Kingsport-Bristol only NE Tenn. region showing 2016 population loss

The latest Census population data is out with good news for Northeast Tennessee Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) with one exception. Kingsport-Bristol posted a loss from 2015. It’s a small loss, but a continuation of a trend that Kingsport city officials are battling to reverse.

County population numbers are next on the bureau’s release list, then cities. Last year all Tri-Cities counties except Washington TN recorded population losses. When city data came out Johnson City had gains, Kingsport was flat, and the other cities lost population.

Knoxville and Johnson City showed the biggest 2016 gains. Here’s a snapshot of the 2016 total as of July 1, the change from 2015 and growth rate.

Knoxville MSA – 868,546, up 7,377, up 0.9%.

Johnson City MSA – 201,661, up 1,054, up 0.5%.

Morristown MSA – 117,320, up 618, up 0.5%.

Kingsport-Bristol MSA – 306,334, down 381, down 0.1%.

Since 2010 the Johnson City MSA’s population has grown by 2,906 people

During the same period, Kingsport-Bristol’s population has declined by 3,182 people.

All of the growth has come from new residents moving to the area since the death rate in the region is greater than the birth rate.









  1. Why is Johnson City so attractive to people in Bristol and Kingsport? What drives them here, especially young urban libertarian people moving from Elizabethton and Kingsport and Greeneville to JC?


  1. […] A county-level drill down on Census Bureau current population change estimated adds some dimension and a surprise or two. Earlier this week I did a report on the Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA) 2015-2016 population changes that showed a continuation of a familiar trend line. Johnson City MSA is growing while Kingsport-Bristol is struggling. […]

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