Memphis, Tennessee Population 2021

651,011
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Memphis is a city located in Shelby County Tennessee. It is also the county seat of Shelby County. With a 2020 population of 651,011, 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 -0.00% annually but its population has increased by 0.64% since the most recent census, which recorded a population of 646,889 in 2010. Memphis reached it's highest population of 658,786 in 2012. Spanning over 326 miles, Memphis has a population density of 2,051 people per square mile.

The average household income in Memphis is $62,588 with a poverty rate of 25.11%. The median rental costs in recent years comes to $901 per month, and the median house value is $101,800. The median age in Memphis is 34 years, 32.1 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.

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.

Memphis Demographics

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

  • Black or African American: 64.11%
  • White: 29.23%
  • Other race: 3.28%
  • Asian: 1.72%
  • Two or more races: 1.46%
  • Native American: 0.18%
  • Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander: 0.02%
The current population of Memphis, Tennessee is 651,011 based on our projections of the latest US Census estimates. The US Census estimates the 2018 population at 651,104.The last official US Census in 2010 recorded the population at 646,889.

Memphis, Tennessee Population 2021

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

Year Population Growth Growth Rate
20211,353,1403,5500.26%
20201,349,5903,5500.26%
20191,346,0403,5400.26%
20181,342,5003,9200.29%
20171,338,5802,3800.18%
20161,336,2001,4100.11%
20151,334,7901,3600.10%
20141,333,4301,3200.10%
20131,332,1107100.05%
20121,331,4007,6600.58%
20111,323,7406,2500.47%
20101,317,4900.00%

Memphis Metro Area Population by Year

Population by Race

Race Population Percentage
Black or African American417,97364.11%
White190,57029.23%
Some Other Race21,4153.28%
Asian11,1891.72%
Two or More Races9,4921.46%
American Indian and Alaska Native1,1940.18%
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander990.02%
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Memphis Population by Race

Memphis Population Pyramid $2021

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Memphis Median Age

34


Total

32.1


Male

35.8


Female

Memphis Adults

There are 489,126 adults, (83,608 of whom are seniors) in Memphis.

Memphis Age Dependency

60.8

Age Dependency Ratio

20.6

Old Age Dependency Ratio

40.1

Child Dependency Ratio

Memphis Sex Ratio

Female

343,472

52.69%

Male

308,460

47.31%

Memphis Population by Age

Memphis Renter vs Owner Occupied by Household Type

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Memphis Household Types

Type Owner Renter
Married71%29%
All46.6%53.4%
Male41%59%
Non Family37.7%62.3%
Female34.2%65.8%

46.6%

Rate of Home Ownership

Memphis Households and Families

Type Count Average Size Owned
All251,7322.5346.6
Non Family109,2991.2237.7
Married72,1673.371
Female57,2583.8134.2
Male13,0083.5641

3.43

Average Family Size

2.53

Average Household Size

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Memphis Households by Type

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Education Attained Count Percentage
Less Than 9th Grade20,8234.94%
9th to 12th Grade39,5659.39%
High School Graduate128,72830.56%
Some College98,25123.32%
Associates Degree23,6405.61%
Bachelors Degree66,13915.70%
Graduate Degree44,13610.48%
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Memphis Educational Attainment by Sex (over 25)

Memphis Educational Attainment by Race

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Race Total High School Bachelors
Black259,715218,32341,277
White127,915121,04660,095
Hispanic21,63510,7042,430
Other Race9,5303,848725
Asian7,9446,9084,526
2+ Races4,3103,8371,760
Native American918646210
Islander655820

The highest rate of high school graduation is among white people with a rate of 94.63%.

The highest rate of bachelors degrees is among asian people with a rate of 56.97%.

Memphis Educational Attainment by Race

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Name Average Male Female
Overall$31,580$35,495$29,392
Less Than 9th Grade$20,724$23,407$15,748
High School Graduate$25,781$27,370$23,474
Some College$29,676$34,340$26,822
Bachelors Degree$47,222$54,884$41,848
Graduate Degree$63,118$77,804$55,982

$31,580

Average Earnings

$35,495

Average Male

$29,392

Average Female

Memphis Earnings by Educational Attainment

Memphis Language by Age

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Memphis Language

90.37% of Memphis residents speak only English, while 9.63% speak other languages. The non-English language spoken by the largest group is Spanish, which is spoken by 6.40% of the population.

