The 2018-2070 Boyd Center Population Projections for Tennessee and its 95 counties were released at the 2019 Tennessee Data Users conference last month. The new projections incorporate the latest births, deaths and current population estimates to update the projections last released in 2017. By 2040, the state’s population is projected to add over 1 million new people as the population climbs to over 7.84 million. This equates to an annual growth rate of 0.70%. By 2070, the forecast shows population increasing to 9.35 million. The state’s current population is estimated at 6.77 million people.
Middle Tennessee, the fastest growing part of the state this decade, looks to continue that trend. Davidson County and its four flanking neighbors to the south and east, Williamson, Rutherford, Wilson and Sumner, are forecast to grow by 550,000 people by 2040. These five counties will account for half of the state’s overall population growth in the next 20 years.
Overall, 66 counties are projected to log population increases by 2040 and 29 are expected to see declines.
Tennessee’s population also continues to become older. The 1.9% annual rate of population increase for people over age 65 is two and half times the state’s overall growth rate. Declining death rates among seniors and a growing proportion of people over 65 relocating to the state means that one in five residents will be 65+ by 2040. That is up from 1 in 8 residents in 2000.
Racial and ethnic diversity will also continue to increase across the state. As a share of the total, white non-Hispanic population will decrease from 73.7% in 2018 to 66.6% in 2040. The Hispanic share will double from 5.6% to 10.2% during that same time-frame and total 800,000. Black non-Hispanic population, remains the second largest racial group in 2040 with 1.32 million residents.
The state’s changing racial and ethnic composition is widespread as 94 of the state’s counties are projected to see declines in the share of white non-Hispanic population.
Accessing the projections
Download the 2019 Boyd Center Population Projections from the State Data Center website. An Excel workbook and county-level GIS data are provided.
he Excel file includes a series of interactive charts and tables providing easy access to county-level and Metropolitan Statistical Area projections. State and county-level breakdowns of age, sex and race/ethnicity are also included.
Shapefile and ArcGIS file geodatabase formats for provided for GIS users. The data include county-level projections in 5-year increments and can be previewed online.