KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Thousands of people have started calling Tennessee home within the last year, with many East Tennessee counties seeing at least a one percent increase in their population according to a report released on Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau. Knox County, and more specifically Knoxville, saw the biggest jump.
“The city (Knoxville) added about 2,000 new residents last year, the county added about 3,000,” Tim Kuhn, the director of the Tennessee State Data Center said.
When looking at the overall state, middle Tennessee has seen the most growth. Murfreesboro added the most to its population in the last year at 4,177 new residents. Knoxville was sixth-largest in growth adding 2,054 residents.
Mike and Tonya Weaver are one of the thousands of residents that are new to Knoxville.
“I did a lot of research on different states and I just loved everything about East Tennessee,” Mike said.
The Weavers were born and raised in California, but they decided they needed a change. The biggest reason for the cross-country move involved their morals and values.
“I just retired from law enforcement, so I’ve just kind of seen how they decriminalized a lot of laws and they didn’t prosecute a lot of crimes that should have been prosecuted, and I like that Tennessee still did that,” Mike said.
Besides the governing differences, the Weavers were also drawn in by the cost of living, recreation and those that already call East Tennessee home.
“The people are so friendly here,” Tonya said.
The reasons the Weavers listed are all things Knoxville realtor, Haley Van Edom has heard from those looking to relocate.
“Another thing that people really like about East Tennessee that they don’t get in the rest of the state is that we are protected by the mountains,” Van Edom said. “So the likelihood of severe weather is a lot less here.”
Robert Carter, the manager of Mortgage Investors Group, said the growth in and around Knoxville is also considered from a financial standpoint.
“People are going further out. They’re not just being centralized in Knoxville. They love the affordability of the area, and the further you go out from Knoxville, it gets more and more affordable,” Carter said.
However, regardless of the reason for coming to East Tennessee, Carter said it’s nice to see the development.
“We love all of the people that have made this their home, and there’s going to be more coming, a lot more coming,” he said.