Memphis Language

Memphis Poverty by Race

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Name Total In Poverty Poverty Rate
Black408,034121,95329.89%
White162,58918,93111.64%
Hispanic45,90915,41533.58%
Other21,0327,70936.65%
Multiple9,3242,34525.15%
Asian10,9621,35112.32%
Native1,12218216.22%
Islander9077.78%

25.11%

Overall Poverty Rate

23.45%

Male Poverty Rate

26.57%

Female Poverty Rate

Poverty in Memphis

The race most likely to be in poverty in Memphis is Other, with 36.65% below the poverty level.

The race least likely to be in poverty in Memphis is Islander, with 7.78% below the poverty level.

The poverty rate among those that worked full-time for the past 12 months was 5.30%. Among those working part-time, it was 26.57%, and for those that did not work, the poverty rate was 34.50%.

Memphis Poverty

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Name Poverty
Less Than 9th Grade35.33%
High School23.09%
Some College16.25%
Bachelors or Greater5.83%

Memphis Poverty Rate by Education

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Rate Poverty
Female Unemployed52.24%
Male Unemployed37.42%
Female Employed12.51%
Male Employed8.30%

Memphis Poverty Rate by Employment Status and Sex

Memphis Income by Household Type

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Name Median Mean
Households$41,228$62,588
Families$50,336$75,767
Married Families$77,391$108,212
Non Families$29,232$42,954
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Income by Household Type

Memphis Marital Status

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Marriage Rates

31.3%

Overall Marriage Rate

33.9%

Male Marriage Rate

29.0%

Female Marriage Rate

Memphis Married by Age and Sex

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Memphis 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 55-64.

Memphis Marital Status by Race

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Memphis Marital Status

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30,720

Number of Veterans

26,460

Male Veterans

4,260

Female Veterans

War Veterans
Vietnam11,653
First Gulf War5,679
Second Gulf War5,053
Korea1,852
World War II586

Memphis Veterans by War

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Age Group Veterans
65 to 748,358
55 to 647,516
35 to 546,909
75+5,054
18 to 342,883

Memphis Veterans by Age

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Name Veterans % of Total
Black18,5936.10%
White11,3697.27%
2+ Races3907.05%
Hispanic2580.98%
Other Race1441.24%
Asian1311.40%
Native American716.63%
Islander2227.16%

Memphis Veterans by Race

Memphis Veterans by Education

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11.42%

Veteran Poverty Rate

28.70%

Veteran Disability Rate

Memphis Veterans by Education

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63.4%

Labor Force Participation

57.8%

Employment Rate

8.7%

Unemployment Rate

Memphis Employment by Age

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Memphis Employment by Race

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Memphis 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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66.02%

Born in Memphis

93.81%

Native Born

6.19%

Foreign Born

4.18%

Non Citizen

2.01%

Naturalized

Place of Birth

93.81% of Memphis residents were born in the United States, with 66.02% having been born in Tennessee. 4.18% of residents are not US citizens. Of those not born in the United States, the largest percentage are from Latin America.

Memphis Place of Birth

Year Population Growth Annual Growth Rate
2021651,011-31-0.00%
2020651,042-31-0.00%
2019651,073-31-0.00%
2018651,1042260.03%
2017650,878-1,670-0.26%
2016652,548-1,558-0.24%
2015654,106-884-0.13%
2014654,990-2,156-0.33%
2013657,146-1,640-0.25%
2012658,7863,4450.53%
2011655,3413,0150.46%
2010652,3262,2260.03%
2000650,10039,7630.63%
1990610,337-35,837-0.57%
1980646,17422,1860.35%
1970623,988126,4642.29%
1960497,524101,5242.31%
1950396,000103,0583.06%
1940292,94239,7991.47%
1930253,14390,7924.54%
1920162,35131,2462.16%
1910131,10528,7852.51%
1900102,32037,8254.72%
189064,49530,9036.74%
188033,592-6,634-1.79%
187040,22617,6035.92%
186022,62313,7829.85%
18508,8410.00%

Memphis Population by Year