Memphis is a city located in Tennessee. With a 2020 population of 647,374, it is the 2nd largest city in Tennessee (after Nashville) and the 28th largest city in the United States. Memphis is currently declining at a rate of -0.25% annually but its population has increased by 0.07% since the most recent census, which recorded a population of 646,889 in 2010. Memphis reached it's highest population of 659,089 in 2012. Spanning over 326 miles, Memphis has a population density of 2,040 people per square mile.
The average household income in Memphis is $59,730 with a poverty rate of 26.81%. The median rental costs in recent years comes to $884 per month, and the median house value is $97,000. The median age in Memphis is 33.8 years, 32 years for males, and 35.5 years for females. For every 100 females there are 90.1 males.
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.
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 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 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.