Report shows county population growth, losses in Tri-Cities; Washington Co. TN, Sullivan, Greene see most local growth

Northeast Tennessee’s population grew to 1.5 million in 2018, an 0.6% increase from 2017, according to Census Bureau estimates released this week. All that growth in three of the region’s four metro areas came from migration. Knoxville was the only metro area with natural population growth (more births than deaths).

Knoxville had the strongest population growth rate at 0.9% followed by Morristown with 0.6%, then Johnson City at 0.4% and Kingsport-Bristol at 0.1%.

The Tri-Cities’ population increased by 1,238 people to 509,335 – 0.2% growth from 2017.

Within the Tri-Cities market region, Washington County TN added the most population – a total that exceeded the net population total for 13 political jurisdictions in the region.

Carter was the only NE Tenn. county that saw a population decrease.

All the SW Va. jurisdictions with the exception of the city Norton lost population.

Population changes for NE Tennessee four Metropolitan Statistical Areas.

Sullivan County saw the most migration last year (1,229), but its low birth rate and the high death rate dropped its net population gain to second place in the region behind Washington County which had 1,014 new residents.

Greene County attracted 598 new residents followed by Hawkins County with 265 then Johnson County with 233.

Washington County VA (126) and the city of Norton (67) were the only two SW VA jurisdictions where there was positive in-migration. The Census reports show the other jurisdictions had out-migration.  Here’s how the out-migration numbers look:

Lee Co. – 125

Scott Co. – 92

Wise Co. – 546

Bristol, VA – 67

This week’s release will be fodder for more detailed population and migration pattern stories in the coming weeks.






2 replies


  1. Population in 10 Tri-Cities towns and cities up; major cities see largest gains; drill down shows unexpected items – Core Data
  2. Get ready for the most current Census estimates for population – DON FENLEY @ CORE DATA