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Old 09-08-2013, 08:45 PM
 
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The Tennessee State Data Center at the University of Tennessee released this week its population projections for Tennessee's 95 counties through the year 2050. While these are merely projections, it's still interesting to see where they project the state's growth to take place.

Some highlights:
  • Shelby County will continue to be the state's largest county and will be the only county with more than 1 million residents.
  • The Nashville area will continue to get about half of the state's growth, adding well over a million more residents to its MSA.
  • Rutherford County will surpass Hamilton and Knox to become the state's 3rd most populous county.
  • Washington County will overtake Sullivan County to become the most populous county in the Tri Cities.

Anyway, here are the projections for Tennessee's 25 largest counties.

2010 Rank.County...2010 pop...2050 est

1. Shelby...927,644...1,184,974
2. Davidson...626,681...985,370
3. Knox...432,226...650,120
4. Hamilton...336,463...457,189
5. Rutherford...262,604...672,692
6. Williamson...183,182...370,215
7. Montgomery...172,331...385,904
8. Sumner...160,645...269,264
9. Sullivan...156,823...157,089
10. Blount...123,010...176,887
11. Washington...122,979...183,454
12. Wilson...113,993...201,324
13. Bradley...98,963...136,952
14. Madison...98,294...130,056
15. Sevier...89,889...154,626
16. Maury...80,956...121,415
17. Anderson...75,129...86,158
18. Putnam...72,321...110,234
19. Greene...68,831...82,929
20. Robertson...66,283...112,677
21. Hamblen...62,544...81,824
22. Tipton...61,081...96,644
23. Carter...57,424...54,917
24. Hawkins...56,833...60,506
25. Cumberland...56,053...78,301

The full list can be found here (which also includes the projected racial background of each TN county which in itself is very interesting):

Tennessee State Data Center | The University of Tennessee, Knoxville

I'm too tired to do more analyses of the figures, so if someone else wants to take over and expand on this (nashvols?) please go ahead.
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Last edited by JMT; 09-08-2013 at 09:25 PM..
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Old 09-08-2013, 09:40 PM
 
Location: Tennessee
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Only going to comment on the counties I know something about. The analyses for the greater Nashville counties seems relatively on. I don't know if the Rutherford county burbs will expand as much as predicted. This seems a little optimistic.

The numbers for Greene County seem ridiculous. There is nothing of note there and no economic reason to move there.

Washington County also seems overly optimistic. I can't see that county growing more than 50% while Sullivan stays stagnant. The two counties are very similar. I'd predict the Tri-Cities to level off if current trends stay the same, as there is really no reason to move here except if you're retiring.

Overall, I think the counties of the big four and their surrounding suburban counties will continue expanding, while areas outside of this level off or decline in population.
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Old 09-09-2013, 07:27 PM
 
Location: Franklin, TN
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Emigrations View Post
Only going to comment on the counties I know something about. The analyses for the greater Nashville counties seems relatively on. I don't know if the Rutherford county burbs will expand as much as predicted. This seems a little optimistic.
I agree that it's a bit optimistic for Rutherford at 673,000. It's certainly capable of reaching that number, but only if the county starts really addressing its growth policy (which seems to be anything goes; let the next guy build the infrastructure).

Rutherford County is larger and flatter than Davidson County, but I think it will eventually reach a point where the population and traffic gets bad enough to slow the growth substantially. Same for Williamson, Sumner, and Wilson. Davidson would require a lot of infill and probably a fairly decent public transit system (for a Southern city) to reach that mark.

That's definitely attainable for Shelby County...if Memphis stops annexing.

I honestly think the Knox and Hamilton numbers are low balls. The general trend right now seems to be that more and more growth will be happening in and around cities. I think that you'll see an uptick in growth for both of those places in the next decade.


Honestly, a lot of these numbers look like straight line projections...I've run numbers similar to those on my own.
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Old 09-09-2013, 08:10 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nashvols View Post
I agree that it's a bit optimistic for Rutherford at 673,000. It's certainly capable of reaching that number, but only if the county starts really addressing its growth policy (which seems to be anything goes; let the next guy build the infrastructure).

Rutherford County is larger and flatter than Davidson County, but I think it will eventually reach a point where the population and traffic gets bad enough to slow the growth substantially. Same for Williamson, Sumner, and Wilson. Davidson would require a lot of infill and probably a fairly decent public transit system (for a Southern city) to reach that mark.

