Tennessee Population Growth 2000-2010
The Eastern Division grew less rapidly than the Middle Division but also showed widely differing growth among counties. Five east Tennessee counties experienced population growth of more than 15 percent: Blount, Cumberland, Jefferson, Loudon, and Sevier counties. No Eastern Division counties lost population (see table below).
Rapid growth was experienced in Knox County and the suburban counties in the Knoxville MSA. The World's Fair in 1982 bolstered growth in this area, which has also received national attention on lists of the best places to retire. Production and research activities related to the technology corridor as well as the presence of many TVA facilities and the state's largest university provide the Knoxville MSA with the foundation for a strong and stable economy.
The Chattanooga area did not fare as well as the Knoxville area. Unlike Knoxville, where service-related businesses tend to dominate, Chattanooga depends more on industrial-type businesses. Industrial business operation is typically more cyclical in nature than service-oriented enterprises, and this may help explain the more sluggish performance of the economy and the concomitant lack of rapid population buildup in Chattanooga since the 1990s.
Several of the counties in the Eastern Division that experienced slow population growth border Kentucky and stretch along a line from Macon County in middle Tennessee to Hancock County in east Tennessee. Other counties experiencing little or no growth lie deep in Appalachia along the North Carolina border and between the three metropolitan statistical areas located in the Eastern Division of the state. These counties are among the most culturally and economically deprived and most isolated counties in the state, and they have a large percentage of illiterate or poorly educated adults. Census records reveal that 25 percent or more of the population of some of these counties has less than a high school education. Some of the population has a per capita income of less than $25,000, compared to a state average of more than $42,000.
Rapid growth was experienced in Knox County and the suburban counties in the Knoxville MSA.
Unlike Knoxville, where service-related businesses tend to dominate, Chattanooga depends more on industrial-type businesses that are typically more cyclical in nature.
Eastern Division Counties: Population Change and Rank, 2000-2010
Population estimates in this report are taken from the U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, Local Population Estimates, Current Population Reports, June 3, 2011.
* H. Ronald Moser is a professor in the Labry School of Business Administration and Technology at Cumberland University in Lebanon, TN, and a retired MTSU professor (Management and Marketing). Horace E. Johns is a professor of business law at MTSU.