Tennessee Now the 16th Most Populous State, New U.S. Census Numbers Reveal


Tennessee ranked as the 16th most populous state in the nation, up one position from 2010, and its population is now 6.9 million.

Tennessee is now up one position from 2010. The Volunteer State trails number 15, Massachusetts, by 119,077 people and leads number 17, Indiana, by 125,312.

This, according to a press release that University of Tennessee at Knoxville officials published on their website this week.

“Although our growth rate was slightly lower last decade, the 2020 population counts did exceed the pre-Census estimate of an 8.3 percent increase,” said Tim Kuhn, director of the Tennessee State Data Center.

The center, housed in the Boyd Center for Business and Economic Research in the University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s Haslam College of Business, analyzed the U.S. Census Bureau data released this week.

“Tennessee’s resident population grew to 6,910,840 over the past decade, according to the 2020 Census results released Monday, April 26. The gain of 564,735 people equates to an 8.9 percent increase since 2010,” UT-Knoxville officials said.

“The new count of the state’s residents was released along with congressional apportionment results which, as expected, show that Tennessee retains its current allocation of nine seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. That figure has held since 1980.”

Tennessee’s population increase over the past 10 years is smaller than gains seen in the previous two decades. During the period from 1990 to 2000, the state added more than 812,000 people, an increase of 16.7 percent. Between 2000 and 2010, Tennessee added almost 657,000 people for an 11.5 percent increase. UT-Knoxville officials said in the press release that, to some degree, Tennessee’s population increase mirrored that of the country, which has slowed to a 7.4 percent increase since 2010—the lowest rate since the 1930s and the second lowest in history.

“Over the past 30 years, other studies have shown that much of the state’s population increase has been driven by net migration gains—more people moving into the state than moving out,” according to the press release.

“While that general trend continues, a decline in birth rates that began in 2007 dampened Tennessee’s overall growth between 2010 and 2020.”

The South—which includes Tennessee—grew by 10.2 percent in the past decade and gained more than 11.5 million people. Growth in Texas at 15.9 percent and Florida at 14.6 percent helped propel the increases over the past 10 years in this part of the country. Not all Southern states grew. West Virginia and Mississippi logged decreases, U.S. Census numbers show.

“Western states came in a close second to the Southern states, with an overall population increase of 9.2 percent. Utah’s 18.4 percent increase is the highest percentage gain among all U.S. states,” according to UT-Knoxville’s press release.

“Midwestern and Northeast regions saw modest increases of 3.1 and 4.1 percent over the 10-year stretch.”

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected]












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One Thought to “Tennessee Now the 16th Most Populous State, New U.S. Census Numbers Reveal”

  1. Dal ANDREW

    Somehow that seems interestingly appropriate; The 16th state admitted is now the 16th in population.

    Is there a breakdown showing how many of those 6.9 million are actually US Citizens?