That's definitely attainable for Shelby County...if Memphis stops annexing.

I honestly think the Knox and Hamilton numbers are low balls. The general trend right now seems to be that more and more growth will be happening in and around cities. I think that you'll see an uptick in growth for both of those places in the next decade.


Honestly, a lot of these numbers look like straight line projections...I've run numbers similar to those on my own.
re: Memphis and Shelby County. Isn't there a law somewhere that no one city can take up more than 1/3 of its county? Someone told me that once, I believe someone from Memphis who was pointing out that at some point Memphis won't be able to annex any more territory which could be good for Shelby County but bad for Memphis.

At any rate, I agree that the projections for Rutherford County are way overblown. I realize we're talking about 40 years down the road, and Rutherford's growth doesn't seem to be slowing down, but to grow that much seems a tad extreme.

I also think Knox County's estimate is too high. Knox County is indeed growing, but it's not growing that fast. It's not very well planned, either (similar to Rutherford), and there's precious little public transportation in Knox County. I shudder to think what I-40 and 640 will look like with another 220,000 people in the county, particularly since there's such strong opposition to building more freeways in Knox County.

I think Sevier County's growth is overstated, too. Sevier County's traffic is awful. Unless they're assuming most of the growth will be closer to I-40, I just don't see Sevier County nearly doubling in population unless there's some serious effort to reduce traffic congestion wihch won't be easy.

On the other hand, I think Blount County's estimate is understated. With Knoxville's airport there in Blount County and lots of developable land close to major highways within easy striking distance of Knoxville, I think Blount County will grow even faster than it has been.

The county that really surprised me is Sullivan. I can't believe that the state doesn't think that Sullivan County will grow at all in the next 40 years. That seems awfully harsh.

As for Nashville's other ring counties, I can easily see Wilson County nearly doubling in population in the next 40 years. The Mt Juliet area is exploding, and the 840 corridor is seeing a ton of growth, too. I think the I-65 corridor in Sumner County will see a ton of growth, and I think Williamson will continue to attract a lot of very wealthy people, particularly now that 840 is finished and places like Nolensville and Fairview are on the cusp of some major growth. I was a bit surprised at Robertson's estimate, but then again it's sandwiched between fast-growing Clarksville and Nashville so it probably will experience a lot more growth in the future.

And unless something is done to cure its chronic unemployment, I don't see Hamblen County growing nearly as much as it's estimated to grow.
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Old 09-09-2013, 10:04 PM
 
Location: Franklin, TN
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JMT View Post
re: Memphis and Shelby County. Isn't there a law somewhere that no one city can take up more than 1/3 of its county? Someone told me that once, I believe someone from Memphis who was pointing out that at some point Memphis won't be able to annex any more territory which could be good for Shelby County but bad for Memphis.
I've heard that before.

What I meant by the comment is that Memphis should stop worrying about its population and tax base and concentrate on what it already has. I think the people living in unincorporated Shelby County live there for a reason.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JMT View Post
At any rate, I agree that the projections for Rutherford County are way overblown. I realize we're talking about 40 years down the road, and Rutherford's growth doesn't seem to be slowing down, but to grow that much seems a tad extreme.
I think Rutherford County will get to the point where traffic becomes a very serious issue, and it will stunt its growth (in terms of it being a commuter county). I think it will still have growth (natural increase) and will still have a large employment base (Nissan, MTSU, plenty of others)...but it will be very difficult to get around. I think this will shift the growth to other counties, which I will expand on later in the post.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JMT View Post
I also think Knox County's estimate is too high. Knox County is indeed growing, but it's not growing that fast. It's not very well planned, either (similar to Rutherford), and there's precious little public transportation in Knox County. I shudder to think what I-40 and 640 will look like with another 220,000 people in the county, particularly since there's such strong opposition to building more freeways in Knox County.
Both Knoxville and Chattanooga have some geographic obstacles that will limit their growth, but I think both of them will still have strong growth. Knoxville has been somewhat slow to it, but I think they will see more urban development in the coming decades in terms of housing. It isn't nearly as built up as Nashville, but there are still a lot of opportunities to build up the core area with mixed use development and housing. Downtown Knoxville is small, so urban development would have to spill over into adjacent areas. Parking lots and brownfields can be redeveloped. Think of Gulch and SoBro type developments in areas like the old Baptist Hospital site and the industrial area between the RR tracks and I-40 north of Fort Sanders. And, of course, I think with added population, Knoxville will have to look towards beefing up public transit in the core area.

