household Size

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Knoxville Households by Type

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Education Attained Count Percentage
Less Than 9th Grade3,7293.15%
9th to 12th Grade8,8787.50%
High School Graduate32,54127.47%
Some College25,27821.34%
Associates Degree9,6128.12%
Bachelors Degree22,84019.28%
Graduate Degree15,56413.14%
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Knoxville Educational Attainment by Sex (over 25)

Knoxville Educational Attainment by Race

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Name Total High School Bachelors
White90,10481,94231,979
Black18,62816,5132,962
Hispanic4,8493,1681,253
Asian2,3222,0911,575
Multiple Races2,0411,705542
Other Race1,5091,059345
Native American50638962
Islander1188232

The highest rate of high school graduation is among white people with a rate of 90.94%.

The highest rate of bachelors degrees is among asian people with a rate of 67.83%.

Knoxville Educational Attainment by Race

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Name Average Male Female
Overall$31,946$36,067$30,019
Less Than High School$18,907$20,609$15,975
High School Grad$24,774$29,334$20,663
Some College$30,759$34,625$27,426
Bachelors Degree$42,200$47,421$37,661
Graduate Degree$51,221$60,442$46,679

$31,946

Average Earnings

$36,067

Average Male

$30,019

Average Female

Knoxville Earnings by Educational Attainment

Knoxville Language by Age

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Knoxville Language

92.66% of Knoxville residents speak only English, while 7.34% speak other languages. The non-English language spoken by the largest group is Spanish, which is spoken by 3.72% of the population.

Knoxville Language

Knoxville Poverty by Race

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Name Total In Poverty Poverty Rate
White128,85825,59519.86%
Black30,57012,35040.40%
Hispanic9,7202,80828.89%
Multiple5,5661,97935.56%
Other2,98299833.47%
Asian3,01051517.11%
Native65211317.33%
Islander1183630.51%

24.26%

Overall Poverty Rate

23.34%

Male Poverty Rate

25.10%

Female Poverty Rate

Poverty in Knoxville

The race most likely to be in poverty in Knoxville is Black, with 40.40% below the poverty level.

The race least likely to be in poverty in Knoxville is Asian, with 17.11% below the poverty level.

The poverty rate among those that worked full-time for the past 12 months was 4.92%. Among those working part-time, it was 34.00%, and for those that did not work, the poverty rate was 36.81%.

Knoxville Poverty

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Name Poverty
Less Than High School40.65%
High School23.44%
Some College16.33%
Bachelors or Greater6.54%

Knoxville Poverty Rate by Education

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Name Poverty
Female Unemployed54.04%
Male Unemployed53.27%
Female Employed15.79%
Male Employed10.96%

Knoxville Poverty Rate by Employment Status and Sex

Knoxville Income by Household Type

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Name Median Mean
Households$40,341$58,801
Families$53,691$75,687
Married Families$72,318$95,160
Non Families$30,088$40,685
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Income by Household Type

Knoxville Marital Status

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Marriage Rates

35.0%

Overall Marriage Rate

36.8%

Male Marriage Rate

33.5%

Female Marriage Rate

Knoxville Married by Age and Sex

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Knoxville Marriage

The age group where males are most likely to be married is 35-44, while the female age group most likely to be married is 35-44.

Knoxville Marital Status by Race

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Knoxville Marital Status

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10,304

Number of Veterans

9,415

Male Veterans

889

Female Veterans

War Veterans
Vietnam3,483
Second Gulf War2,147
First Gulf War2,013
Korea756
World War II395

Knoxville Veterans by War

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Age Group Veterans
35 to 542,677
65 to 742,259
75+2,122
55 to 642,021
18 to 341,225

Knoxville Veterans by Age

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Name Veterans % of Total
White8,5027.11%
Black1,4516.36%
2 or More2708.38%
Hispanic1702.66%
Indian5610.05%
Asian250.83%

Knoxville Veterans by Race

Knoxville Veterans by Education

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12.44%

Veteran Poverty Rate

30.59%

Veteran Disability Rate

Knoxville Veterans by Education

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64.3%

Labor Force Participation

60.7%

Employment Rate

5.4%

Unemployment Rate

Knoxville Employment by Age

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Knoxville Employment by Race

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Knoxville Employment by Education

Origin of Non-Citizens

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

Origin of Naturalized Citizens

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58.50%

Born in Tennessee

94.16%

Native Born

5.84%

Foreign Born

3.87%

Non Citizen

1.97%

Naturalized

Place of Birth

94.16% of Knoxville residents were born in the United States, with 58.50% having been born in Tennessee. 3.87% of residents are not US citizens. Of those not born in the United States, the largest percentage are from Latin America.

Knoxville Place of Birth

Year Population Growth Annual Growth Rate
2021188,0852410.13%
2020187,8442410.13%
2019187,6032410.13%
2018187,3624570.24%
2017186,9051,9191.04%
2016184,9869400.51%
2015184,0461,4150.77%
2014182,6318520.47%
2013181,7796860.38%
2012181,0931,1380.63%
2011179,9551,6970.95%
2010178,2584,3680.25%
2000173,8908,7690.52%
1990165,121-9,924-0.58%
1980175,0454580.03%
1970174,58762,7604.56%
1960111,827-12,942-1.09%
1950124,76913,1891.12%
1940111,5805,7780.53%
1930105,80227,9843.12%
192077,81841,4727.91%
191036,3463,7091.08%
190032,63710,1023.77%
189022,53512,8428.80%
18809,6931,0111.11%
18708,6824,6828.06%
18604,0001,9006.66%
18502,1000.00%

Knoxville Population by Year