KNOXVILLE (WATE) – According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Nashville and Knoxville metropolitan areas have the fastest growth rates in the state of Tennessee.
Tennesse’s population is 6.65 million, up .9 percent from 2015. The state was 16th in the nation for percentage growth.
With 28 percent of the state’s population, Nashville saw the biggest increase in population. Nashville saw a population increase of two percent from 2015 up to 1.87 million residents.
Knoxville was second, up .9 percent or 7,377 people compared to 2015. The metropolitan area had 868,546 residents.
The University of Tennessee says the 2016 data indicates that counties within metropolitan areas — including Rutherford, Williamson, Knox, Hamilton and Wilson counties — are seeing the highest net migration. While most counties in the state are seeing newer residents, the data shows that other counties are losing more residents than they are gaining.
“As a state, we are seeing slow and steady population growth, and we continue to grow slightly faster than the national average for the third year in a row,” said Melissa Stefanini, director of the Tennessee State Data Center, which is a local partner to the Census Bureau. “There could be many reasons for this trend — for example, job growth in the state and people pursuing higher education.”
According to Stefanini, 67 out of 95 counties experienced growth that exceeded state average of .9 percent. She says 33 counties grew faster than national average of .7 percent.
“The population growth we are seeing across the state is in part due to net migration, or people moving into and out of the state,” Stefanini said. “More than 39,000 people moved to Tennessee in the last year, and we’re ranked 11th in the nation for total net migration.”
The 10 fastest-growing counties in the state were Williamson, Rutherford, Wilson, Trousdale, Maury, Sumner, Macon, Dickson, Lawrence and Putnam. All 10 counties are either in the Nashville MSA or border it and grew at rates between 1.3 and 3.5 percent. As seen in the graphic, the fastest-growing counties are those that surround Davidson County, which houses Nashville’s center city.
2015-2016 population change
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More:U.S. Census for Tennessee