estimates

Tennessee population projected to grow by 1 million over next 20 years

Source: Boyd Center

Tennessee’s population is projected to grow by about 1 million people by 2040, according to the Boyd Center for Business and Economic Research at the University of Tennessee.

The state’s population was estimated at about 6.8 million in 2018. The Boyd Center’s projections put that number at 7.8 million in 2040 and 9.3 million in 2070.

Here’s the full release from the Boyd Center:

One in five Tennesseans will be 65 or older by 2040 and the state’s population is estimated to grow by more than 1 million people during that same period, according to the 2018–2070 population projections released this week by the Boyd Center for Business and Economic Research in the University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s Haslam College of Business.

About half of that growth will be in Middle Tennessee.

Boyd Center Associate Professor Matthew Harris, author of the projections, predicts that Tennessee’s population will climb 0.7 percent annually from its current estimate of 6.77 million in 2018 to 7.84 million in 2040. By 2070 that number is expected to reach 9.35 million, with a slightly lower projected annual growth rate of 0.45 percent.

“We expect population to grow more slowly over the coming decades than it has recently,” Harris said. “Falling birth rates and the fact that a very large cohort—the baby boomers—are aging both contribute to the decrease in population growth.”

Tim Kuhn, director of the Tennessee State Data Center, analyzed the data and projects that more than half of the growth by 2040 will be in Middle Tennessee, with Davidson, Williamson, Rutherford, Wilson, and Sumner Counties expected to gain more than a half million residents. Across the state, 66 counties will see population increases and 27 rural counties will experience decreases. Carter and Sullivan Counties in northeast Tennessee are the only urban counties expected to see slight decreases—of 0.46 percent and 0.01 percent, respectively—by 2040.

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