If you think 220,000 more in Knox County will be crazy...imagine the projected 359,000 more in Davidson County (which is more than Hamilton County has currently).

Quote:
Originally Posted by JMT View Post
I think Sevier County's growth is overstated, too. Sevier County's traffic is awful. Unless they're assuming most of the growth will be closer to I-40, I just don't see Sevier County nearly doubling in population unless there's some serious effort to reduce traffic congestion wihch won't be easy.
I agree. Sevier County seems to have grown along specific corridors...and those have become super crowded. There's definitely room for growth...especially to the north and east of Sevierville...but at what point does the growth start to affect tourism?

Quote:
Originally Posted by JMT View Post
On the other hand, I think Blount County's estimate is understated. With Knoxville's airport there in Blount County and lots of developable land close to major highways within easy striking distance of Knoxville, I think Blount County will grow even faster than it has been.
It's a mystery to me why Blount County's estimates have been so low. It's generally a well-thought-of county in the Knoxville MSA, and I would think it will remain desirable. With a little more highway infrastructure, I could see Maryville growing pretty large. There's a big break in the foothills in Blount County...even larger than in Knox County...so I think the county could easily end up north of 200,000 by that time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JMT View Post
The county that really surprised me is Sullivan. I can't believe that the state doesn't think that Sullivan County will grow at all in the next 40 years. That seems awfully harsh.
Harsh, yes. I think a lot of these projections are pretty much straight line, and don't account for other factors. Obviously the economy isn't great there, but things could change in the future. 40 years (well, 37) is a long time. A lot of areas go through cycles. I think the Tri Cities will rebound at some point. I don't see big growth in the near future, but I would think 175-180,000 wouldn't be a big stretch by any means.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JMT View Post
As for Nashville's other ring counties, I can easily see Wilson County nearly doubling in population in the next 40 years. The Mt Juliet area is exploding, and the 840 corridor is seeing a ton of growth, too. I think the I-65 corridor in Sumner County will see a ton of growth, and I think Williamson will continue to attract a lot of very wealthy people, particularly now that 840 is finished and places like Nolensville and Fairview are on the cusp of some major growth. I was a bit surprised at Robertson's estimate, but then again it's sandwiched between fast-growing Clarksville and Nashville so it probably will experience a lot more growth in the future.
Wilson County probably has the biggest opportunity to grow (percentage-wise) of Nashville's suburban counties. As Rutherford grows larger and more crowded, I think you'll see more people commuting there from Wilson County (easy via 840). There's a lot of available land there. The only drawbacks I see are the two lakes, which physically cut it off from having larger borders with Davidson and Sumner Counties (with only a single bridge crossing each lake). If Mount Juliet (and to a lesser extent, Lebanon) plan smarter growth, that county will probably take away some of the excess that is projected for Rutherford. I think by 2050, 250,000 isn't out of the question. Maybe even more (I think Rutherford will slow down as it approaches 500,000).

Sumner County will grow, but I think more of it will shift towards Gallatin, as Hendersonville is physically limited by hills and the lake (Hendersonville will probably fill up towards Shackle Island to the north...but that's about it). Vietnam Vets Pkwy (TN 386) will have to be widened to an 8 lane freeway to accommodate the growth. I think the projection is more or less accurate. It could possibly go north of 300,000, depending on what the Nashville area as a whole does.

I think Williamson County will have a hard time reaching its projection with the growth style (lots of large lot single family homes, farm estates, plans for more restrictions on development in rural areas). Franklin is really the only area that is building relatively dense development (and even that isn't all that dense). Nearly 200,000 more people would have to come with a change in development and planning philosophy.

Robertson's projection doesn't surprise me at all. In fact, it could go higher. The only big issue is the psychological barrier of the highland rim making it *feel* farther from Nashville than it really is. As Rutherford, Williamson, Sumner, and Wilson get crowded, naturally I think the growth will shift to Robertson and Cheatham Counties. When commutes from the other counties push closer and past one hour, people will naturally try to find closer spots. Those two are the most obvious picks.

