Memphis is a city located in Shelby County Tennessee. Memphis has a 2023 population of 621,777. It is also the county seat of Shelby County.Memphis is currently declining at a rate of -0.51% annually and its population has decreased by -1.51% since the most recent census, which recorded a population of 631,326 in 2020.
The average household income in Memphis is $68,226 with a poverty rate of 24.21%. The median rental costs in recent years comes to - per month, and the median house value is -. The median age in Memphis is 34.2 years, 32.7 years for males, and 35.8 years for females.
Memphis is located in the southwest corner of Tennessee, and it is the county seat of Shelby County and the second-largest city in Tennessee. with an estimated 2021 population of 651,011, Memphis is also the fifth-largest city in the Southeastern U.S., the largest city on the Mississippi and the 20th largest city in the United States.
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.
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.
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 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.
According to the most recent ACS, the racial composition of Memphis was:
Black or African American
Two or more races
Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander
Average Family Size
Average Household Size
Rate of Home Ownership
Less Than 9th Grade
9th to 12th Grade
High School Graduate
High School Graduation Rate
The highest rate of high school graduation is among white people with a rate of 83.26%.
The highest rate of bachelors degrees is among asian people with a rate of 45.21%.
Other Indo-European Languages
Asian and Pacific Island Languages
90.55% of Memphis residents speak only English, while 9.45% speak other languages. The non-English language spoken by the largest group is Spanish, which is spoken by 6.51% of the population.
Overall Poverty Rate
Male Poverty Rate
Female Poverty Rate
The race most likely to be in poverty in Memphis is Native, with 83.09% below the poverty level.
The race least likely to be in poverty in Memphis is Islander, with 2.79% below the poverty level.
The poverty rate among those that worked full-time for the past 12 months was 4.63%. Among those working part-time, it was 25.39%, and for those that did not work, the poverty rate was 35.89%.
Overall Marriage Rate
Male Marriage Rate
Female Marriage Rate
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.
Second Gulf War
First Gulf War
World War II
Less Than 9th Grade
High School Graduate
Bachelors or Greater
Veteran Poverty Rate
Veteran Disability Rate
Labor Force Participation
Non citizens include legal permanent residents (green card holders), international students, temporary workers, humanitarian migrants, and illegal immigrants.
Born in Memphis
94.75% of Memphis residents were born in the United States, with 66.82% having been born in Tennessee. 4.05% of residents are not US citizens. Of those not born in the United States, the largest percentage are from Latin America.