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Since the 2010 census, Tennessee’s population has continued to age and 2016 was no exception, according to the data released today by the US Census Bureau and disseminated by the Tennessee State Data Center. The center is housed within the Boyd Center for Business and Economic Research in UT’s Haslam College of Business.

Tennessee’s 2016 median age was 38.7 years, slightly older than the national median age of 37.9. While the 65-to-69 age range had the highest growth rates in Tennessee, the 25-to-29 range had the largest number of people in 2016.

The Tennessee baby boomer (ages 52 to 70 in 2016) and Generation X (ages 36 to 51 in 2016) populations accounted for a higher share of the total Tennessee population in 2016 than of the national averages. Tennessee’s share of the millennial generation (ages 19 to 35 in 2016), however, was lower than the national average.

The data release includes national, state, and county population estimates for 2016 by age, sex, race, and Hispanic origin.

Additional Tennessee highlights include:

  • The majority of Tennessee counties followed the national trend and had higher median ages in 2016 than in 2015: 70 counties in Tennessee aged, 15 did not change, and 10 had lower median ages than in the previous year.
  • The oldest counties (those with the highest median ages) in 2016 were located between Middle Tennessee and Knoxville: Cumberland (50.8), Pickett (49.8), Loudon (47.8), Jackson (47.2), and Clay (47.1).
  • The youngest counties (those with the lowest median ages) were in Middle and West Tennessee: Montgomery (30.7), Rutherford (33.6), Davidson (34.3), Shelby (35.4), and Putnam (36.3).
  • The 2016 male and female shares of the total population were the same as the national average: 49 percent male and 51 percent female.
  • The 2016 racial categories, alone, were reported as follows:
    • White: 5,234,030
    • Black or African-American: 1,137,075
    • American Indian and Alaska Native: 29,866
    • Asian: 120,219
    • Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander: 6,432
    • Two or more races: 123,572

Full sets of data, including age, race, sex, and Hispanic origin, are available from the US Census Bureau’s population estimates data site. Graphic representations of Tennessee data are also available from the Tennessee State Data Center. The center provides US Census Bureau data and products, training and technical assistance to users, feedback to the bureau on data usability, and assistance to state and local governments.

Below are the age groups with highest percentage growth from 2015 to 2016 (25 to 29, 60 to 64, 65 to 69, 70 to 74, and 75 to 79), as well as their corresponding growth rates from 2010 to 2016. The 65-to-69 age range had the highest growth rates in both time frames:

Table: Fastest-Growing Age Groups in Tennessee

Age Group 2015–2016 Growth 2010–2016 Growth
25–29 4.1% 11.3%
60–64 2.1% 11.2%
65–69 4.2% 31.3%
70–74 2.3% 25.9%
75–79 3.0% 17.4%


Melissa Stefanini (865-974-6070,
Lydia McCoy (865-974-6086,