As you point out, Clarksville will also have an effect on that. I think both of those counties will also begin to serve as suburbs for that city as well.

Speaking of Cheatham County, it's only projected to grow by 5,000. I don't think it will be a *high* growth county (topography and a very large wildlife preserve will prevent that), but I think it will grow by a respectable number...at least 20-30,000 (again, due to proximity alone).

Quote:
Originally Posted by JMT View Post
And unless something is done to cure its chronic unemployment, I don't see Hamblen County growing nearly as much as it's estimated to grow.
Agreed. Some growth, but not that much. It's a very small county (in area) as it is. Unless new industry pops up, or it is stimulated by growth on the eastern side of the Knoxville area, I think it will be relatively stagnant...maybe 5-10,000.
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Old 09-10-2013, 03:24 AM
 
Location: Franklin, TN
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Ok...here's the data for all the counties. I sorted it a little differently from the way JMT did, ordered by the projected largest population in 2050.

County..............2050 pop.......2010 pop........change

Shelby..............1,184,974.........927,644..... ..257,330
Davidson.............985,370..........626,681..... ..358,689
Rutherford...........672,692..........262,604..... ..410,088
Knox...................650,120.........432,226.... ....217,894
Hamilton..............457,189.........336,463..... ...120,726

Montgomery.........385,904.........172,331........213,573
Williamson............370,215.........183,182..... ..187,033
Sumner................269,684.........160,645..... ..109,039
Wilson.................201,324.........113,993.... .....87,331
Washington..........183,454.........122,979....... ..60,475

Blount.................176,887.........123,010.... .....53,877
Sullivan...............157,089.........156,823.... .........266
Sevier.................154,626...........89,889... .....64,737
Bradley................136,952..........98,963.... .....37,989
Madison...............130,056..........98,294..... ....31,762

Maury.................121,415...........80,956.... .....40,459
Robertson............112,677...........66,283..... ....46,394
Putnam................110,234..........72,321..... ....37,913
Tipton...................96,644..........61,081... ......35,563
Anderson...............86,158..........75,129..... ....11,029

Greene..................82,929..........68,831.... .....14,098
Hamblen................81,824..........62,544..... ....19,280
Cumberland............78,301..........56,053...... ...22,248
Bedford.................78,284..........45,058.... .....33,226
Loudon..................76,277..........48,556.... .....27,721

Jefferson..............71,335...........51,407.... .....19,928
Dickson................71,268...........49,666.... .....21,602
Fayette................69,692...........38,413.... .....31,279
Coffee..................69,594...........52,796... ......16,798
Hawkins................60,506...........56,833.... ......3,673

McMinn.................60,167...........52,266.... ......7,901
Gibson...................59,352..........49,683... .......9,669
Monroe..................57,922..........44,519.... ....13,403
Carter...................54,917..........57,424... ......-2,507
Roane...................54,436...........54,181... .........255

Lawrence..............46,281...........41,869..... .....4,412
Warren.................45,561...........39,839.... ......5,722
Cheatham.............44,042...........39,105...... .....4,937
Franklin................43,497............41,052.. ........2,445
Marshall................43,313...........30,617... ......12,696

Dyer.....................42,487..........38,335... ........4,152
Rhea....................42,445...........31,809... ......10,636
Campbell...............39,485...........40,716.... .....-1,231
Lincoln..................38,984...........33,361.. ........5,623
Cocke...................38,138...........35,662... .......2,476

Claiborne...............36,714...........32,213... .......4,501
Weakley................35,905...........35,021.... ........884
Henderson.............35,353...........27,769..... .....7,584
Henry....................35,305..........32,330... .......2,975
White....................33,164..........25,841... .......7,323

Hickman................32,029..........24,690..... ......7,339
Lauderdale.............31,696..........27,815..... ......3,881
McNairy.................29,732..........26,075.... .......3,657
Obion....................29,628..........31,807... ......-2,179
Giles.....................28,595...........29,485. ..........-890

Morgan..................28,203..........21,987.... ......6,216
Macon...................28,181...........22,248... ......5,933
Overton.................27,940...........22,083... ......5,857
Hardin...................26,774...........26,026.. ..........748
Grainger.................26,580..........22,657... .......3,923

Marion...................26,472..........28,237... ......-1,765
Carroll...................25,947..........28,522.. .......-2,575
Hardeman..............25,847..........27,253...... ...-1,406
Scott....................24,241..........22,228... .......2,013
Smith....................23,480..........19,166... .......4,314

