May 15, 2023 - News

Tennessee now has more than 7 million residents

Change in Tennessee population, 2020 to 2022
Data: U.S. Census; Map: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

Tennessee's population grew by 1.8% between 2020-2022, and has pushed beyond 7 million, per new U.S. Census Bureau data, Axios' Alex Fitzpatrick and Kavya Beheraj report.

Why it matters: The data shows the Volunteer State's growth is driven by migration from other parts of the country and robust interest in Middle Tennessee.

Zoom in: Nashville is recovering some of its pandemic-era population loss.

  • Davidson County gained 4,772 residents in 2022, although population remains 1.1% below the 2020 benchmark.

State of play: The greater Nashville area has continued to surge after cruising past 2 million residents in 2021.

  • Middle Tennessee is a dominant force in the state's overall growth. Seven Nashville-area counties ranked in the top 10 for raw population gains in the state last year, according to a University of Tennessee analysis.
  • Rutherford County topped the list for the seventh straight year, growing by 9,417 people in 2022. Its population grew by 5.1% from 2020-2022.

Of note: The three other counties in the top 10 are Knox (Knoxville), Hamilton (Chattanooga) and Washington (Johnson City).

Between the lines: Population growth in the Nashville suburbs coincided with a white-hot housing market that drove up prices throughout the region. Realtors have told Axios the large uptick pushed some buyers out of the urban core and further from the city.

The big picture: The past few years have been especially turbulent for population trends, with the pandemic affecting birth and death rates, interstate and international migration, and more.

Zoom out: Idaho, Montana and Florida saw the highest population growth among U.S. states between 2020-2022, while New York, Illinois and Louisiana suffered the most shrinkage.

  • Idaho's population grew by nearly 4.9%, while that of Montana and Florida grew by 3.3% and 3%, respectively. Utah and South Carolina came in just a hair under 3%.
  • New York, meanwhile, shrank by 2.1%, while Illinois and Louisiana lost 1.6% and 1.3% of their populations, respectively.

The bottom line: It'll take a few more years for the effects of the pandemic to fully shake out, but there's never been a more fascinating time to look at data like this.

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