County Population to Grow as People Stay Put

Our population's going to increase steadily, reaching almost 520,000 by 2030, according to a forecast released March 16 by the University of Tennessee's Center for Business and Economic Research. That's mainly because the poor economy will keep people here. "Not much is happening with birth or death rates, nationally or locally—we're more or less replacing our population," says Nicholas Nagle, an assistant professor of geography at UT who's in charge of such projections for the state.

"But migration, domestically and internationally, has already slowed dramatically and will continue to slow. This has a lot to do with the poor economy—the primary reason to move somewhere else is job availability." Instead, people will stay put, while birth and death rates per capita will stay about the same, which means a net gain in population, says Nagle, whose group bases forecasts on Tennessee Department of Health birth and death records and other figures like employment data. Here's the forecast:

Year (Projected) Knox County Pop.

2000 382,032

2005 408,809

2010 435,837

2015 453,669

2020 474,326

2025 495,847

2030 517,577