DeKalb..................22,885...........18,723... .......4,162
Sequatchie............22,872...........14,112..... .....8,760
Chester.................22,718..........17,131.... ......5,587
Union....................20,704..........19,109... .......1,595
Fentress................20,170..........17,959.... ......2,211

Unicoi....................19,865..........18,313.. ........1,552
Johnson.................19,751..........18,244.... ......1,507
Humphreys.............19,440..........18,538...... .......902
Polk......................18,607...........16,825. .........1,782
Wayne..................17,874...........17,021.... ........853

Crockett................16,938..........14,586.... ......2,352
Cannon..................15,719..........13,801.... .....1,918
Haywood...............15,503...........18,787..... ...-3,284
Stewart.................15,450..........13,324.... ......2,126
Benton..................15,371..........16,489.... .....-1,118

Lewis....................14,082..........12,161... .......1,921
Bledsoe.................13,926..........12,876.... ......1,050
Meigs...................12,401...........11,753... .........648
Jackson................12,295...........11,638.... ........657
Decatur................11,789...........11,757.... ..........32

Trousdale..............10,908............7,870.... ......3,038
Houston................10,626............8,426.... ......2,200
Grundy..................10,577..........13,703.... .....-3,126
Lake.......................9,744............7,832. .........1,912
Perry......................9,169............7,915. .........1,254

Moore.....................8,193............6,362.. ........1,831
Clay.......................7,259............7,861. ...........-602
Hancock.................6,570............6,819.... ........-249
Van Buren...............5,131............5,548........ ....-417
Pickett...................4,754............5,077.. ..........-323
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Old 09-10-2013, 08:16 AM
 
Location: The Conterminous United States
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I don't know how much growth Knoxville can bear but I agree that the planned developments on the south bank of the river will expedite the already steady growth. Public transportation will probably expand as more people move closer to downtown and demand it.

I think Blount and the Oak Ridge area will also see more growth than projected, especially because of the fallout from Knox's growth.

Oak Ridge's schools being touted as excellent by US News and World Report and the continued jobs from ORNL and their partnership with UT will be a factor. Recent announcements to finally do something with the mall area will be a game changer as well.

If Blount County would improve their schools it would make all the difference.

A few months ago, I would have said that Sevier wasn't going to have that much growth. As the older generation dies off, I don't know if schlocky tourist traps will hold appeal for younger generations. But Dolly's planned resort, resembling Greenbrier and the Mount Washington Hotel, could very well be a game changer.

I agree that it is impossible to tell what will happen in 37 years. Eight years ago, downtown Knoxville seemed pretty dead. I could see the rumblings of what was about to come but I'm sure most people couldn't possibly imagine what eventually happened downtown. Look at Chattanooga. In 1968 or 69 it was declared the dirtiest city by Walter Cronkite. In 2005 it was a showpiece with other cities coming to see how it could be done. Anything could happen to Sullivan County or anywhere else.

Last edited by hiknapster; 09-10-2013 at 08:31 AM..
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Old 09-10-2013, 09:19 AM
 
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I am still unable to view the Excel files. I think I need to uninstall Microsoft apps before using another app. I will try to use my old laptop later today.

Anyone see the older projected population estimates for the year of 2030 that was done in 2010? It shows several counties like Sullivan, Anderson, Cannon, etc losing population.


POPULATION PROJECTIONS FOR THE STATE OF TENNESSEE, 2010-2030
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Old 09-10-2013, 09:30 PM
 
Location: Nashville, TN
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I really love data like this. Its so interesting and fun to look at and analyze. Thanks for posting it JMT!
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Old 09-10-2013, 10:02 PM
 
Location: Tennessee
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The only thing that really stumps me about this data is how counties so close in population and distance can be quoted with such dramatically different projections - see Sullivan and Washington. Why would Sullivan go nowhere and Washington grow dramatically? The economy sucks in both counties and where to live could be decided by a coin flip with no real difference. I'm not a fan of the Tri-Cities and I could ultimately see the area shrinking. Without a major renaissance, I just can't see Washington County growing well. For that matter, I can't see any of the rural TN counties growing at all. If current trends continue, these rural counties will be able to support nearly no one except people who can live off the land forty years down the road.
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