KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – If Neyland Stadium were a county, its population would qualify it as the 14th largest in the state. On Saturdays, anyway. That’s according to new data collected in 2020 and released Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Just 13 Tennessee counties have a population larger than the 102,455 capacity of Rocky Top. The names are familiar, with Shelby, Davidson and Knox taking the first three positions. Hamilton County claimed 4th most populated in the state with 366,207 people, an increase of 8.84% since 2010.

Population increases since 2010, by county:

  • Shelby County increased .23% to 929,744
  • Davidson County increased 14.23% to 715,884
  • Knox County increased 10.81% to 478,971

The incorporated areas of Chattanooga and Knoxville have been in a population race of sorts. This time around, Chattanooga gained some ground. In 2010, Knoxvillians outnumbered Chattanoogans by about 11,000 people. This time around, just 9,600 people tipped the scales in Knoxville’s favor.

Back to the county data. Rutherford, Williamson, Montgomery, Sumner, Sullivan, Wilson, Blount, Washington, and Bradley make up the remaining Tennessee counties with populations above the Orange and White benchmark of 102,455. Of those, Williamson, Rutherford and Wilson grew the most since 2010. Meanwhile Sullivan County grew just .85% in the past decade.

Let’s shift away from population and take a look at the percentage of growth. Seventeen counties saw double-digit population growth since 2010. Trousdale County, about an hour northeast of Nashville, saw the most growth in the past decade with a 47.59% increase in population since 2010. Davidson was the 9th fastest growing county in the state, while Loudon County took 11th place.

The twin tourist destinations of Blount and Sevier counties each saw a nearly 10 percent increase in new residents in this census. That’s a smaller increase than 2000 to 2010, when Sevier County had a 26 percent population increase and Blount County grew by 16 percent.

Nineteen counties either gained or lost 1 percent of their population, meaning their populations stayed relatively stable over the past decade.

Counties with stable populations:

  • Jackson County population decreased by 21 people, a loss of .18%
  • Tipton County population decreased by 111, a loss of .18%
  • Shelby County population gained 2,100, an increase of .23%
  • Hawkins County lost 112 residents, a decrease of .20%
  • Cocke County gained 337 residents, an increase of .94%

Just one county saw a double digit decline. Lake County lost about 10.5 percent of their population. Overall, 23 Tennessee counties had declines in population between 2010 and 2020.

Counties seeing the largest percentage of population decline:

  • Lake County population decreased to 7,005, a 10.56% decline
  • Lauderdale County population decreased to 25,143, a 9.61% decline
  • Hardeman County population decreased to 25,462, a 6.57% decline
  • Weakley County population decreased to 32,902, a 6.05% decline.
  • Haywood County population decreased to 17,864, a 4.91% decline

Tennessee saw a 1.2 million increase in residents since the 2010 census, data shows.