Lower birth rate, higher death rate takes shine off Tri-Cities 2020 population gain

Conventional wisdom holds the Tri-Cities got a population boost compliments of all those one-way U-Hauls that ended up here. There’s no doubt the region gained new residents. But an annual Census study on components of population change shows the local population growth was a blip – not a spike. That’s because the net population is a combination of births, deaths, new residents, and residents who moved elsewhere.

The birth rate in the seven counties that make up the Johnson City-Bristol-Kingsport TN VA Consolidated Metropolitan Statistical Area (CSA) was down last year. The death rate was up. And after the numbers are crunched, the region had an estimated population growth of 0.2% – 953 people. That doesn’t include Greene and Johnson counties.

All-in-all it was another year when the Tri-Cities’ population growth lagged its regional neighbors. But the glass is half full. It’s half full because the components of population change estimate are through July. There’s another half year of data out there, and the last half of 2020 was when the U-Haul factor flourished. We’ll get a new set of numbers later this year; however, the estimates have a 3% plus-minus history.

Census calls most of the annual components of population change data a “research series” rather than official estimates. That research shows the region’s population grew, but the year-over-year growth rate was less than it was in 2019 and 2018. Here’s how the 2020 v. 2019 population numbers look for the region’s CSAs:

Knoxville-Morristown-Sevierville, TN – 1,157,575, up 0.7%

Chattanooga-Cleveland-Dalton, TN-GA – 1,010,980, up 0.7%

Asheville-Marion-Brevard, NC – 546,914, up 0.6%

Tri-Cities – 512,723, up 0.2%

The slow-growth mode is consistent with the first numbers of the 2020 Census. That first set of numbers shows that the U.S. population on April 1, 2020, increased 7.4% between 2010 and 2020. It is the second-lowest rate of expansion since the government began taking a census in 1790.

A 2010 v. 2020 comparison for our region is:

Asheville – up 8.7%

Chattanooga – up 6.3%

Knoxville – up 7.5%

Tri-Cities – up 0.9%

Population estimates for the Tri-Cities’ two MSA plus Greene and Johnson Counties are:

Johnson City MSA – up 0.3%, 204,540

Carter Co. – up 0.04%, 56,418

Unicoi Co. – down 0.9%, 17,775

Washington Co. – up 0.5%, 130,367

Kingsport-Bristol MSA – up 0.1%, 308,183

Hawkins – down 0.1%, 56,775

Sullivan Co. – up 0.2%, 158,775

Scott Co. Va. – up 0.2%, 21,629

Washington Co. Va. – down 0.3%, 53,695

Bristol, Va. – up 1.7%, 17,329

Greene Co. – up 0.6%, 69,571

Johnson Co. – up 0.4%, 17849

Here’s a capsule look at the 2020 v. 2019 primary components of population change as of July last year. The drill-down moves from the Consolidated Metro Area to the MSA then to the counties that make up the MSA. Greene and Johnson counties are not part of the Census area designation, but they’re included because they are part of the regional marketplace.

BIRTH RATE

Johnson City – Kingsport-Bristol TN VA MSA – down 1.3%, 4,642 births

Johnson City Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) – down 1.8%, 1,837 births

Carter Co. – down 3.4%, 451 births

Unicoi Co. – down 3.7%, 144 births

Washington Co. – down 0.9%, 1,231 births

Kingsport-Bristol MSA – down 1.1%, 2,805 births

Hawkins Co. – up 1.9%, 527 births

Sullivan Co. – down 1.8%, 1,491

Scott Co. Va. – down 4.9%, 155 births

Washington Co. Va. – up 4.3%, 461 births

Bristol Va. – down 11.9%., 171 births

Greene Co. – down 2.2%, 652 births

Johnson Co. – down 2.6%, 149 births

DEATH RATE

Johnson City – Kingsport-Bristol – up 4.9%, 6,743 deaths

Johnson City MSA – up 4%, 2,630 deaths

Carter Co. – up 6.8%, 835 deaths

Unicoi Co. – down 0.3%, 295 deaths

Washington Co. – up 3.4%, 1,500 deaths

Kingsport-Bristol – up 5.5%, 4,133 deaths

Hawkins Co. – up 12%, 842 deaths

Sullivan Co. – up 1.3%, 2,144 deaths

Scott Co. Va. – up 19.7%, 267 deaths

Washington Co. Va. – up 4.1%, 656 deaths

Bristol Va. – up 14.6%, 204 deaths

Green Co. – up 7%, 1,022 deaths

Johnson Co. – down 1.5%, 257 deaths

NET MIGRATION

johnson City – Kingsport- Bristol – up 0.4%, 3,504 people

Johnson City MSA – up 3.1% – 1,350 people

Carter Co. – up 48.2%, 406 people

Unicoi Co. – down 110.4%, down 19 people

Washington Co. – up 12.9%, 964 people.

Kingsport-Bristol – down 1.6%, 1,704 people

Hawkins Co. – down 26.7%, 234 people

Sullivan Co. – down 26.7%, 941 people

Scott Co. Va. – up 1,962%, 165 people

Washington Co. Va. – down 161.7%, 37 people (2019 population was down 60 people)

Bristol Va. – up 76.8%, 327 people.

Greene Co. – up 351.5%, 818 people

Johnson Co. – up 50%, 183 people

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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